Superintendent hopefuls to be interviewed this week

Herald Tribune | By Ryan McKinnon | June 29, 2020

A remote Q&A will take place Wednesday evening, and community members can submit their questions online beforehand.

The five candidates vying to be the next superintendent of the Sarasota County School District will be in town this week.

Brennan Asplen III, deputy superintendent, St. Johns County School District; Marie Izquierdo, chief academic officer, Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Gonzalo S. La Cava, chief of human resources, School District of Palm Beach County; Peter Licata, regional superintendent, Palm Beach and Keith Oswald, deputy superintendent Palm Beach will each have their chance to impress School Board members as the superintendent search approaches the finish line.

On Wednesday, the School Board will interview each candidate for 90 minutes, beginning at 8:15 a.m. The meeting is open to the public with limited availability, due to COVID-19 requirements that limit the number of people allowed to be in board chambers to 50 or fewer.

The interviews will be broadcast on the district’s Education Channel and YouTube Channel throughout the day.

Each candidate will take their individual turn in front of the board, and when they are not being interviewed they will take a tour of the district.

On Wednesday evening the Florida School Boards Association, which is facilitating the search, will hold a question and answer session at Suncoast Technical College.

Community members can submit questions through the district’s webpage throughout the day, between 8:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Andrea Messina, the executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, will be moderating the Q&A event, and each candidate will have 15 minutes to answer as many questions as they can. Like the individual interviews, the Q&A will be broadcast live on the district’s YouTube Channel, and on the Education Channel.

FSBA consultant Bill Vogel encouraged the public to submit questions. COVID-19 has made it impossible for the district to hold a meet-and-greet like they normally would with finalists, so the web Q&A is the best shot people have to ask questions.

“We are going to try to ask all of the questions,” Vogel said. “We want people to be able to reflect on the interviews and ask any questions they might have.”

On Thursday board members will meet individually with each applicant for one-on-one interviews.

Board members will have time to mull over their impressions of the five hopefuls, and on July 14 the board is scheduled to select a new superintendent and begin contract negotiations.

The five finalists submitted videos to the board last week along with written answers to a handful of questions. Videos of all five applicants, along with written responses and resume materials can be viewed at

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