BROOKSVILLE — Hernando School Board attorney Paul Carland is headed home again.
Carland, 45, was tapped Monday morning to serve as general counsel for the Broward County School District, beating out the district's interim attorney and a top executive for Atlanta public schools.
A West Palm Beach native who was raised in Broward County, Carland received five votes from the nine-member School Board, a district spokeswoman said.
"I certainly appreciate the opportunity they want to give me," he said by phone after the vote.
It's a huge — and somewhat bittersweet — step up for Carland, who earned his law degree from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale and has held the Hernando post since 2005.
He wasn't actively looking for his next challenge but said he felt compelled to apply because it's in his old stomping grounds. Broward is the sixth-largest school district in the United States. With a student population of nearly 234,000, it's about 10 times the size of the Hernando district.
Carland has received glowing evaluations in Hernando and told board members here that he'd applied for the Broward job with mixed emotions.
"I've very much enjoyed working for the county and continue to enjoy my position," Carland, who lives in Homosassa with his wife and two school-aged children, told the Times earlier this month.
Sharron M. Pitts, chief of staff for Atlanta public schools, received three votes. Marylin Batista-McNamara received one vote.
Hernando School Board chairman James Yant said he wasn't surprised Carland came out on top. "That's a loss for us, but a good choice for them," Yant said.
Hernando does not have a deputy counsel, so there is no one to immediately step in. Carland said he will work with each district to try to set a start date that "takes care of both."
Tony Marrero can be reached at email@example.com or at (352) 848-1431.