Frank Rodriguez a 26-year veteran school administrator from Florida, was selected Tuesday, April 16, by the Beaufort County Board of Education to be the district’s next superintendent, pending the negotiation of a contract.
Rodriguez, a regional superintendent in the 193,000-student School District of Palm Beach County (Fla)., was selected over Terry Dade, a regional assistant superintendent in the 187,000-student Fairfax (Va.) County Public Schools.
“I’m incredibly humbled and honored by the board’s decision,” Rodriguez said in a release. “I look forward to working closely with each board member and the communities they represent. I’m equally eager to work with our students, teachers and staff to improve outcomes and build trust within Beaufort County.”
Board chair Christina Gwozdz said the selection was a difficult decision because both finalists were such accomplished educators.
“Our selection process was very thorough, and we’re confident that Dr. Rodriguez will be an outstanding superintendent,” Gwozdz said.
Rodriguez and Dade appeared at a public forum on Saturday, April 20, and answered questions posed by parents, students, district employees and community members.
Forum attendees, of which there were around 50, completed feedback sheets, and those results were reviewed by board members prior to the final vote.
Estee Williams, an educational technology coach for the Beaufort County School District, was impressed with both candidates at the forum.
“I thought they were both high quality candidates with experience and knowledge in areas that our district is looking to improve or continue our growth,” Williams said.
She downplayed the light attendance at the forum, also broadcast live by The County Channel.
“For teachers and parents, it was the first Saturday of spring break and announced just a little ahead of when it happened, so people may not have been able to make it in person, but as far as teachers, everyone was interested and very curious to see what the final decision would be,” Williams said. “Dr. Berg has been great, but also adamant that he was just temporary. All the teachers I know, myself included, are excited to get a permanent captain and get started on this new journey.”
The process began with 110 applications from around the country. The search firm Hazard Young Attea and Associates selected 48 applicants with professional experiences and personal characteristics that matched a leadership profile approved by the board. That 50-page report was compiled from feedback gathered from more than 1,000 county residents – 366 who attended a series of focus groups and town hall meetings in December and 697 who responded to an online survey.
HYA narrowed the 48 applications to nine it presented to the board, which decided to invite seven candidates to Beaufort for personal interviews on March 30. The board conducted follow-up interviews and selected Rodriguez and Dade as finalists.
The finalists underwent in-depth background reviews by independent third-party investigators. Those reviews included academic credentials, personal credit reports, criminal and civil histories, and a news media and social media review before the forum.
Rodriguez will replace interim Superintendent Herb Berg, who has led the district during the search process. His first official day on the job will be July 1.
THE RODRIGUEZ FILE
* Bachelor’s Degree, Social Studies Education, Florida State University
* Master of Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Florida Atlantic University
* Ph.D., Educational Leadership, Florida Atlantic University
* Began career in Boca Raton, Fla., as a high school social studies and technology teacher.
* Became a district social studies secondary curriculum supervisor for Palm Beach County School District.
* Was high school assistant principal, an elementary school principal and a high school principal.
* Served in a variety of district-level administrative roles in Palm Beach County.
* For the past three years, has been a regional superintendent in Palm Beach County, supervising 54 schools and 58,000 students.
* Led district’s regional efforts to pass two bond referendums in three years.
* Completed the National Superintendents Academy.
* Completed several K-12 institutes at Harvard University.
* Received 2016 Leadership Award, Hispanic Education Coalition of Palm Beach County.