The list of superintendent candidates thinned once again during the St. Johns County School Board workshop Tuesday with seven out of nine applicants advancing into the semifinalist stage.
But the list wasn’t without debate. Several board members preferred as few as three candidates and spent an extensive amount of time discussing whether less popular selections should make the cut.
“I, for one, have already made my mind up,” said school board member Bill Mignon.
Mignon voted to advance internal candidates Tim Forson and Brennan Asplen as well as national candidate Elizabeth Alves.
Bev Slough made the same selections and said she felt many of the other candidates lacked experience.
School board chair Patrick Canan also favored Forsen and Alves, but did not vote for Asplen.
“At some point I’m going to have to choose between the two,” Canan reasoned.
Although all board members expressed respect for both district applicants, Forson’s name was the one that triumphed.
“We need someone to pick up where Dr. Joyner left off,” Mignon said. “Tim Forson has worked with Dr. Joyner very closely for several years.”
Both Forson and Alves received five votes from board members, while Asplen received four, Key West candidate Mark Porter received two and remaining names received one.
Board members Kelly Barrera and Tommy Allen made seven selections and encouraged the others to “keep an open mind.”
“When it comes to interviewing anyone, it comes down to their judgment. Their knowledge is important, their experience is important,” Barrera said. “But when you’re in a leadership position, it comes down to judgment. So for me, that’s why I want to do all the candidates.”
Collectively, the board agreed to send all seven candidates the six-question semifinalist survey which is due Sept. 2. The board will review the surveys and choose finalists for the interview phase at the Sept. 6 board workshop.
The school district is offering, at minimum, a three-year contract with a salary range of $165,000 to $195,000 plus benefits. Interviews will take place the first week in October and the finalist will be selected Oct. 11.