Hernando's top spot draws 27 applicants
BROOKSVILLE — The applicants hail from 11 states and four Florida counties. Three currently serve as school superintendents, and four are in assistant or associate superintendent roles. Ten would bring a doctoral degree.
The Hernando School District has 27 candidates for its top spot. As expected, Hernando’s current interim superintendent Sonya Jackson has applied for the permanent job.
The School Board in September chose Jackson, who had served as director of school services, after Wayne Alexander lost the support of the board and accepted an early buyout package just two years after he was hired and nine months before his contract was set to expire.
The other internal candidate is Ken Pritz, principal at Hernando High School. Pritz has worked in various jobs for the district over nearly three decades, including executive director of school services.
Two other names will be familiar to some in the region.
Elaine Sullivan spent 33 years working for the Hernando district, retiring in 2003 after 17 years as principal at Hernando High. Steve Knobl, currently principal at Gulf High School in New Port Richey, has worked for Pasco County schools since 1994.
With about 23,000 students and a salary range for its chief executive of $100,000 to $130,000, Hernando tends to attract candidates who serve as superintendents in smaller districts or educators in administrative roles seeking their first superintendent job.
One applicant, for example, leads a rural South Dakota school district of 3,200 students; another heads a 2,200-student district in Kentucky.
What appeared on paper to be one of the strongest candidates is already out of the running. Art Stellar has worked as superintendent in Cobb County, Ga., and Oklahoma City and most recently served in the top spot in Taunton, Mass. Though his resume was one of 28 handed out by Hernando officials Monday, Stellar was hired on Sept. 29 for the superintendent post in Burke County, N.C.
A nine-person search committee of community members, Hernando district employees and representatives from the teacher and noninstructional employee unions will meet Wednesday. The committee is expected to submit a short list of no more than 10 candidates to the School Board by the end of the month.
The district hopes to have a candidate selected by February and in place by July 1.
Tony Marrero, Times Staff Writer