Would-be Pinellas School Board members say they'd work with Carvalho
As Alberto Carvalho, left, weighs competing superintendent offers from the Pinellas and Miami-Dade school boards, he is carefully gauging his support in each place. Not only he contacting board members in both counties who voted against him, he is calling the candidates for Pinellas School Board.
Two of the four Pinellas School Board members who voted to hire Carvalho, Nancy Bostock and Jane Gallucci, are leaving the board in November. A third Carvalho supporter, Janet Clark, faces re-election and could be gone as well, though she finished first in the primary.
Three board members voted against Carvahlo. While all three said they would work with him, only one, Peggy O'Shea, sounded enthused about it.
Bottom line: If Carvalho were to accept the Pinellas job, he could be left with only one board member who voted to hire him.
Suddenly it matters what the five board candidates besides Clark are thinking about Carvalho. The Gradebook interviewed four of them today, and all said they would work with him if he accepts the job.
"I'd just like to see more cohesiveness" on the board, said Robin Wikle, a candidate for the District 4 seat. "I can work with anybody. You take your differences and you have to look at what it's really about, and it's about children."
Wikle's opponent, Ken Peluso, said he would work with any of the three finalists for superintendent - Carvalho, interim superintendent Julie Janssen or Nicholas Gledich, a top Orange County schools official. "All three candidates are excellent; all three have their own best qualities," Peluso said. "I can adapt to any one of the three."
Jennifer Crockett, who is running against Clark for the District 1 seat, said she would support whichever candidate is chosen. "My bigger feeling is we need a board that is working together and not divided," said Crockett, who called it "really unfortunate" that board members Mary Brown and Linda Lerner would not welcome a follow-up talk with Carvalho. A school board's "role is to evaluate (superintendents) annually to see where they're at," Crockett said. "To make that evaluation before they have begun is unfair."
Nina Hayden, a candidate for the District 2 seat, said Janssen is a better fit for Pinellas than Carvalho but she would work with Carvalho. "I don't see myself having a problem with anyone who's hired as superintendent," she said. "You can't sit there and mull over things that are in the past or out of your control. You've got to move forward."
Her opponent, Sean O'Flannery, could not be reached.
Carvalho was in Miami Thursday, trailed by a media pack. See the Miami Herald's story here. Miami-Dade schools spokeman John Schuster said Carvalho has not negotiated yet with the district.
As of late Thursday afternoon, Carvalho had not called Pinellas board chairwoman Bostock but did ask via text message for a list with names and numbers of the board candidates.
"I think that's a great idea," Bostock said."I think that shows he is really looking at not just the surface issues of the board but what kind of leadership team are we going to build."
If Caravalho were to decline the Pinellas offer, Bostock said she would be inclined to call a special board meeting as soon as possible to choose between Janssen and Gledich. "I'm not in the least bit worried about any of this," Bostock said, noting the board said all three candidates were good. "Either directon we go I think we're in good shape."