BY ARIELLE KRAUS
With the recent announcement of Principal Wendy Doll’s retirement, the question of ‘what comes next?’ has come into the minds of students, faculty and parents in the CCHS community. The process of finding and becoming a new principal is not a simple one, but something CCHS will have to endure in the coming months. Doll announced her retirement to the CCHS staff at their faculty meeting on Thursday, March 5.
There are a series of steps that will be taken in order to hire a new school principal. The Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Office of School Performance and Accountability (OSPA) is heavily involved in this process, as this branch of BCPS is dedicated to leadership, staff and students within the district.
The first step involves the OSPA creating a leadership profile specific to CCHS. This profile will be used to advertise the principal position. Following this, a meeting is held with employees of the school. This meeting is not open to the public and its purpose is to prepare school staff for the upcoming process, as well as obtain their input in creating a profile.
After this meeting, the OSPA will host a “Community Conversation” where the public and members of the community can comment on what they are looking for in a principal–which will be added to the profile.
Once these discussions and meetings have concluded, the OSPA will then advertise the position to applicants both within the school and outside of the school for about five days.
“I began by applying for the position in a program called Applitrack. That is the district’s way of employees applying for a position.”Hollywood Hills Elementary School Principal John Fossas
An individual cannot apply to become a principal if they do not meet certain requirements. These requirements include having a master’s degree, working for a minimum of five years in a public school with three of those years as an assistant principal, principal or district administrator and having a Florida Department of Education Educator Certificate that indicates Educational Leadership. Additionally, applicants must have completed a leadership training, such as the Principal Preparation Program, in order to be eligible to apply.
If applicants meet these requirements, the OSPA will then select candidates based on an interview process and the profile put together by the faculty, community and OSPA themselves.
“I began by applying for the position in a program called Applitrack. That is the district’s way of employees applying for a position,” Hollywood Hills Elementary School Principal John Fossas said. “After that, I was invited in for an interview where I had to present on why I thought I would be the best candidate. From that point, two candidates were selected to come to the school to be interviewed by the Area Director along with a panel of faculty, staff and parents.”
Once candidates are selected, a Stakeholder Panel is held with them. The panel must include 15 members who represent a diverse variety of community members such as individuals from the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), School Advisory Council (SAC), school instructional and non-instructional staff and students. School Board Members are prohibited from attending this panel.
“I was part of the Stakeholder Panel at my previous school…Our input was considered during the hiring process.”Early childhood education instructor Deborah Covard
“I was part of the Stakeholder Panel at my previous school. We were able to listen to the candidates and ask questions,” early childhood education instructor Deborah Covard said. “Through this process, we were able to gauge which principal we felt was the best fit for our school. Our input was considered during the hiring process.”
The final step in this process is the recommendation made by the superintendent of the district, Robert Runcie. After his recommendation, a principal will be selected. Under extraordinary circumstances, the superintendent is allowed to appoint a candidate without going through the entire process listed above.
The process of finding a new principal is not new to CCHS, as the school endured this process when Doll was becoming principal herself and replacing former principal James Vanover. Math teacher Darryl Schultz worked at CCHS during that time and remembers the process as very similar to the upcoming one.
“If I recall right, when Mr. Vanover was principal, they had some community forums in the auditorium where I believe the community got to speak with the prospective principals,” Schultz said. “I’m not sure how the final decision is made, [but] I believe that’s done at the county level.”
The process of finding a new principal will be a lengthy series of steps, but in the end, an individual will be selected to run CCHS. The dates for forums and meetings have yet to be announced, but should be occurring in the upcoming months.
Photo by The Lariat Photography