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Alachua Schools Assistant Superintendent Named Interim Leader

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The Alachua County School Board met Wednesday morning to discuss the district’s search for a new superintendent and appointed Assistant Superintendent Hershel Lyons as the interim.

Lyons will fill the position effective Oct.1. Dan Boyd, the current superintendent for Alachua County Public Schools, announced his plans in August to retire after nine years in the position.

The board also hired the Florida School Board Association to conduct the search. Executive Director Wayne Blanton, who has conducted 78 superintendent searches nationwide, gave a presentation on how to find candidates and what was involved in the process.

Blanton said it would cost up to $15,000 for the search due to advertising, travel and consulting fees.

The company’s services also cost $500 per day.

He said the board would have to make key decisions to move forward on whether to conduct the search on a national level, the salary range and what they expect in a candidate.

Leanetta McNealy, a school board member, said she was excited about the process of finding the most qualified person for the position. She said leadership would be the most critical factor in her decision, but there are other qualities that school board members would be discussing during a Sept. 24 retreat.

“We are going to have to select the leader who will be in place for possibly the next five to 10 years, so there is a legacy that we want this individual to be able to impart and make a footprint here for our district,” McNealy said.

Although budget constraints may limit possibilities, McNealy said the new superintendent would have to be innovative,  progressive and able to work closely with the community to create the best environment for students.

She said Boyd was able to balance the many different responsibilities and groups he was a part of due to his charismatic personality, and the new superintendent would have to behave similarly.

About Jeanna Arroyo

Jeanna is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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Alachua County is the only school district of 11 in North Central Florida that appoints its school superintendent.  (TJ Pyche / WUFT News)

Elected Or Appointed, School Superintendent Job Calls For Cooperation With School Board

The resignation of former Alachua County Schools Superintendent Owen Roberts last month has raised the long-standing discussion over the pros and cons of appointing versus electing a school district's chief executive officer. The Alachua County School Board voted to accept Roberts' resignation June 21. Roberts, who was appointed to his position in 2014, was the only school superintendent in North Central Florida not elected by county voters. Of the 11 counties in the area, 10 have elected superintendents. Forty-one of the state’s 67 counties elect their respective superintendent of schools.