And then there were two. Friday’s abrupt withdrawal by Robert Schiller from consideration as Polk County school superintendent leaves two candidates to replace Gail McKinzie, who will retire near year’s end.
It also leaves in its wake a big divide between Polk Businesses for World Class Education – which pledged $50,000 to assure a nationwide search for a replacement – and the School Board. The board meets Tuesday to make a selection and to hear a plea from Polk Businesses’ Hunt Berryman, who said the entire process should begin anew.
“The whole thing is a sham and a shame,” Berryman said. He’s particularly upset at School Board member Frank O’Reilly, who asked Schiller if he’d ever applied for another superintendent’s position in Florida.
When Schiller said yes (15 years ago in Palm Beach County), O’Reilly asked a follow-up: “Never applied in Pinellas County?”
Schiller replied, “No, not that I can recall.” Caught by an Internet search (the information was on the St. Petersburg Times’ website), Schiller later told O’Reilly he should have asked the question “in private.”