Split SBAC taps interim superintendent

Shane Andrew will step into the interim superintendent position at Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) after the school board voted 3-2 on Monday night—two weeks after firing Superintendent Carlee Simon on another 3-2 vote.

Andrew, who has worked for the district for more than 30 years, currently serves as chief of operations and heads human resources, transportation and maintenance and construction.

He received the position from Simon last summer and previously led Eastside High School as principal.

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At Tuesday night’s meeting, School Board of Alachua County (SBAC) members arrived with nominations. While several members said acting Superintendent Donna Jones would have been an ideal fit for the interim position, she withdrew from the interim search at the start of the discussion, citing family reasons and her August retirement.

Jones has served the school district since 1983, and the board broke protocol to applaud her long tenure working at schools across the county.

With her withdrawal, two names emerged: Kathy Black, former executive director of student services, who retired in 2021, and Andrew.

“I think Mr. Andrew would be a good person to transition us,” SBAC member Tina Certain said at the meeting.

She cited his extensive experience within the district and also his calm character, a trait board member Gunnar Paulson also mentioned as paramount.

Certain emphasized the interim part of the position, saying Andrew could move the district along until the next board is elected in November.

“I don’t think it’s wise or prudent with four seats being up for this board. . .to make major decisions or to hire any leader that would go beyond that,” Certain said.

Board Chair Robert Hyatt echoed the thought.

“I really believe that the next board that is seated in November should be the board that chooses the next permanent superintendent,” Hyatt said.

He added that the district has two great options between Andrew and Black and said he would feel peace with either.

Board member Mildred Russell asked if Andrew would leave another large hole to fill because of the breadth of his responsibilities.

Certain replied that she had taken his position into consideration and that Andrew would be able to move personnel if needed. But each department currently under Andrew has its own director.

Paulson emphasized Black’s qualification, saying the “overwhelming” majority of the district would be in favor of her since Jones has declined.

Board member Leanetta McNealy voiced her support for Andrew, although she had nominated one other option beside Jones.

She said the interim position needed someone with principal experience—something Andrew possessed.

Certain motioned for Andrew to be appointed interim with McNealy seconding. Hyatt joined the two in favor, while Russell and Paulson dissented.

After the vote, Hyatt asked if anyone wanted to motion to make the vote unanimous. But no one spoke up.

Two weeks ago, Hyatt, Paulson and Russell voted to dismiss Simon over the objections of Certain and McNealy.

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