Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Fla. Hispanic Group Wants Say in Superintendent Search

A non-profit Hispanic education group in Palm Beach County, Fla. has asked the local school district for a say in its superintendent search.
Source: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

A non-profit Hispanic group in Palm Beach County, Fla. has asked the school district for a role in helping select the next superintendent — a person they say should have a proven track record of improving graduation rates among minority students. 

WPTV of West Palm Beach reported Thursday that the chair of the local Hispanic Education Coalition wrote a letter to school board members, asking that a minimum of two HEC members be named to the search advisory committee. 

“We have a very strong Hispanic and minority representation in the student body and we can’t afford to have a large number of our students not graduate from high school,” HEC Chairman Joaquín García told the news station. “Our goal is for the 11th largest school district in the country to have the best graduation rates for all of its students.”

In the 2012-13 school year, 25 percent of Hispanics who attended Palm Beach County public schools did not graduate from high school, according to information from the Florida Department of Education. The same was true for nearly 14 percent of whites and 36.2 percent of black students. 

While these graduation rates are on par with school districts of similar size across the country, the article states, HEC believes the Palm Beach school district can — and must — see improvement. 

The HEC is made up of local educators, community leaders and entrepreneurs with a common goal of improving the quality of education in Palm Beach County and graduation rates — especially of the minority students who lag behind non-Hispanic white students. 

Garcia said the group plans to be “vigilant” throughout the search process and hopes the district — which is 38 percent Hispanic — will conduct a nationwide search to find the best person for the job. 

In his letter, Garcia outlines characteristics of the ideal candidate — among them, a requirement that he or she be fluent in a second language representative of the district’s demographics and have a history of improving opportunities for professional growth among minority employees.