Applicants will next be reviewed by a broad-based community committee.
Forty-one superintendent candidates have applied for consideration in the Flagler Schools' nationwide search for its next top administrative leader. Fourteen of the applicants are from Florida, including one internal candidate, Vernon Orndorff, the district's executive director of leadership development.
Current Schools Superintendent Jacob Oliva is stepping down to take an administrative position with the Florida Department of Education at the end of the school year. The school board is aiming to hire Oliva's successor by May 2.
The district is conducting the search with the help of paid consultants with the Florida School Board Association, as well as a broad-based citizens advisory committee, encompassing parents, students, and community leaders. The deadline for the national advertisement for the superintendent opening closed on March 17.
Under the timeline set down by the board, the committee hopes to have whittled down the field of 41 applicants to five finalists by April 11, with interviews and a meet-and-greet with the public set for the following week.
Bill Vogel, a consultant with the FSBA, told the board at a March 21 work session, "I think we have a good applicant pool going forward."
According to Vogel, the majority of candidates have all the professional requirements the district is looking for, including superintendent or assistant superintendent experience, as well as a master's degree and a minimum of 10 years in public education.
But as Vogel's partner, John Reichart acknowledged, "You can have the resume, but the personal leadership qualities of a superintendent are so important."
The online survey the district posted on its website to aid in its superintendent search should help in that area. The community survey yielded 306 responses to dozens of questions, including what priorities participants believed were most important in Flagler Schools' next educational leader. The top five qualities included: "Inspires and builds trust and models high standards of integrity and ethics," "Holds self and others accountable," "Sets high expectations for self and the organization," "Builds trust and respect and serves as a role model for staff, students and the community," and "Possesses the ability and willingness to make tough decisions that may not always be popular."