Polk County School Board Reviewing List of Recommended Candidates for PCPS’ Next Leader

POLK COUNTY, Fla. – With more than 50 applications to replace Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd, who is retiring in June, the search for the next top leader of Polk County Public Schools is heating up.

After reviewing nearly 1,000 pages of applications, members of the Citizens Screening Committee settled on their top seven recommendations.

School Board Chairman Lori Cunningham thanked the screening committee’s 36 volunteers for working diligently to help narrow down the applicant pool.

“I know that it took time away from your families, away from your jobs to do this for us,” Cunningham said. “It means the world to me personally, so I just wanted to thank each person of the Citizens Screening Committee for your gracious gift of time and talent to help our (School) Board.”

The School Board voted on Tuesday evening to accept these recommendations from the Citizens Screening Committee.

The top seven candidates are:

  • Dr. Harold R. Border
  • Dr. Jennifer Cupid-McCoy
  • Dr. James P. McIntyre, Jr.
  • Michael J. Ramirez
  • Frederick R. Heid
  • Dr. T. Nakia Towns
  • Dr. Antoine L. Hickman

Cunningham has also expressed gratitude to the Florida School Boards Association, which has been contracted to help conduct the search for the next PCPS superintendent.

School board members will now begin considering who should make the cut as semifinalists.

The school board is not restricted to the seven applicants recommended by the screening committee. School board members can remove or add any of the applicants who applied for the position.

“Ultimately, it will be our decision as a seven-member (school) board who we want to advance to the next step in the search process,” Cunningham said.

The school board will discuss who should become semifinalists during their work session and meeting on March 9. The semifinalists will then be further whittled down to finalists, who will go through face-to-face interviews in April.

School board members are still exploring various in-person and virtual options for the public to meet with finalists.


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