Manatee County School Board approves six finalists for superintendent

eearl@bradenton.comFebruary 1, 2013 

MANATEE -- The Manatee County School Board on Thursday added a sixth candidate to the list of finalists to be the next superintendent.

Dave "Watchdog" Miner made the motion to add John Carvelli of Port St. Lucie to the list. The motion was approved in a 3-2 vote. Carvelli, a veteran school administrator, served as a member of the Port St. Lucie School Board and is currently the principal of an elementary school in Palm

Beach County.

The board approved the other five finalists in a vote of 5-0. They are, as previously reported by the Herald:

n Rick Mills, the Minneapolis Public School District chief executive officer;

n Kathryn LeRoy, the Duval County Public Schools director;

n Dr. Diana Greene, the former superintendent for the Marion County School District;

n Dr. Constance Jones, the chief academic officer at the School District of Lee County; and

n Pamela Stewart, the K-12 chancellor of public schools for the Florida Department of Education.

All five were endorsed with a citizens advisory group that reviewed the applications.

"If Carvelli is included in the list, he could bring great things from Palm Beach to make Manatee a competitive county," said Miner, who was impressed from the start by Carvelli's application. Miner also said that he sees Carvelli as a candidate with sound experience.

Carvelli has lived in Florida 40 years. He attended public schools in Port St. Lucie and served four terms on the Port St. Lucie School Board, running for the first time in 1994.

Carvelli said he is fortunate to have served in a variety of districts, and he is excited about the possibility of bringing his experience to Manatee County.

"Manatee County has tremendous potential; this is a great opportunity," Carvelli said Thursday. "My driving force is to see children succeed and to provide the resources for them to be successful."

According to Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Board Association who is assisting in the superintendent search, Carvelli was originally disqualified over concern that he was overly involved politically.

Voting to add Carvelli to the list were board Chair Karen Carpenter, board member Bob Gause and Miner. Voting against were board members Barbara Harvey and Julie Aranibar.

The board also decided in a 4-1 vote that the individual interviews Feb. 11-12 would be open to the public and be recorded. "We need to be as open and transparent as possible," Carpenter said.

Gause, who cast the lone dissenting vote, expressed concern about recording the individual interviews, saying it might make the candidates less candid in their responses.

"Candidates might be a little more inhibited with the cameras rolling, but the community needs to see the candidate's reactions," Miner said.

The addition of a sixth candidate will change the interview schedule, but only slightly.

"I think we will be able to accommodate the interviews just fine," said Carpenter. However, she does not know if an extra interview will shorten the 90-minute intervals that are currently planned.

The district is hoping to reach a final decision for the superintendent by late February with the new superintendent in position no later than April 1.

The recordings of the candidate interviews will be available on under the "superintendent search" tab. Those in attendance may also bring their own recording devices.

The school board has been searching for a new superintendent since Tim McGonegal resigned in September. David Gayler is currently serving as the interim superintendent.

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