The search for a new superintendent is slated to begin next month in preparation for when the current school district CEO leaves office at the end of the 2012-13 academic year.
School Board Chairwoman Cynthia Moore acknowledged that she and the remaining four board members need to get started on selecting a new superintendent as soon as possible, and a workshop on the matter is slated for sometime in October.
She said during that meeting, the timeline for the selection and how the search should be conducted will be the primary discussion.
She added that while she doesn't know when a new superintendent might be hired, she believes one should be brought in to work under current Superintendent Bryan Blavatt before he leaves at the end of the year.
Blavatt said he is not part of the search process, but would be willing to stick around longer than his current contract calls for should the search take longer than expected.
"I think it's a good idea for me to stay out of it. It's the board's function to choose its superintendent," Blavatt said. "I've been a stickler before about what jobs the board and superintendent have. This is clearly not one of mine — unless the board wants me to be involved, then I'd love to do it. But otherwise, I'm staying out of it."
Blavatt announced in December that this school year would be his last, saying he would like to retire and allow someone new to take over the district leadership.
School Board member James Yant, who opted not to run for re-election, said he is advocating that the board wait until his replacement is elected in November before starting talks to hire Blavatt's replacement.
He also believes the person selected should be a local applicant — such as newly hired Assistant Superintendent Ken Pritz or Assistant Superintendent Sonja Jackson, both of whom applied for the superintendent post in 2009.
During that time, Yant supported hiring Pritz for the role over Blavatt. His second choice was Jackson.
"I think it should be someone with ties to the community," Yant said. "They understand the people, the demographics and what is going on here in Hernando County. It's very difficult coming in from the outside and understanding all that."
That opinion is shared by one of Yant's potential replacements — school board candidate and Sparton Electronics manager Robert Neuhausen. His opponent in the election, local business owner Gus Guadagnino, has said he believes the next district leader should be chosen based on his or her qualifications and that location doesn't matter.
Whoever wins the race in the Nov. 6 general election will move on to help select the next superintendent from the pool of applicants.