Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas Education Foundation leaders to offer input on superintendent search

LARGO — In another sign of its heightened interest in Pinellas public school management, a key group of business leaders has arranged to meet alone with the man School Board members hired to run the search for the next superintendent.

Pinellas Education Foundation leaders plan to have an audience with Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, on May 3 to give more input on the kind of person they believe should lead the 101,000-student district.

When superintendent John Stewart alerted members of the Pinellas County School Board about Blanton's trip from Tallahassee for the scheduled appointment, several expressed concern.

"Is the foundation paying for it?" board member Janet Clark asked during a full-day board workshop.

"It's our search," board member Linda Lerner said.

"If we are paying for it, then I want him to meet with some other community stakeholders as well," board member Glenton Gilzean Jr. said.

News of the meeting comes two weeks after the Pinellas Education Foundation, a business-led nonprofit that raises money to benefit schools, released a 37-page report recommending millions of dollars in spending cuts and called for the board to hire a national search firm rather than Blanton.

Craig Sher, chairman of the Pinellas Education Foundation, said late Tuesday that he hopes to impress upon Blanton his group's interest in tapping nontraditional superintendent candidates with business or military backgrounds.

"We think, No. 1, they could think a little more out-of-the-box and not have someone who's just come up through the ranks in Florida," Sher said.

But board members indicated discomfort with the prospect of being excluded from the pow-wow.

"Would we maybe have the option of being there, too?" board member Terry Krassner asked.

Stewart said he would check with both parties and get back to the board.

In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Sher said he would have to think about whether to include board members — and he said he doesn't want to include the public, though he declined to elaborate.

"We have our own things we want to talk about," Sher said. "I guess what we don't want is to make it a Sunshine-able event. The last thing I want to do is invite the public. … We want to have our own audience. I imagine you can understand why."

If at least two board members attended the meeting, Florida's public meeting laws, known as the "Sunshine" laws, mandate the meeting would have to be publicly noticed and open.

The board has contracted to pay Blanton up to $20,000 to help them organize the search, find potential candidates and sort through resumes.

Sher said the foundation is not planning to pay for Blanton's visit to Pinellas.

Blanton, who estimates he has guided Florida school boards through about 75 searches over the course of 30 years, could not be reached Tuesday evening for comment.

Though board members have been clear with Blanton that they want to pull from a national pool of candidates, Sher has said he's not satisfied the FSBA's help will be on par with the expertise of a more expensive executive head-hunting firm.

"To me, a national search isn't just putting an ad in a newspaper," Sher said.

Lerner said that while she appreciates the foundation leaders' ideas and help, "I think we need to have this discussion together."

Stewart, who is leaving his post in December, said he believes the meeting between Blanton and the foundation leaders will be useful. "I've known Wayne for a long, long time," he said. "He's not against meeting with anybody."

The board is expected to set the advertised salary range for the post at $225,000 to $275,000.

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at (727) 893-8707 or rcatalanello@tampabay.com.

Pinellas Education Foundation leaders to offer input on superintendent search 04/17/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 7:32am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 20 local museums are offering free admission or deals Saturday for Free Museum Day

    Visual Arts

    For all the community's support of the arts in the bay area, it's nice to be rewarded with free admission once in a while. And that's exactly what many area museums are offering on Saturday.

    The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is among the museums participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live, offering free admission. (LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times)
  2. Cubs bring some other ex-Rays to Trop such as Wade Davis, Ben Zobrist

    Blogs

    Joe Maddon's first trip back to the Trop is getting most of the headlines tonight, but there are several other familiar faces among the eight former Rays now wearing Cubs uniforms.

  3. Bicyclist in critical condition after colliding with vehicle in St. Petersburg

    Accidents

    ST. PETERSBURG — A bicyclist is in critical condition after he ran a red light and was struck by a car on Monday night, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

  4. Myanmar leader sidesteps atrocity allegations in first address on Rohingya crisis (w/video)

    World

    YANGON, Myanmar - In her first major speech Tuesday on the worsening Rohingya crisis, Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, sidestepped allegations of atrocities committed against the stateless Muslim minority and cast the conflict as just one of many problems ailing the country.

    A Rohingya Muslim, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, carries his belongings as he arrives at Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. With a mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims sparking accusations of ethnic cleansing from the United Nations and others, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said her country does not fear international scrutiny and invited diplomats to see some areas for themselves. [Associated Press]
  5. Florida education news: Free lunch, school routines, spending cuts and more

    Blogs

    FREE LUNCH: Hurricane Irma caused many families to go without income for a week. Many also lost power, and along with it the food in their refrigerators and freezers. Making matters worse, replacing it isn't so easy, as grocery stores have limited supplies. Hoping to ease the burden, the state has asked for …