District on track to have superintendent hired by June 1
By MEGHAN McCOY
The Lee County School Board set a timeline during its workshop Friday morning that will put them on track to have a new superintendent on board by July 1.
Florida School Board Association Executive Director Dr. Wayne Blanton led the board members through a list of items that would help the district begin advertising the position, interviewing the final five candidates, and choosing the individual who will become the district’s next superintendent by the hire date.
Blanton suggested to the board that the nationwide search for the position needs to be advertised during February and March, with an application closing date of April 1. He explained that two months are important to the process because the incoming superintendent may need as much as a 90-day notice to give to the district from which they are parting.
The superintendent advertisement should list a required masters degree with a preferred doctorate or equivalent degree; at least five years of administrative experience in central office or executive-level position also will be required. The candidate should come from a preferred district size of at least 30,000 students. The three-year rolling contract will have a salary range of $165,000 to $195,000 with a competitive benefits package.
Board member Jeanne Dozier said it was important to have at least a three- year contract because no one will come in for a one- or two-year contract.
Blanton suggested a salary range from $170,000 to $195,000 to provide the board members with flexibility in its negotiations once they choose their top candidate.
The board selected four community members, two district employees and five students to make up the citizen committee which will help the board with the superintendent search. The first meeting for the citizen committee will be held on Feb. 10 with Blanton to go over the Sunshine Law and the Public Records Law.
The board members, along with the Superintendent’s Search Community Committee, will receive a copy of all the applications received during that week every Friday by noon to review applications.
He encouraged the board to read all the applications they receive very closely and pay extra attention to any employment gaps.
Blanton said if a superintendent has a trend of only staying at one school district for three years; it may be a red flag. On the other hand, he said the candidate may be moving into larger districts each time they move to another district.
The school board agreed that by April 15 they will choose the top five candidates for the position, which will come from their review of the applications and input from the committee. Once the top five are chosen, the candidates and their spouses will be flown into Fort Myers, so interviews can be conducted.
“How you treat their spouse is important also,” he said.
Blanton explained that the visitation generally takes a day and a half to two days.
The board will then choose its top two finalists and conduct background checks and visits to their hometowns.
The school board has tentatively set June 1 as the hire date for a new superintendent and July 1 as the date he/she should start to be a part of next year’s budget process.