Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Issue: Old Board Picking New Schools Leader; Newly Elected Grymes, 2 Who Could Be Voted in Wish for Slower Selection Process

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Issue: Old Board Picking New Schools Leader; Newly Elected Grymes, 2 Who Could Be Voted in Wish for Slower Selection Process

Article excerpt

Byline: Khristopher J. Brooks

As the search for Duval County schools superintendent continues this week, at least one incoming School Board member wants a bigger say in picking the next schools leader.

Cheryl Grymes is joined by two potential board members, Jason Fischer and Ashley Smith Juarez, who say they wish the timetable for picking a new superintendent wasn't so fast. All say a better option is to wait until the board's four new members are sworn in before the end of the year.

"The new board needs to have some interaction with the candidates," said Grymes, who will replace board member Martha Barrett. "Quite frankly, if I was a [superintendent] candidate, I would ask for it. I'd want to know who I'm working for."

The School Board will continue vetting the five semifinalists Monday and Tuesday in Schultz Center for Teaching and Learning.

As the process stands, Grymes, board member-elect Connie Hall and the four board hopefuls have no legal right to join in the vetting. But they will become the seven-member board's majority when they take office.

Betty Burney, Tommy Hazouri and W.C. Gentry did not seek re-election. Barrett, seeking her fourth term, was defeated by Grymes in the August election.

Hall will replace Burney. The other two seats will be decided in November. Fischer faces Jon Heymann in District 7 while Smith Juarez faces Suzanne Jenkins in District 3.

Multiple attempts to reach Hall and Heymann last week by text and phone call were not returned.

Grymes said the current board should not have put together a superintendent timetable that essentially leaves board members-elect out of the process. She said the current board should slow down its process, even if that means going back to find more candidates. That would also give enough time to get the results of the remaining two runoff elections.

"The board has never sought to exclude anyone" from the selection process, said Burney, the board's chairwoman.

Burney said she invited the soon-to-be board members to submit questions to her, via email, and she will have them posed to the superintendent semifinalists.

Grymes said she's OK with submitting questions to the board, but "just because we submit questions doesn't mean they will be asked. …

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