Orange County continues superintendent search

The Florida School Boards Association gathered the community’s thoughts on the ongoing superintendent search through a discussion Tuesday, March 29, at West Orange High School.

The Florida School Boards Association is continuing its search for Orange County Public Schools’ next superintendent, who will be selected June 28.
The Florida School Boards Association is continuing its search for Orange County Public Schools’ next superintendent, who will be selected June 28.
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The Florida School Boards Association held a community forum to hear West Orange residents’ thoughts on the superintendent search Tuesday, March 29, at West Orange High School

FSBA consultants Bill Vogel and John Reichert led the discussion by breaking attendees up into focus groups to answer three main questions. Based on the answers, the locals were asked to place orange stickers next to the qualities they felt were most important. 

Participants were asked to answer what strengths and areas of Orange County Public Schools they thought the next superintendent would need to understand and support; the most critical needs and challenges of OCPS; and what personal qualities, professional experience and other skills the board should consider in the next superintendent. 

West Orange teachers and parents placed emphasis on several traits, including being visible on the ground, non-political and open-minded to all issues; a business expert but with school-based experience; the willingness to make kids and teachers a priority; and having a vision for the future that matches the values of those they are serving. 

Years of teaching experience and a Ph.D. requirement were notably not as important for those who chose to respond in the discussion. 

As far as strengths of OCPS, focus groups mentioned teacher excellence, art programs, career and technical education, AP and AICE programs, technology, high graduation rates, diverse student body, equity and inclusion, magnet schools, and parent academy.

Many also expressed they were glad to have a voice at the meeting. 

In response to the critical needs and challenges of OCPS, attendees felt parents should have parental rights in the classroom, teachers and staff should be paid competitively, there should be a focus on teacher retention, an opt-in as opposed to an opt-out for social- and emotional-learning initiatives, and transparency.  

The FSBA had hosted three forums before the one at West Orange. However, Vogel said District 4’s turnout was the largest so far. The association planned to host three more.

The next step in the process will be for the board to determine characteristics, qualities, salary range and length of contract for the next superintendent based on the community’s opinions and the findings of the superintendent search advisory committee in April. The board then will post an advertisement for the search, and the application period will begin in May. 

The search comes after current Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins announced her retirement in February. The Orange County School Board has engaged the FSBA in the search for the next highly qualified individual to lead the district.

 The board hopes to select a superintendent June 28.



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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