Community board meets with 5 Duval County schools superintendent candidates

Hopefuls field questions from school district's Envisioning Committee

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Left to right: Kriner Cash, Kathryn LeRoy, William Miller, Dale Robbins and Nikoali Vitti

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - For the first time Monday night, Jacksonville got a glimpse into the five people hoping to be the next Duval County superintendent.  Their formal interviews with the School Board will be held Tuesday.

The five candidates fielded questions from the Envisioning Committee at the Schultz Center. The Envisioning Committee is made up of teachers, parents and business and community leaders.

Each candidate was allotted two minutes to answer questions.

Many of the questions focused on leadership and how the candidates would create a positive perception of the school district.

"I believe we absolutely need to build a better relationship with the media," said candidate Kathryn Leory. "I believe open access and transparency is absolutely important."

"We have to seize back the education agenda here. We have to take control of the education agenda. I fully intend to do that if selected to be your superintendent," said candidate Kriner Cash.

A key issue for Tammie Talley was developing what she calls a "whole student." With recent cuts to art, music and athletic programs, Talley said producing well-rounded students is a challenge for the district.

"There are candidates interested in the overall child, not just strictly academics... there's an extension of the classroom," said Talley.

The Envisioning Committee is expected to meet again on Tuesday. The group said it plans on selecting a finalist by September, in advance of current Duval County Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals' contract expiration in December.

The candidates will appear before the School Board on Tuesday for their individual interviews. The current seven-member board selected the finalists. All seven members will participate. Four of them will rotate off the board after the November election.

The Envisioning Committee released a report earlier this summer offering its thoughts on the type of leader the district needs. The committee found that the ideal candidate is a consensus builder, collaborator, leader and visionary who celebrates diversity, can handle change and has adequate professional experience.

For more information on the five superintendent candidates, read their applications below:

  • Kriner Cash - superintendent of Memphis, Tenn., School District (Review application)
  • Kathryn LeRoy - chief academic officer of Duval County Public Schools (Review application)
  • William Miller - executive director of Michigan Association of Statewide Intermediate School Administrators (Review application)
  • Dale Robbins - associate superintendent of Gwinnett, Ga., School District (Review application)
  • Nikoali Vitti - Assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, school improvement and accountability, education transformation and performance, Miami-Dade School District (Review application)

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