Boyd: Timing is right to step down from schools post


Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 5:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 5:40 p.m.

The Alachua County School Board will begin the process soon of searching for a new chief of schools, following Superintendent Dan Boyd's announcement Tuesday night that he will retire at the end of September.

"I didn't know, and I don't think anybody did," School Board Chairwoman Eileen Roy said Wednesday of the announcement.

But while Boyd's decision came as a surprise to the district, the veteran educator told The Sun on Wednesday the timing makes sense to him.

Boyd said he wanted to stay through September to finish out some business and make sure the school year got off to a smooth start.

"I wanted to get appointments done, I wanted to get the tentative budget approved, I wanted to have principals in schools, and if there were new principals to be assigned to different schools, I wanted to have all of that done and to be here for them," Boyd said.

The important thing parents expect of the district, he said, is to make sure the children are best served at every school.

"We get that done at the beginning of the school year," he said.

Alachua County Public Schools staff attorney Brian Moore said that by Sept. 30, the district will need either a new superintendent or an interim schools chief, which is the more likely option.

The board may elect to work through the Florida School Board Association or bring in an independent agency to help with the search, or simply advertise the position and see who applies, Moore said.

"I don't know if any of those discussions have been had yet, since it was a bit of surprise," he said.

Roy said she doesn't know what direction the board will take, but members will discuss a plan soon.

The superintendent's job has been a board-appointed position in Alachua County since 1972.

When the district last sought a chief, in early 2004, the School Board conducted a two-month statewide search that turned up only four candidates.

Boyd, with more than 30 years in Alachua County Public Schools under his belt at that point, was a favorite from the beginning.

His successor will have big shoes to fill, school officials say.

"He will be missed," Roy said. "He's been a real outspoken fighter for public education, and that's been tremendously important. We have to have somebody to do that."

Contact Erin Jester at 338-3166 or erin.jester@gainesville.com.

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