Flagler County School Board suspends superintendent search to interview Moore for the position

The board could make an offer to the interim superintendent at a special meeting next month.

LaShakia Moore. File photo
LaShakia Moore. File photo
  • Palm Coast Observer
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Flagler County School Board members have been impressed with the performance of Interim Superintendent LaShakia Moore — so much so that they voted to suspend their search for a new superintendent while they decide whether to offer the position to Moore.

At its afternoon workshop on Tuesday, Aug. 15, the board agreed to discuss the position with Moore at a Sept. 5 workshop and potentially offering her the job during a special meeting that evening.

The board was scheduled to make a final vote on the superintendent’s job description at its Aug. 15 evening business meeting. Instead, the board members tabled the job description vote and then voted unanimously to suspend the search.

Moore, the district's former assistant superintendent for academic services, has served as interim superintendent since June 30, when former Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt's contract expired.

The board was scheduled to hear a report at the workshop from the Florida School Boards Association, which the board hired to aid in the search. But Board Chair Cheryl Massaro opened the conversation by asking the other board members if they would be willing to forego the search and name Moore as the superintendent.

We've seen her in various situations. … I think she would do a wonderful job.”

“I believe that our district is moving forward. She has a lot of support from the schools. We've seen her in various situations. … I think she would do a wonderful job,” Massaro said.

Sally Hunt said she would be willing to expedite the process of interviewing Moore if she is open to applying.

“If this board feels we can do collaborative work together, then I am absolutely interested,” Moore responded. "But if I’m not the candidate and it’s somebody else, I respect that decision as well.”

Will Furry and Christy Chong were both impressed with the great energy at each school as they accompanied Moore on a tour of all the campuses on the first day of school.

Colleen Conklin said what she witnessed at the employees’ school year kick-off, which Moore led, was an energy Conklin had not seen in this district in many years.

“The buy-in from our teachers to our custodial staff to our administrative staff, literally every department, was positive,” Conklin said. “I would support suspending this whole process, saving the money, the time and the energy, and I would very seriously consider a motion to make LaShakia the superintendent and move forward.”

Furry requested a meeting or retreat where the board could interview Moore more extensively before offering her the position.

FSBA consultants John Reichert and Dr. Bill Vogel said other districts have suspended their searches and hired their interim superintendents, who went on to have successful terms leading their districts. The consultants said an extra month has been built into the timeline so the board could suspend the search and resume it again and still have a new superintendent by the Jan. 1 target date.

Furry walked away from the workshop believing the board had a consensus that it would hire Moore if she passed the interview process. But during the evening meeting, Hunt said she saw it differently — that they were suspending the search, but not retreating from it.

“I’ll tell you my understanding of where we are right now,” Hunt said. “We are suspending the search of advertising this as an open position, and we are expediting Interim Superintendent Moore’s process of interviewing with the five of us. I see this as expediting the process with (Moore) versus getting our ducks in a row to make the offer.”

But Furry said he doesn’t see it as an expedited process.

So it's not like we're just trying to fast track something, but it's something that might be inevitable anyways and save a lot of time and resources.”

“I see it more as we’ve come to a consensus at the workshop, that if ultimately the board was in alignment to offer that position, why wait and go through all that process. And we’re going to review the resume of the interim superintendent and qualify her for the position before we go to our next meeting in September,” Furry said. “So it's not like we're just trying to fast track something, but it's something that might be inevitable anyways and save a lot of time and resources.”

Without agreeing to what’s next, the board voted unanimously to suspend the search process.

In tabling the job description vote, the board also agreed to Hunt’s request to discuss that further. She suggested considering someone with a background as an executive in an organization who doesn’t necessarily have experience in public education. On Aug. 1, the board agreed to Hunt’s proposal to change the job title to CEO-Superintendent of Schools.


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