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Shane Andrew named interim superintendent

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

At tonight’s Alachua County School Board meeting, the board voted 3-2 to appoint Shane Andrew as the interim superintendent.

Several board members indicated that they had hoped that Acting Superintendent Donna Jones would be willing to continue as the interim superintendent, but she asked that her name be withdrawn.

Member Leanetta McNealy said she preferred to bring back Dr. Owen Roberts, the former superintendent who resigned in 2016 after the Gainesville Sun ran a story about some passages in a book he had written that were lifted verbatim from other academic sources cited in the text.

Member Mildred Russell said she was disappointed that Jones had withdrawn her name. She suggested Kathy Black: “We need someone who is very calm and able to aid us… We need positive, good things for our students… I think Mrs. Black would be very good in helping us implement the things we want to do for our students, who must come first.”

Member Gunnar Paulson said, “Excellent and calming personalities – that’s A#1 what we need… [employees that I talk to] are happy right now and feel relieved, overwhelmingly… If anyone is similar to [Jones], it’s Kathy Black, and believe me, every place I go, people say the same thing, all the employees.”

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Member Tina Certain said she only submitted one name: “I come with a different perspective… Mr. Shane Andrew. I think Mr. Andrew would be a good person to transition us… Mr. Andrew is as calm, cool, as the other side of the pillow, as they say in my community, cool as a cucumber… What [our former superintendent Carlee Simon] didn’t have, Mr. Andrew brings that… Mr. Andrew has worked all over this district.“

Chair Rob Hyatt said he talked to five different candidates, and three weren’t interested at this time. “When I came up with my two folks, I felt really, really good… I felt a peace about this… When you look at Mr. Andrew, what a resume… [As for] Ms. Black, who knows more? Who cares more about our ESE children and families than Ms. Black?… I want to emphasize a word, ‘interim.’… Mr. Andrew is a class act, and Ms. Black is a class act… I can support either one.”

McNealy said that Black didn’t have any administrative experience: “You cannot possibly be going there… Mr. Andrew has all types of administration, but even more, specifically, look at the long names of different schools in our district… ESE has nothing to do with principalship at the different levels that Mr. Andrew has.”

Certain made a motion to make Shane Andrew the interim superintendent, and the motion was seconded by McNealy.

Russell said she had a concern: “Mr. Andrew oversees three departments, which would then have to go through some sort of change and shift… we’re having serious transportation issues right now… that’s another transition that would have to be made… Is it a serious concern or is it something that we can handle smoothly?”

Certain said, “Mr. Andrew can build his team.”

Paulson said, “I’ve known Mr. Andrew since he was a kid. I have nothing against Mr. Andrew… Kathy Black… has been a troubleshooter… Every place I go, people [say they would be] happy if Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Black [were the interim superintendent]… 80-90% of employees [I talked to wanted] Kathy Black.”

Certain responded, “The majority of people that I talked to… agree [with] the transition to Mr. Andrew… I don’t think that Mrs. Black would be the unifying agent of this organization or this board. I disagree with that.”

The vote to appoint Andrew was 3-2, with Russell and Paulson in dissent.

Following the vote, Russell told Andrew that although the vote wasn’t unanimous as Hyatt had hoped, she was looking forward to working with him. McNealy, who attended by Zoom and was having trouble hearing, thought Russell meant that the board didn’t want to appoint Andrew. Hyatt then said he would entertain a motion to make the vote unanimous, but nobody made the motion.

  • Why is Chair Rob Hyatt still wearing the mask? Stop
    With the political theatre. Do you really think that
    Ridiculous mask does anything at all? Is it a political
    Statement, are you virtue signaling, is it your flag
    For social justice? It’s over. It’s disgusting…forcing
    Masks on children was child abuse…are you going
    To wear that mask forever? It’s creepy. Stop with
    The fear mongering already…

    • I do not understand why people lose their minds when someone wants to wear a mask. Isn’t it the same principle that people that did not wear a mask said that it was your right and choice to not wear a mask. If he wants to wear a mask, whom is it hurting? I believe that it is anyone’s right to decide whether to wear a mask, not somebody that has a political agenda. Does that sound like what the non-mask mandate argument was all about?
      For myself, I only wear a mask if I am in tight spaces with people. I am an asthmatic and the first place anything I catch goes directly to my lungs. Self preservation and peace of mind are why I choose to wear one. And no matter how hard someone tries to force me, I am not changing, just like the non-wearers not wanting to be forced to wear one.

    • Unless you know someone’s reasons for wearing the mask, you shouldn’t make such comments. There are those that have health issues and may be at more risk than others of catching this virus. How is his wearing a mask affecting you?

      • How is not wearing one affecting you? I’m guessing you’re vaccinated and you choose to wear a mask. Good for you, your choice but you already have the answer.

        Remember, vaccines work, masks work… that’s what we’ve been told anyway.

    • Mostly it just looks silly on him. That little mask on that hairy face. Looks like it doesn’t fit

  • It’s telling that the side effects of other depts. losing leadership while appointing their admin to a higher post, was a consideration by two votes. That’s a sign of higher human intelligence, to plan ahead like a chess game.

  • McNealy…quite the liberal hypocrite. Ms. Black has never been a principal? Once again she defines hypocrisy for the progressive liberal agenda. The former superintendent had ZERO, ZILCH, NADA prior experience or employment as a principal. Once again McNealy has shown her own prejudice without regard to putting the needs of the children in our community first. No wonder she was removed as a principal during her employ with the district and it’s no wonder she harbors such resentment towards the populace of much of Alachua County residents.

    Nice mention of McNealy having a difficult time hearing…she is deaf when it comes to the needs of the school district she claims to represent and she is tremendously gifted at fooling people. The knucklehead who suggested McNealy as superintendent has obviously been duped into believing the false qualifications and commitment McNealy has for the children in the district.

    Ms. Black has the knowledge and has been in the district for years. If that is what they, (SBAC), held against her, maybe Dr. McNealy should be kicked to the curb as well and disqualified from serving as a representative of the SBAC. Practice what you preach.

    Mr. Andrews will make a fine superintendent but the manner in which they came to their decision show the true “colors” of those on the chalkboard.

  • If he’s got the endorsement of McNealy and Certain, he’s trash. It’s funny to hear Certain diss Carlee in her endorsement of Andrew. Nobody there has any integrity.

    • Paulson claims 80-90% of the teachers and staff wanted Black, which is more than likely not the truth unless he only asked a few of his associates. He’s not very likable, and it’s a good thing he’s retiring.

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