The Manatee County School Board’s Citizen Advisory Group narrowed its top 10 candidates for the district’s superintendent post to five Tuesday night.
Four women make up the list, including Pam Stewart, of Tallahassee, the former interim education commissioner at the Florida Department of Education; Dr. Constance Jones, an administrator-on-assignment at Gulf Middle in Cape Coral and a finalist for Lee County superintendent in 2011; and Kathryn LeRoy, director of high school programs in Duval County and former chief academic officer there, who was a semi-finalist for that district’s superintendent post.
The other candidates are former Marion County Deputy Superintendent Diana Greene and Rick Mills, Minneapolis Public Schools Chief Executive Officer.
After speaking with references and researching the top 10 candidates, group members questioned Stewart’s ability to separate the interests of the state with the district, but called her a well-connected statewide star whose services would be scooped up quickly.
Jones was cited as a consensus-builder and strong in the community.
LeRoy handled big budgets and would have earned the Duval County superintendent post if the district hadn’t been looking for an outside candidate, group members said.
Greene, whose former bosses called her ready for a top job, and Stewart, once worked together in Marion County and were references for each other’s applications.
Mills, formerly of Chicago Public Schools who also holds 30 years of military administration experience, earned high marks from peers, including former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Each group member voted for up to five candidates.
The group meets with Florida School Boards Association Executive Director Wayne Blanton on Jan. 30 to finalize the list, and will present five finalists to the school board at a meeting at 9 a.m. Jan. 31 in the district administration building.
Here were the voting results:
Constance Jones, 20 votes
Kathryn LeRoy, 17 votes
Diana Greene, 16 votes
Rick Mills, 16 votes
Pam Stewart, 12 votes