St. Petersburg group supports Janssen
An umbrella group representing several organizations in St. Petersburg's black community announced this morning that it wants to see interim school superintendent Julie Janssen, left, selected as superintendent.
The group cited the amendable posture Janssen has taken this summer in mediation sessions over the 1964 federal desegregation case that, while over, still has some effect on the district's operations. The group -- Concerned Organizations for Quality Education for Black Students (COQEBS) -- initiated the mediation when Clayton Wilcox was superintendent, saying the district was not properly educating black students and had not adhered to the court order that came out of the federal case. Under Wilcox, efforts to resolve the dispute hit a stalemate. But members of COQEBS said in a news conference that Janssen, while interim superintendent this summer, had agreed to work with them.
"She has shown a full understanding of the court order and what it can do for black kids," said Watson Haynes, right, co-chair of COQEBS. Standing with the group was Goliath Davis, deputy St. Petersburg mayor, who said Janssen was "uniquely qualified" to be the next superintendent. "She knows us, she knows the system, she knows where the problems are," Davis said, adding: "What's unique about Dr. Janssen is the extent to which she's been able to reach out."
The School Board conducts its second interview this afternoon with Alberto Carvalho, an associate superintendent for Miami-Dade schools, who is one of the three finalists for the job. The board conducted second interviews Monday with Janssen and the other finalist, Nicholas Gledich, chief of operations for Orange County schools.
The board will hear input from the public tonight at its regular meeting (starting at 5 p.m.), then select a superintendent in a 9 a.m. workshop Wednesday. The public also will be able to comment when the board meets at 11 a.m. Wednesday to ratify its decision.