Beaufort County Schools superintendent finalists named

Beaufort County Schools superintendent finalists named

BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC (WTOC) - The Beaufort County Board of Education selected two finalists in its search for the district’s next superintendent.

The two finalists are Terry Dade, a regional assistant superintendent in the 187,000-student Fairfax County Public Schools, and Frank Rodriguez, a regional superintendent in the 193,000-student School District of Palm Beach County.

Beaufort County Board of Education Chairwoman Christina Gwozdz says her biggest priority is pretty simple when hiring their newest superintendent.

“Number one is integrity,” she said.

The superintendent is the sole employer of the Beaufort County Board of Education. This search comes with Jeff Moss resigning last summer after a controversial five-year tenure with the district. The new superintendent will take over in July, replacing interim Herb Berg.

“We need an experienced and well-qualified candidate. Since this is a big district with a lot of diversity, we need someone who has had that experience already.”

Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), the Illinois-based firm the school board hired to coordinate the superintendent search, screened the top 48 applicants based on the Leadership Profile created through feedback by more than 1,000 county residents and approved by the board. HYA then presented the top nine to board members, who invited seven for in-person interviews on March 30. The board conducted follow-up interviews on Saturday and selected Dade and Rodriguez as finalists.

In Dade’s application, he says the rich diversity in the Beaufort County School District is why he applied for the role. He believes he is a good match for moving a diverse school system forward to achieve their goals.

In Rodriguez’s application, he also highlights diversity as a reason for his interest in this role, saying he’s most passionate about making sure all of the students he serves receive a great education.

The district says independent, third-party investigators will conduct in-depth background checks on both finalists. That review will include academic credentials, personal credit reports, criminal and civil histories, and a news media and social media review.

The community has an opportunity to meet Dade and Rodriguez at a public forum on Saturday, April 13 at 10 a.m. The forum is at the district’s main office at 2900 Mink Point Blvd. in Beaufort, and those who attend can submit feedback to the district.

In separate sessions at the forum, the finalists will introduce themselves and answer an identical set of questions submitted by the public. Anyone wishing to submit a question should email askthecandidatesbcsd@gmail.com by 10 a.m. Friday, April 12. HYA will categorize, vet and finalize the questions.

The board hopes to announce its selection on April 16 and have the new superintendent begin work by July 1. This person will replace Interim Superintendent Herb Berg, who has led the district during the search process and took over after Jeff Moss resigned in July 2018.

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