Duval School Board Could Hire New Superintendent In March

Oct 17, 2017

The Duval County School Board plans to hire a new superintendent by this coming spring — that’s if everything goes according to schedule. The board laid out a timeline Tuesday.

School Board Vice Chair Ashley Smith Juarez said the timeline would allow for the new superintendent to start the job during the tail end of the 2018 legislative session, and also be a part of the budgeting process. She said that will give the new person time to get the lay of the land.

“We have a lot of really fantastic, wonderful things going that can be built upon,” she said. “And we also have some areas of challenge that, that new person would need to understand (and) evaluate  before making plans for changes moving forward.”

The hiring process will include inviting the public to evening community conversations next month. The board decided on Nov. 6,8,13 and 16, with the likely locations expected to be Raines, Ed White, Terry Parker and Atlantic Coast high schools. But the board hasn’t matched the schools with dates yet.  

“The board would like to hear from the public about the most important attributes they’d like to see from the superintendent,” Smith Juarez said. “What is most important to them in a school district, what do they seek when they’re looking for something for their children and what do they value if they don’t have children in our schools?”

After getting that feedback, the board will hire a search firm, probably in mid-January. Board members said hopefully they’ll have a short list of finalists a month later. It’s possible a new superintendent could be named in March.

Patricia Willis has been interim superintendent since May when former superintendent Nikolai Vitti left Duval to take a job leading the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.