The search is on for Polk County Public Schools’ next superintendent! Working with the Florida School Boards Association, teachers, staff, community members, and a team of student super(intendent) sleuths, we are seeking a superintendent who will unite our employees, rally the support of our stakeholders, forge a brighter future for our district, and always put Students First. Check this page regularly for updates on the search process and ways you can be involved in selecting our school district’s next leader.
MEET THE STUDENT SUPER(INTENDENT) SLEUTHS!
At Polk County Public Schools, when we say we put Students First, we mean we put them at the center of everything — even the search for our next superintendent. To help us find our next leader, we’ve recruited a team of student super(intendent) sleuths. Like all of our students, each of our sleuths has unique abilities, backgrounds, challenges and ambitions. Combined, they form an unstoppable search force. Meet the sleuths, and find out what they’re looking for in our next superintendent of schools.
Brynne Smith is a fifth-grader at Carlton Palmore Elementary, who is accustomed to being in the spotlight. Not only has she played Polk County Public Schools’ Junior Superintendent in previous productions, she’s also a dancer, singer, and aspiring actress who dreams of seeing her name in lights one day. As Junior Superintendent, Brynne has had the chance to interact with district leaders; she also has two siblings who have special needs, all of which gives her a unique perspective on what PCPS needs in its next superintendent: “We need someone who is bossy, will make recess longer, will make homework easier, and will help my brother and sister.”
Alyson Bences, aka Agent Alyson, is a junior at Ridge Community High. She is a student government representative, serves as editor-in-chief of the yearbook, and is studying in the district’s ELITE (Establishing Leaders in Teacher Education) program. This year, she’s taking her academic classes through PCPS’ newly created Campus eSchool, which allows students to remain enrolled at their brick-and-mortar schools but take part in virtual learning. While she is inspired by famous on-screen secret agents such as Maria Hill (The Avengers), when it comes to sharing what she’s looking for in the next superintendent, Alyson isn’t keeping anything quiet: “I want a superintendent who likes to talk to and get to know the students.”
Alessandro Mejia, aka Alessandro Spade, is a sophomore at Harrison School for the Arts who plans to study musical theatre and become a professional performer. Like his film noir inspiration — Sam Spade played by Humphrey Bogart in “The Maltese Falcon” — Alessandro is a hard-nosed investigator. He has questions — lots of them — and he won’t stop until he gets answers. How will PCPS’ next superintendent help students uncover their passion for the arts? How will he or she help promote and protect arts education? The arts, we all know, are the stuff that dreams are made of. Alessandro Spade won’t rest until he finds an art-loving superintendent for Polk County Public Schools.
Trenton Thomas, aka Trenton Holmes, is a seventh-grader at Davenport School of the Arts who enjoys reading, learning new things and acting in plays. One day, he hopes to trade in his tweed frock coat and magnifying glass for the cooler attire of a cinematographer or music producer. Until then, he’s searching for clues that will lead him to the ideal superintendent candidate. As he puts it, “We need someone who can see that people come from different backgrounds and learn in different ways. We need a team player, who can keep us all safe.” That’s not elementary, Trenton; that’s eloquent!
Tyler Mercier, aka Tyler, P.I., deferred his diploma from Doris A. Sanders Learning Center to study in Polk County Public Schools’ Transition program. Through a specialized curriculum, Tyler — who has autism and experiences seizures — is developing life and job skills that will help him long after he leaves the district. Inspired by Tom Selleck’s Magnum, P.I., Tyler is a tenacious investigator. PCPS’ next superintendent must be a passionate advocate for students with special needs, and Tyler won’t stop until the case leads him to the ideal candidate. Does he get to wear Hawaiian shirts for the duration of the search? Yes. Does he get to drive a Ferrari? Sadly, no, but he can ride on all the school buses he likes.
STAY CURRENT WITH THE LATEST NEWS
SUPER SEARCH TIMELINE
Polk County Public Schools and the Florida School Boards Association aim to have a new superintendent of schools in place by July 1, 2021. The process until then includes surveys, community forums and interviews with candidates. Take a look at the search timeline below.
Sara Beth Reynolds
Instructional and educational support staff forum — Winter Haven High School cafeteria, 6 p.m., with welcome by School Board member Lisa Miller
Community forum — Haines City High School cafeteria, 2800 Hornet Drive, Haines City, 6 p.m., with welcome by School Board Chairman Lori Cunningham
Jim Miles Professional Development Center (6 p.m.)
Jim Miles Professional Development Center (6 p.m.)
(Candidates identified by the committee will be moved forward to the board for their consideration following the conclusion of this meeting.)