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Seven vying to be Hernando County schools deputy superintendent

BROOKSVILLE — Seven candidates will get a chance to interview next week for the school district's No. 2 position.

A seven-member committee of teachers, administrators and community members sifted through 16 applications last week and narrowed the field based on a job description that requires a master's degree and a minimum of five years of leadership experience in education.

Six of the seven candidates are from Florida. Three work for the district, and a fourth retired from Hernando as a principal in 2003.

All three in-house applicants are already starting new jobs.

Barbara Kidder, who came to the district in 1994, was serving as supervisor of professional development when superintendent Wayne Alexander assigned her to an assistant principal post at Explorer K-8 in Spring Hill. She started there this month.

Kidder worked as a teacher, assistant principal and summer school principal in Hernando before taking her first central office job as supervisor of human resources in 2002. She has also served as director of human resources and director of labor relations and professional standards. She has a master's degree in educational leadership and is pursuing a doctoral degree from Nova Southeastern University.

Sonya Jackson is the district's director of school services. She came to the district in 2004, bringing administration experience from Putnam County. She has a master's degree in educational leadership and is working toward a doctoral degree in administrative leadership from Walden University in Minneapolis.

In 2007, Jackson and Kidder applied for the superintendent position but weren't called in for an interview.

Jeff Yungmann is the district's supervisor of curriculum but has been tapped by Alexander to serve as an assistant principal at Nature Coast Technical High School this year.

Yungmann started in Hernando as a high school math teacher in 1989 and worked as a teacher in several schools before starting his current position in 2008. He has a master's degree in educational administration.

The other candidate with a history in Hernando County is Elaine Sullivan. Sullivan, of Brooksville, started in the district in 1970 as a teacher at Hernando High. She spent 17 years as principal of that school, garnering the principal of the year award from the National Association of Secondary School Principals in 1998. She retired from the district in 2003.

Sullivan, who holds a doctorate in education, is a coach for the Secondary Schools Redesign Initiative, which aims to foster improvement at high schools that lag behind under the state's A-plus plan.

The rest of the field:

• Steve Knobl is the principal at Gulf High School in Pasco County. He started in Pasco as a teacher in 1994, has held two assistant principal posts and landed his first principal job at Bayonet Point Middle School in 2006. Knobl, of Land O'Lakes, has a master's degree in educational leadership and is pursuing his doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of South Florida.

• Carol Norton is director of technology and resources for the Reading First program headquartered at the University of Central Florida. Norton specializes in professional development for the federal grant program that develops and provides reading instruction and assessment tools to school districts. The New Port Richey resident has a master's degree in educational leadership.

• Lynn Seifert, the only out-of-state candidate, is superintendent in Cheatham County, Tenn., a district of 13 schools and roughly 7,000 students, according to her resume. She has a master's degree in education and is pursuing a doctoral degree from Northcentral University in Prescott, Ariz.

The interviews are set for Monday at the district's headquarters in Brooksville.

Alexander declined to comment on the quality of the field. He would not specify if he would interview the candidates or whether some or all of the committee members would be on hand and have a voice in the selection.

"I'm not going to talk about the interviewing process until it's completed," Alexander said.

Committee members have declined to comment because Alexander directed them not to talk to the media.

But a candidate reached Tuesday said the e-mail invitation from the district indicated the interview would be in front of a committee.

The school district hasn't had an assistant superintendent for several years, but the School Board agreed it was time to take some of the load off the superintendent and have someone ready to step in when needed. The salary for the job is $96,832.

Kidder acknowledged that starting a new job while interviewing for another feels a bit odd. "You've got to focus on the here and now and what you have to do today," Kidder said.

Tony Marrero can be reached at or (352) 848-1431.

Seven vying to be Hernando County schools deputy superintendent 06/23/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 8:15pm]
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