Officials with Duval County Public Schools gave an update Tuesday on the search for a new superintendent after the Duval County School Board voted to suspend the search last October.
When the board paused the search last year, it said there were a lack of qualified applicants and the plan would be to readvertise the position later.
Now, the board hopes to have a new superintendent in place by July 1.
At a workshop Tuesday, the board discussed with its consultants the new timeline for hiring a superintendent.
The district looks to advertise the position from March 15 to April 15, choose semifinalists on April 23, select finalists on May 7 and choose a new superintendent at a special board meeting on May 23.
The board was considering changes to the job posting before the next search begins, including adjusting the degree requirements for the position, the “essential functions” of the job and possibly how much the next superintendent will be paid.
The job offers a salary range of $275,000 to $350,000. The original qualifications posted for the position included:
- A master’s degree from an accredited university.
- At least 10 years of leadership experience.
- Experience in a leadership role in a school district with at least 25,000 students.
Former Duval County School Board Chair Elizabeth Andersen said she was surprised that only 10 people applied for the job in the first round. Of those, only half met the minimum requirements.
The last time Duval County sought a superintendent, about 70 people applied.
Rather than choose from such a small pool, the board opted to extend the contract of Interim Superintendent Dana Kriznar until June to provide more time to revamp the search.
Some potential job applicants saw the job as a career risk they couldn’t afford to take, according to the Florida School Boards Association, which is helping the School Board find applicants.
Some candidates didn’t want to apply for a job that would start in January, in the middle of the school year, and others were concerned about the school board elections this spring, the consultant said.
“Applying for a superintendency today and being a superintendent today is different than even it was six months ago or a year ago,” said Andrea Messina, president of the school boards association. “There’s just been a lot of volatility in the role of superintendent.”
Andersen said new state laws have created a challenging climate for educators.
“They’re getting a lot of pressure from all sides. It’s not an easy job. And so that’s got to be a really desirable position and place to go,” Andersen said. “The timing is not good for it. But I hope that when the board goes back out, we will see more people interested.”
Messina said she can’t say for sure if there will be more people interested in applying for the Duval County Superintendent job the second time around.
“It’s possible circumstances could get worse for superintendents, or more uncertain for superintendents. It’s also possible things could settle down for superintendents … the fact that we even had as many searches this year as we had had something to do with the public education climate,” Messina said.
In a statement to News4JAX last October, Duval County School Board Chair Dr. Kelly Coker said:
Regardless of speculation, these are the facts:
1. We are in a great place right now under Dr. Kriznar’s leadership.
2. We are in a difficult time of the year for a successful sitting superintendent to make a job change.
3. The pool available to us was not sufficient for a job of this caliber in a community as desirable as ours.
4. We will not be pressed into a fast decision. It is the most important decision we will make, and our board will take the time to get it right.
This story was produced by News4Jax, a Jacksonville Today news partner.
Lead image: About 30 people attended a community forum last September at Raines High School to aid in the search for a new schools superintendent. | Will Brown, Jacksonville Today