They’re down to the final four at Broward County Public Schools.
On Tuesday, the school board narrowed the field from 39 candidates to become the next permanent superintendent of the nation’s sixth-largest school district down to four.
The list includes the current interim superintendent, Dr. Vickie Cartwright, who has served in that position since last August, along with three outsiders.
However, because of a concern about a potential Sunshine Law violation, the board will, on Feb. 1, redo the same meeting at which it chose the four finalists.
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The teacher’s union president told NBC 6 and the board members that they should give Cartwright the permanent job.
“It’s just evident that we’ve got somebody that’s doing the work, wants to continue doing the work, has performed, and if she gets the permanent position, I believe we’re gonna see even greater changes in Broward County Public Schools, your hands are tied when you’re just temporary,” said Anna Fusco, president of Broward Teachers Union.
The other candidates are Peter Licata, Keith Oswald, and Michael Gaal. Licata and Oswald are each administrators in Palm Beach County Public Schools. Gaal was recently an executive for an educational tech company and also worked as an administrator in several school districts outside of Florida.
School board member Dr. Rosalind Osgood told us the candidate pool should’ve been deeper.
“I absolutely feel that the political climate in Florida has discouraged people from applying for superintendent jobs in Broward, in Miami, Palm Beach,” Osgood said. “You have an educational system now that’s been politicized and weaponized, so many people are fearful, they don’t want to be drug through the mud in that job, they don’t feel they have the authority to really do the job.”
Osgood cites the battle Broward and other school districts had with the state over COVID-19 protocols, along with proposed laws that would restrict how history is taught and allow cameras to monitor teachers in classrooms.
“In Florida, I believe there’s this massive attempt to defund traditional public education, so when you’re coming to be the chief executive officer of a school district, you have a lot of laws that prevent you from doing what you know should be done as an expert in this space,” Osgood said.
Osgood praised each candidate for having positive attributes and for bringing unique skill sets to the position and said she’s thankful they applied in the first place.
The school board will interview each of them publicly on Wednesday, Feb. 2.