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Sarasota Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020 2 years ago

School board highlights superintendent search priorities

School board members highlighted qualities they'd like to see in a candidate and what steps they'd like to see in a search.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

The Sarasota County School Board took its first steps toward hiring a new superintendent Tuesday as it finalized a contract with search firm Florida School Board Association and set a rough outline for what the search process will look like.

In early February, the school board selected FSBA to run its superintendent search and entered a contract Tuesday evening that locks in that service for no more than $48,500.

During a Tuesday morning workshop, FSBA representative Bill Vogel began preliminary work with the school board to determine what qualities will be important in candidates.

Characteristics that school board members said they would like to see include a deep knowledge of educational research, experience with business finance and operations, and the modeling of ethical behavior.

Board Member Bridget Ziegler said she would like to find a way for candidates to show evidence of these characteristics either with documentation or anecdotally. In the previous superintendent search, she said the 49 candidates “blended together.”

Although board members were united on what qualities they would like to see in candidates, they were divided on the timeline.

Board members Shirley Brown, Caroline Zucker and Jane Goodwin said they would like to see the search wrapped up by July, so the new superintendent would be onboard by the start of the new school year, and so interim Superintendent Mitsi Corcoran could revert to her role of chief financial officer.

“Budget season really begins in July, and there’s only so long we can keep Mitsi from her job,” Zucker said.

However, members Eric Robinson and Ziegler said they were unsure if three months was enough time.

In the three-month span, the board has to advertise the position, a process which Vogel said will take at least four weeks; hold community forums and internal focus groups to gauge community support; put out online surveys; and form a citizen’s advisory committee.

Vogel will now take the board’s directives and create a firmer timeline for the search to be presented March 3.

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