BROOKSVILLE — The committee charged with reviewing Hernando County school superintendent applicants has recommended five finalists.
At least two of the names come as no surprise.
Ken Pritz and Sonya Jackson, the district's two assistant superintendents, were both on the committee's list, which came from an initial pool of 34 candidates. The names will now be sent to the School Board for consideration, though the board is free to select any candidate.
The other finalists are Constance Jones of Estero, Diana Greene of Ocala and Rebecca Fleck of Sebring.
No out-of-state candidates made the cut.
Jones is the chief academic officer in Lee County and is on temporary assignment covering for a middle school principal. She was a finalist for the superintendent's position in Lee before another candidate was selected and has also been a finalist in Pinellas and Palm Beach counties.
Greene was a deputy superintendent in Marion County before she unsuccessfully ran for the county's elected superintendent position. She was then reassigned to an elementary school as principal.
Fleck is the assistant superintendent of schools overseeing curriculum and instruction in Highlands County. She made an unsuccessful run for superintendent in that county, which elects its superintendent.
Greene and Jones are also finalists for the Manatee County school superintendent position. That position will pay between $170,000 and a $195,000, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Both Pritz and Jackson competed for the Hernando position previously, eventually losing out to Blavatt, who will retire at the end of June.
But this search is different. Both candidates now have different titles and responsibilities.
Blavatt is credited with having groomed a successor in his previous job in Kentucky. And when he was hired in Hernando, School Board members said they hoped his mentoring would bring someone to eventually take his place.
The 11-person committee eliminated all but 10 candidates at an initial meeting last week. Three of the candidates then dropped out, reducing the pool to seven.
School Board members will select finalists at their next workshop on Feb. 19. Candidate interviews will be in March, and a new superintendent will be picked on March 19. The new superintendent's start date is July 1.
The advertised salary range is $100,000 to $130,000.
Danny Valentine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1432. Tweet him @HernandoTimes.