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HCPS publishes minutes of School Board meetings after Board approval. Although the online minutes do not include signatures, citizens may arrange to review the official documents by completing a public records request with the Communications Department.

901 E. Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa
Thursday, June 20, 2019

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in Workshop Session Thursday, June 20, 2019, at 10 a.m., ROSSAC in the School Board Auditorium, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent Jeff Eakins, and Board Members Steve Cona, Lynn L. Gray, Stacy Hahn, Karen Perez, Tamara P. Shamburger, Melissa Snively, and Cindy Stuart present.  Chair Tamara Shamburger presided.

Others present:

Board Attorney – James Porter

District Attorney – Jeff Gibson

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:

      Business Services – Gretchen Saunders

      Human Resources – Marie Whelan

Media Outreach, Department Manager – Tanya Arja

Sr. Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Kandee King

Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol

Camera Crew - Channel 10

Approximately 15 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Chair Shamburger called the meeting to order at 10 a.m.

Workshop Topic

(01) Process and Timeline for Superintendent Search (Human Resources Division)

This workshop was held to provide the Board an opportunity to discuss options for the selection process and timeline for a new Superintendent.

Chair Shamburger spoke to the Board regarding the purpose and format of today’s workshop. 

  • No votes will be taken today. 
  • Hopeful the Board will reach a consensus on fundamental issues that will result in agenda action items for a July Board meeting. 
  • This workshop is the first step in what will be a long and transparent process.

Jim Porter, School Board Attorney, discussed the search options available to the Board, which include promote from within the current organization; nationwide search; State of Florida search; or local search.

Marie Whelan, Chief Human Resources Officer, discussed phases of the contract and the timeline for a typical candidate search, is approximately three months.

Gretchen Saunders, Chief Business Officer, discussed the options for hiring a search firm at a cost of between $45,000.00 and $95,000.00.  The difference between a piggyback and an RFP (Request for Proposal).

  • Piggyback approximately 30-45 days  
  • RFP approximately 45 to 100 days


  • Nationwide search will allow us to get the best qualified applicants, including those from within.
  • Search firm is expensive however, it will cost us more if we don’t get the right person.
  • Responsibility of the district to bring forth hiring search firms, not the School Board.
  • Florida is unique with its laws around Sunshine Act.
  • Potential candidates need to feel comfortable inquiring about the position.
  • Salary and benefits need to be negotiable.
  • Board will work with hiring firm on qualifications and job description.
  • Look at what other districts are doing.
  • Would like to see firms hired to manage expectations and search.

Chair Shamburger asked each Board Member to address issues, challenges, and three key issues facing the next Superintendent.

  • Bring multiple piggy-back examples to the Board
  • Holidays are in the middle of this timeline
  • Other districts have already started their search
  • Deep knowledge of diverse areas
  • Mental Health awareness
  • Instructional programs background
  • Educational certification
  • Communicate with employees and business partners
  • Turnaround under performing schools
  • Charter schools and funding
  • Discipline and social emotional learning
  • Strong leader with experience
  • Mixture of education and business experience
  • Articulate specific ideas
  • Strong personality and good listener
  • Integrity and moral purpose
  • Hire and retain highly qualified and experienced employees
  • Effectively assess achievement school success
  • Continue the servant leadership recently created
  • Meet the needs of the Board
  • Understand the political nature of the Board
  • Legislative issues are very important

Superintendent Eakins thanked the Board for allowing him to be a part of this process and hope that his input will be helpful in finding a successor and shared the following comments.  It would be helpful for his successor to:

  • Be in place between January and March 2020.
  • Planning for the 2020/2021 school year begins in January. 
    • This person would be able to see our way of work from the beginning of the process.
  • Being a county superintendent it would be helpful for this person to:
    • Understand this community very well, as it is very diverse.
  • Envision this person in front of every audience, delivering a trusted message from you, the School Board
  • Clear understanding of the Board’s goals
  • Have relational capital
  • Responsiveness with 24/7 communication
  • Pace is very rapid
  • Balance testing is very important

With no further discussion the workshop adjourned at 11:12 a.m. (Audio recording on file.)

HCPS publishes minutes of School Board meetings after Board approval. Although the online minutes do not include signatures, citizens may arrange to review the official documents by completing a public records request with the Communications Department.

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