The Flagler County School Board has put its search for a superintendent on the fast track, laying out a schedule for a hiring process that, if all goes as planned, will end Feb. 4 with an official announcement of the district’s selection.
The board has drawn criticism from some community members for not hiring an outside firm to search for a replacement for Superintendent Janet Valentine, who will retire at the end of the year, and for past comments from board members about a “succession” from Valentine to Assistant Superintendent Jacob Oliva.
In its regular meeting Tuesday evening, the board selected meeting days for a committee of 15 community members, to be selected by board members, who will help determine selection criteria and review applications. The board also approved up to $5,000 to cover the cost of cover the cost of flying up to three finalists in for interviews, and the publication of ads on the websites of Education Weekly and the American Association of School Administrators.
Bunnell pastor the Rev. Sims Jones was one of two community members who showed up to encourage the board to hold a broad search and give candidates other than Oliva serious consideration.
“I don’t think we should short anything in our due diligence in the search for the superintendent of schools,” he said. “I don’t want to see us have a succession, I want to see a selection. I want to see the best person for the job.”
Another community member spoke in favor of Oliva, calling the superintendent job description a “tough hill to climb” and saying he finds it hard to imagine someone more qualified.
The reason the district is committed to a quick selection process, Board Chairman Andy Dance said, is that the board would like the incoming superintendent to attend mandatory school superintendent training in St. Petersburg, scheduled for Feb. 12-14.
The board also moved most of the planned meeting days for the community committee from the daytime to the evening after Board members Sue Dickinson and Colleen Conklin expressed concern that the planned daytime meeting times would limit the community committee to members who don’t work.
The committee will hold its first meeting Dec. 10. The board has encouraged people interested in serving on the committee o contact school board members. Their email addresses are posted at http://flaglerschools.com/content/school-board.