Appointed Superintendent

The Escambia County School Board is moving ahead with its search for the district’s first-ever appointed superintendent. At its regular meeting Tuesday, the panel appointed the members of a Citizens Advisory Committee that will assist in the selection process, which is still on track despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We approved the appointment of 22 individuals to serve as our workgroup to help us in reviewing the applications,” said board chairwoman Patty Hightower, who’s been overseeing the search process.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

The Escambia County School Board is moving ahead with preparations for hiring the district’s first-ever appointed superintendent. Board members are in the process of finalizing the job description. Additionally, the panel is looking for citizen input.

As the district transitions from an elected superintendent to an appointed one, School Board Chair Patty Hightower and her colleagues want to ensure residents have a say in the hiring process. For her, community participation is crucial.

Escambia County School District

After five previous defeats, a narrow majority of voters in Escambia County finally approved a 2018 referendum to switch from an elected school superintendent to an appointed one.

The Escambia County School District is now laying the groundwork for hiring the district’s top administrator by next fall.

To help with the process, board members have hired a search team from the Florida School Boards Association; the estimated cost is $25,000.

On at least five occasions dating back to 1967, voters in Escambia County have rejected the idea of switching from an elected school superintendent to an appointed one. But, there’s now a renewed discussion about the topic in the run up to the 2016 General Election.

“I am just a concerned citizen with a tremendous passion for education,” said Pensacola businessman Robert de Varona, who’s behind the latest push to make the change to an appointed superintendent in the Escambia County School District.