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Opinion
Palm Coast Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 1 year ago

Community deserves a nationwide search for the next superintendent of Flagler Schools

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Two former candidates for School Board argue for a national search.

Superintendent search should not be conducted in haste

Dear Editor:

The editor’s opinion as published in the Daytona Beach News-Journal on Thursday, Feb. 16, really hit home with me. It was about the hiring of the new president of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, but it could apply to the Flagler Schools superintendent search: ”It is better to be certain than swift.”

The Flagler School Board, as did ERAU, should hire an interim superintendent rather than rush into the process that is about to happen. Patience paid off in a big way for ERAU, and I believe it would serve to do the same in meeting the desires of the Flagler County School Board to have a highly qualified individual who could take the school district to the next level in achieving the goals of its strategic plan.

We owe it to our community to make sure the selected applicant is the most qualified; one who will be the best fit for our community; and one who has the vision to propel the school district into the top rankings on many levels.

To do so means the district needs to take adequate time and do a search, near and far. Sure, there may be a qualified candidate within the current ranks, but there may also be someone not seen or heard of, with an impressive resume including top credentials, variety of experiences and great charisma, who could do an excellent job without the suspicion of an in-house selection based on a nonexistent succession plan.

The district has shown tremendous success in many areas, but there is still much work to be done. The School Board must realize the school district is not in a position to be placed on auto-pilot. Continued growth and success will require a fervent leader who possesses a keen sense of knowledge, experience and vision. I’m sorry that person may be missed in the rush to select a new superintendent.

Dr. Myra Middleton-Valentine

Palm Coast

 

Selecting a superintendent is the School Board’s most important decision

Dear Editor:

I was glad to see that the School Board seems to be changing the search processes of the past and will conduct a national search for the next superintendent. Then I saw the vote count and was disappointed by board members Trevor Tucker and Andy Dance, who, at the Feb. 10 board meeting, opposed conducting a national search.

I assure the School Board that many will be watching them in this process. The search and the manner in which it is conducted will be the most important decision of their political careers. Their future may depend on that decision. I believe that an environment that allowed a bullying situation like Ashley Stuart's to occur is a reflection of leadership from the top.

Our next superintendent, whether internal or external, must show a commitment and a history of holding themselves and the persons under their supervision accountable for their actions. One cannot have success in the effort of accountability if the practice is not encouraged. Our students, parents, teachers and taxpayers deserve better.

A related matter considered by the School Board is whether we should hire an outside firm to conduct the national search. Flagler County is the self-proclaimed leader in utilizing technology in the classroom. We also have a director of Human Resources and a full time PR employee. With all these technological and human resource advantages, why do we need to outsource a superintendent candidate search? An uncoordinated effort allowed Ashley Stuart’s bullying story to reach 15 states in five days.

You've got two months to write copy, produce some social media avenues and attract a pool of candidates. It is time to get to work! Stop talking about how great Flagler County is and start showing how great we are.

Paul Anderson

Palm Coast

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