Search for Collier County superintendent down to 4 candidates

Daily News Stories,

On Wednesday morning, the Collier County School Board begins the first round of interviews for the final four candidates to be the next Collier County superintendent.

The finalists are career educators from Galveston, Texas, Duval and Clay counties and Interim Superintendent Leslie Ricciardelli.

Ricciardelli took over as interim superintendent in December after former Superintendent Kamela Patton left the school system. The other three candidates are:

Dr. Jerry Gibson, the current superintendent of the Galveston Independent School District in Texas

Dr. Marianne Simon, the current elementary region superintendent for Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville

Charles Van Zant Jr., with 18 years of experience as a board member and a superintendent of the Clay County School District in Green Cove Springs

The candidates share one common stated goal: to make the Collier County School District the best it can be.

The district says it is looking for an experienced educational leader, a systems thinker who puts the needs of the students at the center of every decision, a trust-builder and trust-gainer who is present and works with students, parents, teachers and staff, and someone with previous educational accomplishments. The school board developed a survey so students, parents and staff could tell the board what they wanted to see in the next leader. They used that survey as a guide when selecting the final four.

The first round of interviews begins at 8 a.m. and will continue throughout the day. You can watch the interviews on the board’s education channel.

Once the board has further narrowed down the candidates, the second round of interviews will be held on April 26.

The new superintendent will be appointed at a board meeting on May 9.