Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt’s future with the Flagler County School District could be decided sooner than previously expected.
Mittelstadt’s three-year contract expires at the end of June. At the School Board’s March 7 workshop, four board members agreed to add the superintendent’s contract discussion to the April 4 agenda workshop with a vote to be scheduled for the April 18 business meeting.
The board could vote to renew her contract for another three years, extend her current contract or decide to search for a new superintendent. The board members could also decide they still need more information.
Board member Sally Hunt brought up the issue in old business. She wanted to add the contract review to the March 28 board meeting or to schedule a special meeting. But the other board members said that would be too soon.
Mittelstadt had told board members she would submit a self-evaluation to them by March 17 followed by one-on-one conversations with each board member.
“It's my understanding that in the month of March, we're going to get about as much information as we're going to be able to get before the expiration of the contract,” said Hunt, who also asked to expedite the matter at the Feb. 22 information workshop.
Hunt said, because non-renewal is one of the options, the board would need as much time as possible to resolve the matter before the 2023-24 school year.
“Mid-April, to me, feels very late to have the official vote,” she said.
Board member Colleen Conklin said scheduling the item for the April 4 workshop would give the board members adequate time to do their evaluations based on Mittelstadt’s self-evaluation and their individual meetings with the superintendent.
School Board attorney Kristy Gavin would then compile the evaluations for the April 4 discussion, Conklin said.
Board member Christy Chong said she would like the board to move on the issue, but she added, “I don’t want anybody to feel rushed.”
Board member Will Furry agreed that a discussion on April 4 and a vote on April 18 gives the board members enough time to go over the documentation and meet with the superintendent.
“We have to do our due diligence,” he said.
Board Chair Cheryl Massaro reiterated that the three newest board members — Hunt, Chong and Furry — do not have enough data or background yet to make an informed decision on the superintendent’s future.
Although you've been seated since November, you're still three brand new board members who've never done an evaluation of the superintendent. I did my first evaluation two years ago. It's not easy. — CHERYL MASSARO
“Like I said before … although you've been seated since November, you're still three brand new board members who've never done an evaluation of the superintendent,” Massaro said. “I did my first evaluation two years ago. It's not easy. There's a lot of pieces to the puzzle that need to be completed. I realize you claim you know everything, but I think there's a lot of things, and that's not necessarily true. We have to learn how to do this together, and we need to listen to each other.”
Conklin is the only School Board member to indicate how she will vote. At the Feb. 22 workshop she said she had no issues with Mittelstadt’s performance, and she hoped the superintendent would choose to remain in her position.
During public comments, three members of the public spoke in favor of retaining Mittelstadt. One of the speakers was a former teacher in St. Johns County where Mittelstadt had spent the majority of her career.