Lerner questions choice of 'facilitators' for workshop
Next Thursday's discussion between Pinellas County school superintendent Julie Janssen and the elected school board that hired her is not expected to be easy. They plan to talk about Janssen's job performance.
So, when Janssen told the board on Tuesday that she'd welcome such a discussion, she said she'd recommend a "facilitator" be present to help guide the discussion.
Board chair Carol Cook said she liked the idea. It would allow her the opportunity to be more involved in the conversation without, she said, appearing to steer the discussion in one direction or the other because of her usual role shepherding meetings.
So, on Thursday, Cook confirmed she'd asked state Sen. Bill Montford of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and Wayne Blanton of the Florida School Boards Association to be present.
Now, board member Linda Lerner said that's not what she had in mind. After reading the news on The Gradebook Thursday evening, Lerner sent an email to the other board members, Janssen and board attorney Jim Robinson saying she was "very surprised and distressed" by the choice.
"I think they're both extremely qualified executive directors," she told The Gradebook this morning by way of explanation. "I just don't understand what their role is going to be. And two of them? I don't think that's what the board asked for."
Lerner asked that if other board members also have concerns that they talk to the board's secretary.
Cook could not be immediately reached about the matter this morning. But on Thursday afternoon, she told The Gradebook she felt the two men come with an important knowledge base: "It's people who really know the job and how it's supposed to work," she said.
The meeting is set now for Thursday, June 23, at the district's headquarters in Largo.