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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.

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