Where does search for new DCPS superintendent stand?

Officials with Duval County Public Schools will give an update Tuesday on the search for a new superintendent after the Duval County School Board voted to suspend the search last October.

The school board’s workshop begins at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.

When the board paused the search last year, it said there were a lack of qualified applicants and the plan would be to re-advertise the position later.

The board is considering changes to the job posting before the next search begins, including adjusting the degree requirements for the position, the “essential functions” of the job and possibly how much the next superintendent will be paid.

The superintendent job, which was offering a salary range of $275,000 to $350,000, was seen by some potential applicants as a career risk they couldn’t afford to take, according to the Florida School Boards Association, which is the firm tasked by the Duval County School Board with finding applicants for the superintendent position.

The original qualifications posted for the position included:

A Master’s degree from an accredited universityAt least 10 years of leadership experienceExperience in a leadership role in a school district with at least 25,000 students

Former Duval County School Board chair Elizabeth Andersen said she was surprised there were only 10 applicants. The last time Duval County was looking for a new superintendent, around 70 people applied. Of those 10, only half met the minimum requirements.

Rather than choose from such a small pool, the board opted to extend Dr. Dana Kriznar’s contract as the interim superintendent until June to give them more time to revamp the search.

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The consultant team told the board that some candidates didn’t want to apply for a job that would start in January, in the middle of the school year, and others were concerned about the school board elections this spring.

“Applying for a superintendency today and being a superintendent today is different than even it was six months ago or a year ago,” said Andrea Messina, president of FSBA. “There’s just been a lot of volatility in the role of superintendent.”

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Andersen said new state laws have created a challenging climate for educators.

“They’re getting a lot of pressure from all sides. It’s not an easy job. And so that’s got to be a really desirable position and place to go,” Andersen said. “The timing is not good for it. But I hope that when the board goes back out, we will see more people interested.”

Messina said she can’t say for sure if there will be more people interested in applying for the Duval County Superintendent job the second time around.

“It’s possible circumstances could get worse for superintendents, or more uncertain for superintendents. It’s also possible things could settle down for superintendents…the fact that we even had as many searches this year as we had had something to do with the public education climate,” Messina said.

In a statement to News4JAX last October, Duval County School Board chair Dr. Kelly Coker said:

Regardless of speculation, these are the facts:

1. We are in a great place right now under Dr. Kriznar’s leadership.

2. We are in a difficult time of the year for a successful sitting superintendent to make a job change.

3. The pool available to us was not sufficient for a job of this caliber in a community as desirable as ours.

4. We will not be pressed into a fast decision. It is the most important decision we will make, and our board will take the time to get it right.

Duval County School Board chair Dr. Kelly Coker

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