And then, there were three.
At Thursday’s special called School Board meeting, board members narrowed the field of seven Superintendent semi-finalists to just three.
One at a time, the semi-finalists were led to the board room and faced one question from each board member. The board member asked the same question of each candidate.
The questions centered around equity, communication and making difficult decisions. Finally, the candidate was able to present their 90 day plan.
In the end, the board voted to allow three candidates to continue through to the final round.
Addison Davis is Superintendent in Clay County. “I’m really energetic, I’m enthusiastic, I love my job,” Mr. Davis said. “I care about children. I’m not here for politics, I’m not here about adults, I’m here to work every single day on behalf of one learner times 220,000! So it’s a great opportunity.”
Dr. Don Haddad is Superintendent in Longmont, Colorado. “I’m a staunch advocate for public education and I think it’s such a critically important thing,” explained Dr. Haddad. “A district of the size and stature of Hillsborough County Public Schools is something, I believe not only we can influence here in Hillsborough and the state of Florida, but become a model for education, and public education, across the entire nation.”
Dr. Peter Licata is Regional Superintendent of Palm Beach County. “This is the next step. I really believe I can make a bigger impact in a bigger place,” he said. “Palm Beach is my home but this is a little bit bigger and I really want to make an impact. I believe I can close the gap because there is an equity gap here.”
After the School Board chose the finalists, the men were brought across the street to Rampello K-8 for a community meet and greet. About 100 people showed up to ask more questions of the finalists. The crowd included teachers, principals, district personnel, parents and prominent members of the community.
The next step in the superintendent search happens Tuesday, January 21. The candidates will meet with board members one-on-one and then be brought before the entire board for their final interview. The School Board expects to make its decision on our next Superintendent after those final interviews. You can watch them live on hillsboroughschools.tv.