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School Board Selects Six Candidates to Interview for Superintendent


BRADENTON – After hearing recommendations from the citizen advisory committee and Tallahassee-based consultant Dr. Wayne Blanton, the Manatee County School Board voted on six applicants that it will ask to interview for the superintendent's position. Interviews will take place February 11 and 12 at the school district administration building.

What began as a 29-applicant pool was eventually whittled down to 10 candidates who were selected for additional vetting by the Superintendent Search Committee, a 20-member advisory committee selected by the school board, comprised of various individuals representing a diverse assembly of various groups within the community (author's disclosure: I myself participated as a member of the committee).

After vetting the 10 candidates thoroughly, committee members each selected their top-five applicants, and the five applicants who received the most votes were recommended to the board at this morning's meeting. At the same time, Dr. Blanton conducted a concurrent vetting process and was also charged with submitting his top-five candidates. It turned out that the lists of both Blanton and the search committee were identical, containing the following five applicants in alphabetical order:

• Diana Greene, Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in the Marion County School District.

• Constance Jones, Chief Academic Officer for the Lee County School District.

• Kathryn LeRoy, Director of High School Programs for the Duval County School District.

• Rick Mills,  A retired military officer and CEO of Minneapolis Public Schools.

• Pamela Stewart, Interim Commissioner of Education for the state of Florida.

*Application packages of all candidates are available here.

The board voted unanimously to accept the recommendations and invite those five candidates to interview for the position. School board member Dave "Watchdog" Miner then motioned to invite John Carvelli, an elementary school principal in Palm Beach County, whose credentials had impressed him. Carvelli, who was also an elected school board member in St. Lucie County from 1994-2010, was noted as Dr. Blanton's 6th choice, who he also said he felt was qualified for the position. Dr. Carvelli was also among the initial 10 candidates selected as viable by the search committee, though he did not make their short list.

Miner had asked Blanton if there were any reason why Carvelli should not be considered. Blanton, who heads the Florida School Boards Association, said that the only consistent knock he'd gotten on Carvelli was that people sometimes viewed him to be hyper-political and that the positions he tended to favor were ideologically driven and consistently in line with his party's position, but that in his opinion he was nonetheless a qualified applicant. The board voted 3-2 to invite Carvelli to interview as well, with Aranibar and Harvey dissenting.  


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