School Board to search Florida first for new superintendent

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – The Indian River County School Board decided today that they will enlist the help of state officials to find a new superintendent to replace the current schools chief.

Superintendent Dr. Harry La Cava is expected to retire in July 2011, per his deferred retirement option plan. School Board members, during a roundtable discussion Tuesday afternoon, voiced support for looking for someone from within the state – someone who, presumably, be familiar with the state’s laws and current education challenges.

School Board member Carol Johnson said that she had opposed a national search for a superintendent but had been overruled by other members of the prior board. Noting that Florida is unique, the new superintendent would have to be someone who understands the state’s finances, she said, expressing her support for a state-based search.

Board Chairwoman Karen Disney-Brombach told her fellow board members that – during the search that led to La Cava – the board took on a national search and whittled the candidates down to two. Neither was hired.

The board then decided to look within the state and again narrowed the list to two – La Cava and another candidate – both from nearby counties, she said.

“There’s a lesson in there,” Disney-Brombach said.

The board also discussed moving forward with the search, despite three seats on the council up for grabs in the primary and general elections.

Disney-Brombach, who is seeking re-election, told the board she is not comfortable waiting for a new board to be seated before beginning the search – as a prior board had done in hiring La Cava.

That board had waited for its new members to be elected, putting brand new, inexperienced members on the board in the position of searching for a new schools chief.

Johnson, who is also seeking re-election, agreed, adding that the board should have gotten started on the search four months ago to give them more time.

“It’s going to be very hard to bring someone up to speed” given the short amount of time left before La Cava retires.

None of the three other board members opposed moving forward with the search.

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