Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg College to begin search for a new president

The St. Petersburg College Board Of Trustees will not require its next president to have a Ph.D. or previous education experience, board members said Friday.

Trustees instead said the college's next leader must have the equivalent of five years of leadership in higher education. The word "equivalent" would allow public school superintendents and business and political leaders to apply, trustees said.

The decision, which followed the recommendation of the board's search consultant, also means St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker could seek the job if he chooses.

Carl Kuttler, 69, announced he was resigning in July after 31 years as St. Petersburg College president.

He has said Baker would make a good replacement, and Baker has said he is interested in the job.

Baker was not mentioned as the trustees deliberated for 90 minutes Friday.

Only trustee Ken Burke — who previously has said Baker is not qualified to lead St. Petersburg College — supported a provision requiring education experience.

"Maybe I'm old fashioned – I think a person should know their product," Burke said. Later, Burke said hiring someone without higher education experience would be a "tremendous morale buster for our faculty."

Burke, a Republican appointed to the board by former Gov. Jeb Bush, said he will not support someone without an educational background. College faculty members also have said they preferred a president with an academic Ph.D. or doctorate and education experience.

Baker has a doctorate in law. He has no official experience working in higher education.

Search consultant Jeff Hockaday said law degrees are generally considered sufficient for hiring a president.

But in all of his 72 previous presidential searches, Hockaday said the person ultimately selected had education experience.

Trustee W. Richard Johnston advocated broadening the search beyond only educational experience.

"I don't want to limit the search in any way possible," Johnston said. "I'm afraid we might exclude somebody we see as a good president."

Four of the college's five trustees attended Friday's meeting. Trustee Deveron Gibbons said he will not participate in the selection process because of his personal relationship with Baker.

Trustees will form a 13-member search committee to review applications. Burke and Johnston will serve along with three faculty members, one student, and one administrator, among others. Each of the four trustees also will select a member.

The committee will recommend finalists to the trustees, who will make the ultimate decision.

College officials plan to begin advertising next week. Hockaday, the search consultant, said he expects roughly 40 applicants, and believes the college could select a new leader by spring.

About the search

Want to know more about the presidential search? Visit

St. Petersburg College to begin search for a new president 10/16/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 16, 2009 11:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. How did Florida National Guard miss soldier's neo-Nazi leanings?


    Brandon Russell, a private first class assigned to Company C of the 53rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Pinellas Park, has been in the Florida National Guard since February, 2016.

    Brandon Russell, 21, of Tampa, is a Florida National Guardsman accused in a federal complaint of illegal possession of explosives. [From YouTube]
  2. New stores coming to Tyrone Square Mall, like Bath & Body Works


    Tyrone Square Mall will welcome a half dozen new stores, like Bath & Body Works and MidiCi's The Neapolitan Pizza Company, this summer.

  3. Wilson Ramos feeling good and confident, eyeing late June return to Rays


    Sitting on the bench in the Rays dugout in his full catcher's gear, Wilson Ramos talked excitedly Tuesday about the progress in his recovery from right knee surgery and the potential to be back in the major leagues by this time next month.

    "I feel like a player right now,'' Ramos said.

    Wilson Ramos is aiming to be back with the Rays by this time next month.
  4. Hernando teacher faces sexual battery charges


    BROOKSVILLE — Deputies arrested a teacher on charges of sexual battery Tuesday, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said.

  5. Drought forces tougher watering restrictions on Tampa Bay


    Homeowners in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties will be limited to watering their lawns only once a week under new, tighter watering restrictions imposed Tuesday by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

    A fallen pine tree burns and smolders in a section of pine flatwoods earlier this month in the Starkey Wilderness Preserve in Pasco County. Drought conditions have helped spark wildfires across the state. Now homeowners in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties will face tighter watering restrictions imposed Tuesday by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]