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School board interviews superintendent finalist Dr. Dunsmore

The school board began the final round of interviews for Duval County Public School’s (DCPS) next superintendent this morning, starting with Dr. Michael Dunsmore. Each board member, with the exception of Scott Shine who was absent, took turns asking Dr. Dunsmore questions about his experience as superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools (WCPS) and how he would best serve Duval’s students.

Dr. Dunsmore spoke about his experience with Special Education services and his plan to work with DCPS staff to properly care for these programs and students. He gave an overview of WCPS, discussing the ways he thought it was similar to DCPS in that both counties have a mix of agriculture, urban and coastal areas. During Dr. Dunsmore’s time as superintendent, he has focused on growing WCPS’ career technical program in schools and expanding access for students, upgrading facilities, partnering with community organizations and businesses to develop workforce opportunities for students and recruiting good teachers and principals. He believes teachers want to feel appreciated and supported by the community and that changing the public’s perception of teachers should be a priority. When considering personnel decisions, Dr. Dunsmore discussed his commitment to impact, stating that “next in line” isn’t a good enough reason to hire or promote someone.

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When asked what skills he would need to transition from a 19,600 student district to a district of nearly 130,000 students, Dr. Dunsmore said he would surround himself with good people and be comfortable delegating to his leadership team. The strengths that he sees in DCPS excite him and he is challenged to keep the focus on its mission, goals and strategic plan. He believes a good working relationship with the school board is key to his success and a priority in determining the district’s biggest needs.

What's Next

Tomorrow, the board will interview Dr. Diana Greene, Superintendent of Manatee County Schools, at 9 a.m. in the Cline Auditorium of DCPS, 1701 Prudential Drive. Dr. Erick Pruitt, Area Superintendent of Houston Independent School District, will follow on Friday at the same time and place.

On Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., the board will hold a meeting to choose its preferred candidate for superintendent. As the leader of our public education system, Duval’s next superintendent will play a critical role in continuing DCPS’ success while working relentlessly to improve outcomes for all our students so they receive an excellent education. These meetings are open to the public and we encourage you to attend. Can’t make it? Watch the interviews and board vote live on the DCPS website.

Our Commitment to You

At JPEF, we believe deeply that the public has to be part of important school district decisions like selecting a new superintendent. As the search progresses, we will continue to provide updates by e-mail, Twitter (@JaxPEF) and Facebook (www.Facebook.com/JaxPEF).

If you have any questions about the process, or other thoughts, please share them with us by replying to this message.