Few apply to become Broward’s interim school superintendent

South Florida Sun Sentinel | by Scott Travis | June 2, 2021

The job of interim superintendent isn’t attracting much interest among employees of Broward schools.

Only 13 people sent letters of interest before the deadline Friday, and only two currently hold jobs in management: Brian Katz, chief of safety, security and emergency preparedness, and MIchael Blanchard, an area security manager.

The other applicants are a guitar teacher, a math teacher, a science teacher, a sixth grade teacher, a literary coach, a computer micro tech, a speech-language pathologist, two support facilitators for special needs students and two classroom assistants.

The School Board accepted applications only from current district employees, and the person selected as interim superintendent was not allowed to apply for the permanent job. There were no qualifications listed on the job notice. The permanent job requires someone with at least a master’s degree and 10 years of management experience.

School Board members plan to review the applications at a meeting Thursday. If they aren’t satisfied with this pool, they can open the applications back up or just name someone to the job. This person must be in place at least by Aug. 10, which is current Superintendent Robert Runcie’s last day.

“I didn’t want to just appoint someone. I wanted to have a good pool of people where we could weigh the pros and cons and pick the right person,” board member Debbi Hixon said. “But I’m disappointed by this list.”

The School Board is looking for a replacement for Runcie, who agreed to step down after being arrested in April on a perjury charge. Board members plan to conduct a national search for a permanent superintendent, but they said that could take up to a year, so they’re looking for someone to fill in during the interim.

Several board members said they’d hoped some of the top administrators who make up Runcie’s cabinet would apply, such as Chief of Staff Jeff Moquin, Chief Academic Officer Dan Gohl and Valerie Wanza, chief of accountability and performance.

But Katz, who was hired in February 2019, was the only cabinet-level administrator to apply. In his letter of interest for the job, he mentions multiple times that he is speaking on behalf of the dozen members of the cabinet.

“It is the collective belief of the Cabinet that the community and the organization need to see strong support for the selected interim Superintendent so that we can facilitate the efficient transition to the new permanent Superintendent,” Katz wrote. “This will ensure the retention of our talented employees so that the organization and community can begin to heal and move forward.”

Katz could not be reached for comment.

Here is the full list of candidates for interim superintendent:

  • Michael Blanchard, area security manager.
  • David Eves, guitar teacher, Everglades High.
  • James J. Gard, math teacher, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
  • Kyle Houston, 6th-grade teacher, Lyons Creek Middle.
  • Brian Katz, chief of safety, security and emergency preparedness.
  • Azhar Khan, micro tech, Before & After School Child Care.
  • Gillian Mcintosh Brown, literary coach, Blanche Ely High.
  • Eddie Mitchell, science teacher, Lanier-James Educational Center.
  • Elizabeth Motisi, speech-language pathologist, Meadowbrook Elementary.
  • Orville Reynolds, ESE support facilitator, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
  • Jayson Richardson, teacher assistant, North Fork Elementary.
  • Anthony Schmieder, ESE Support Facilitator Pompano Beach Middle.
  • Jabulani Sitole, teacher assistant, ESE, Deerfield Beach Middle.
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