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Will she stay or will she go?
The Broward County School Board will decide Tuesday whether to fire superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright or to keep her on the job. The board already fired her once, then a newly-constituted, post-election school board rescinded that termination and gave her a 90 probationary period to prove she is up to the task. The 90 days ends Tuesday.
“I think if you’re counting votes, it’s likely that I am the swing vote,” said school board member Dr. Allen Zeman.
Zeman said he hasn’t yet made up his mind which way he’ll vote on Cartwright. NBC 6 asked if he has considered the difficulties of not just finding a better person for the job, but one who would actually take the position.
“And I think it’s the most prescient question because it isn’t just saying, is she or isn’t she qualified to do this job or the best qualified, but it’s trying to make some assumptions about who would be interested in coming here,” Zeman said.
Former Alachua County superintendent Carlee Simon said the pool of applicants for a vacant superintendent job in Broward County will not be deep. Simon was fired by her school board in 2021 after she angered the governor over COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Right now the state of Florida has a record number of searches for superintendents to replace superintendents that have been terminated, and if I was a superintendent from out of state, I really do not know why I would even consider coming to Florida at this point because you could move your entire family, and you could get settled, and you could find yourself terminated because you’re trying to do your job,” Simon said.
So who would be willing to take the pressures of working in education in Florida right now when everything is so polarized and there’s so much pressure coming from Tallahassee?
“Well I think that is something to consider,” Zeman said. “It’s going to take a candidate with courage who wants to come here and do what’s best for the kids. I actually think this is a great job, if there’s somebody out there with a good set of superintendent or executive experience that would like a great job, who can make a lot of difference for so many kids. I think being superintendent here is a great job and I’m gonna make that my assumption going into my decision tomorrow.”
The head of the Florida School Board Association, Andrea Messina, said this is a challenging market. Six Florida school districts are currently searching for superintendents, but if Cartwright is fired, Messina said Broward will find applicants.
“But I also know there are some people who aren’t sure right now about getting into a superintendency at all, in any district, Florida or otherwise,” Messina said.
Is that because of politics?
“You know, I think a lot of it has to do, and I wouldn’t just say politics, I would just say the education environment right now, there’s just a lot of change,” Messina responded.
Cartwright is ready to defend herself. She sent the school board members a report outlining what she’s done in the past 90 days as well as what she’s planning long-term to reach the board’s goals. Whether she’s swayed the board members or not will be evident at Tuesday’s meeting.
Broward School Board Decides Superintendent’s Future Tuesday – NBC 6 South Florida
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