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Collier Schools hosts first of community meetings in search for next superintendent

Posted at 10:18 PM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-13 05:28:32-05

COLLIER CO., Fla. — The search continues for a new superintendent of Collier County Public Schools.

It’s been about a month since the school board voted out Dr. Kamela Patton, who was expected to retire at the end of the school year.

Tonight the district hosting community meetings to hear from you to see what’s desired in their next superintendent. Meetings where, for the first time, we’re hearing from parents.

Both of these meetings seemed a little lackluster in audience as there were only a handful in attendance. But this marked only the first in a series of ongoing meetings.

“We need someone with experience, navigating all of these and- understanding that at the same time- how to build a team that keeps the ship steady even if there’s a storm,” said one parent in attendance.

Looking for a natural leader as the next superintendent of Collier Schools. That seemed to be the common theme from parents at both meetings.

Of those parents, they also said they’d like to see transparency in the hiring process and consistency throughout the district. Meaning hiring a superintendent who understands all of Collier County.

This after Dr. Kamela Patton — who was Florida’s Superintendent of the Year last year — was forced out of her role retiring earlier after a new more conservative board was voted in November.

As part of the search, an online survey was also sent out to parents to voice their opinions that way too.

The district bringing in a special firm to help in the search, saying there have already been 2,300 survey responses just in the last three days. The firm is hoping to have 30 candidates for the position but they’re not so much worried about the amount of candidates as they are about the quality.

“Our job, ultimately, is not the total number but making sure we have qualified candidates for the board," said Dr. Bill Adams, Vice President of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. "And if we do our job right, we’re going to make their job tough to pick from a strong slate of candidates.”

The hope is to have a candidate selected by the end of April or May 1 and to have the new superintendent start July 1.

There will be more community meetings coming up, with the next taking place January 18 at Naples High School. There will also be virtual meetings, which you can learn more about online right here.