Superintendent Search Citizens Committee gets first briefing
By MEGHAN McCOY
The Superintendent Search Citizens Committee, which is comprised of community members, district staff members and students, met for the first time Thursday night to discuss what their involvement will be in choosing the next superintendent for the Lee County School District.
The committee was hand selected by the school board during its last workshop held in January and includes 20 community members, 10 district employees and five students.
Board Chairman Thomas Scott began the meeting in the board room by explaining the timeline. All of the committee members received a packet that included all the information compiled from the six community forums and the two workshops held in December and January.
“The calendar starts with you here tonight,” Scott informed the committee members. “The next time we see you should be April 14, at which time you will come to a consensus of five people.”
The committee, board members and Florida School Boards Association Executive Director Dr. Wayne Blanton will have determined their top five candidates on April 14.
He said after that, the board will contact those candidates and invite them to Fort Myers in May for interview sessions that “will include you folks.”
“Your involvement in this is going to be critically important,” Scott said.
School Board Attorney Keith Martin then explained the Florida Government in the Sunshine Law to the committee members. The critical piece of information that he shared with them was that all discussions between committee members can only occur during a “noticed, open, public official meeting.”
“This doesn’t mean you can’t talk about the work that you are doing with other people,” Martin said, adding that as long as he or she is not a committee member.
Personal Service Director Georgianna McDaniel also spoke to the committee members Thursday night about how resumes would be distributed to them throughout the next couple of months. She will distribute the resumes every Friday by noon by either email or regular mail to the board members and committee members.
McDaniel said they will “go live” on Feb. 23 with their first job posting for a new superintendent on Education Week, a national paper magazine.
“The first time I will be distributing it to you is on Feb. 26, if we do not receive anything beforehand,” she explained about the candidates’ resumes. “If I don’t get any, I will send an email to notify you.”
Blanton also attended the meeting Thursday night to share a few pointers with the committee. He said he is already receiving some good inquiries for the position so far.
“I am anticipating around 30 to 40 applicants,” he said. “We are getting less and less applicants for superintendents over the years.”
Blanton advised the committee members to read every resume as it comes in, along with looking closely at the candidate’s characteristics, so they can find a person that fits with the community and school board. The resume deadline for the superintendent position is April 1.
He also shared some hints that they should look out for when reviewing a resume, which included gaps of employment and changing school districts every three years.
An election of the committee chairman and vice chairman were made before the conclusion of the meeting. Jack Eikenberg, David Hall, Susan Morales and Robert Chilmonik were selected by the committee members for the chairman position and Cedric Hall, Karen Flanders, Betsy Allen, Gwynn Gittens and Tracy Perkins were selected for the vice chairman position.
David was selected as chairman with 13 votes and Cedric was selected as vice chairman with nine votes.
David, who is the chief operating officer for Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, said the selection of the next superintendent is one of the most important hires in years to come.
“Education is the No. 1 priority in life,” he said.
Cedric, a former student of the district, is an attorney.
The committee will meet again on April 6.
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.