BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School District will probably get a second assistant superintendent sometime next week, capping superintendent Bryan Blavatt's long quest to add a top-ranking administrator to his staff.
Two local principals are among the three candidates left in the running for the recently created position. Five candidates initially made the cut, but two withdrew their applications.
Blavatt said he was fairly hopeful and confident that the position would be filled by one of the three candidates.
"The three that we have now are exceptional — very, very qualified," he said.
Hernando High School principal Ken Pritz and Monica Ilse, principal of Anclote High School in Pasco County, both applied for the position.
The third candidate, Andrei Ghelman, is an assistant principal in Maryland.
The job pays a maximum of $96,000, with an additional $26,000 for benefits. Whoever is chosen will join Sonya Jackson as the Hernando district's second assistant superintendent.
A divided Hernando School Board approved the position in early May as part of an effort to reorganize the district office. It was Blavatt's fourth attempt to restructure district headquarters to his liking. He said the reorganization will also save the district money.
Pritz is a longtime Hernando County educator, getting his start in the district in 1989 as an administrative intern. He moved up the ranks from teacher to assistant principal to principal. He has been principal at Hernando High School since 2008. He's also had experience as director of school services and facility and support operations for the district.
Pritz said his 22 years of administrative experience in Hernando, including seven in the district office, help make him the best candidate.
"I feel like those seven years are really key," he said.
He said he has learned the ins and outs of the district and has experience working with principals.
"I think people have tapped into what I've known a lot in the past," he said. "I think that definitely should be a benefit."
Neither Ilse nor Ghelman could be reached for comment.
Ilse got her start with Pasco in 1997 as a guidance counselor at Land O'Lakes High School and has been with the district ever since. She has served as both an assistant principal and a principal and holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of South Florida.
Ghelman has worked for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland for 17 years, including stints as a principal, an assistant principal and a mathematics teacher. At Damascus High School, where he is an assistant principal, he was lauded by his colleagues for his high expectations and for making the school operate more smoothly
Danny Valentine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1432.