Five Polk County Public Schools superintendent candidates in town for interviews

The Ledger | by Kimberly C. Moore | April 20, 2021

BARTOW — Five candidates for Polk County Public Schools superintendent are in town this week for in-person interviews after being selected recently by the School Board.  

The finalists are: 

  • Harold Border — Chief of Orange County High Schools in Florida
  • Frederick Heid — Superintendent, Community Unit School District in Algonquin, Illinois
  • James McIntyre, Jr. — Assistant Professor of Practice and Director for the Center for Educational Leadership at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville
  • Michael Ramirez — Deputy Superintendent of Denver Public Schools in Colorado 
  • Nakia Towns — Deputy Superintendent of Hamilton County Schools in Chattanooga, Tennessee 

The field of 52 applicants was narrowed to nine after a community committee picked its top candidates, which was then cut down to seven by the School Board. One candidate dropped out — Antoine Hickman, chief of student support initiatives and recovery for Broward County Public Schools — and Jennifer Cupid-McCoy was not selected for an in-person interview.

The next superintendent’s three-year contract will have a start date of July 1, 2021, with a transition period in May and June. The salary ranges from $215,000 to $275,000, plus competitive benefits. 

The candidates’ schedules this week will consist of interviews with the full board on either Wednesday or Thursday. When not being interviewed, candidates will be given a tour of the county and several schools, along with breakfasts, lunches and dinners with School Board members and prominent Polk County residents. 

The candidates scheduled to be interviewed on Wednesday, April 21 are: 

  • Harold R. Border, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. 
  • James P. McIntyre, 10:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. 
  • Michael J. Ramirez, 1:45 p.m. 3:45 p.m. 

The candidates scheduled to be interviewed on Thursday, April 22 are: 

  • Frederick R. Heid, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.  
  • Nakia Towns, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. 

The finalists will also take part in a virtual Q&A session on Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. 

The virtual Q&A session will be broadcast live via YouTube. The public can submit questions using a link which will be posted on Thursday morning on the Polk County Public Schools web page. Members of the public can also view candidate resumes and recommendation letters, read answers to questions, see videos of each candidate and leave feedback on the Super Search page

The public is welcome to attend the full School Board interviews with candidates on Wednesday and Thursday. In addition, the public is invited to attend community meet-and-greet events. Wednesday night’s is scheduled for 6:30-8:30 at the Lake Eva Events Center in Haines City, while Thursday night’s event is set for 6:45 p.m. at the Jim Miles Professional Development Center in the Highland City area of south Lakeland. 

The candidates wrap up their week with one-on-one interviews with individual board members on Friday. 

The school Board will select the new superintendent at its April 27 meeting.

Ledger reporter Kimberly C. Moore can be reached at or 863-802-7514.

Polk County Public Schools Superintendent Candidate Meet-and-Greets for the public:

Wednesday, April 21


Lake Eva Events Center

799 Johns Avenue in Haines City

Thursday, April 22

6:45 p.m.

Jim Miles Professional Development Center

4270 Wallace Road in the Highland City area of south Lakeland 

Image: Five candidates are now vying for Polk County Public Schools superintendent. Provided photos


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