Is a high school principal the right person to run the Lee County Schools?
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED May. 29, 2013
by Dave Culbreth
Fort Myers, Fla.
Naples High School Principal Nancy Graham was hired Tuesday to run the Lee County School District which is the 34th largest in the nation and has a budget of $1.328 billion dollars.
So, is putting that big an organization in the hands of a high school principal the norm? And will there really be a national search? "You know, anybody would love to come to this district and work," said School Board member Don Armstrong last week when he and board member Cathleen Morgan pushed for a national search.
Tuesday board members voted to do the search over the next few months.
They also voted to give Graham, the current principal at Naples High School, a one year contract.
Now, School Board Chairwoman Mary Fisher says she doesn't think a national search is necessary yet, "I, myself, at one vote would like to see us wait at least six months before we embark on a search". But is it the norm for a high school principal to be promoted to superintendent?
We investigated and discovered Lee County is the ninth largest district in Florida. Of the eight larger ones, six have hired new superintendents in the last two years. Of those six, every one of them hired someone with previous experience in school district administration.
Here are their backgrounds:
- Broward County hired the CEO of a corporation who was a previous Assistant Superintendent of schools in Chicago.
- Orange County promoted an Assistant Superintendent who also had the same role in Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Palm Beach County promoted its Chief Administrative Officer.
- Duval County hired the Chief Academic Officer of the Miami-Dade schools.
- Pinellas County hired the state of Florida's Chancellor of Education who was a former Superintendent in Osceola County.
When Lee County did do a national search two years ago Graham came in second. "She was the high scorer in that search and that search involved also the vetting by the community committee which involved community members, parents, staff members and students,” explained Graham. “Not that much has changed in two years."
Copyright, 2013 WFTX