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Palm Coast Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 6 days ago

Flagler Schools seeks community input on superintendent search

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Online survey and citizens advisory board will play a part in the decision.
by: Colleen Michele Jones Community Editor

The Flagler County School Board is moving ahead with the search for a new superintendent, setting down a tight timeline for the process to conclude May 2.

At a special workshop on Feb. 15, the School Board met with officials from the Florida School Board Association, which the board has contracted with to oversee a national search for a successor to Jacob Oliva, who has served as Flagler Schools superintendent for three years.

In a divided vote at a special meeting Feb. 10, the school board agreed 4-1 (with Andy Dance dissenting) to approve a $25,000 contract with the association, and by a vote of 3-2 (with Trevor Tucker and Dance dissenting) to search nationwide for candidates.

At the workshop, the Florida School Board Association provided the board with an overview of the process, beginning with the posting of the opening with numerous educational associations and industry organizations across the country.

Twenty local residents have been selected to serve on a citizens advisory board, which will provide input as the search moves forward, including helping to review applications as they come in. An online community survey, which is now posted on the district website, will also aid the board in its decision. The survey asks respondents to prioritize desired characteristics in a new superintendent.

School board member Colleen Conklin suggested students might play a part in the selection process, perhaps by submitting questions for candidate interviews and/or sitting on the citizens advisory board. Fellow board members sounded open to that idea.

Catherine Groom, one of the 20 members who will serve on the citizens advisory board, told the Palm Coast Observer in a phone interview following the Feb. 15 workshop that she believed community input was essential to the search.

“I think now more than ever it’s important that people’s voices be heard,” said Groom, who has four children in the district and is married to Martin Evans, a sixth-grade teacher at Wadsworth Elementary School. “I think we started with Jacob Oliva really putting Flagler County schools and our innovative programs on the map, and we want to make sure that continues going forward.”

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