Weather Forecast


District 833's Porter a finalist for Florida superintendent job

District 833's top boss is a finalist for a Florida superintendent job.

Seminole County Public Schools, Fla., announced its three finalists for the position, which include Mark Porter, current superintendent of South Washington County Schools.

Porter will interview Monday with the Seminole County School Board, according to that district's website.

Seminole County School Board members are expected to decide on the candidate on Wednesday, a staff member said.

"This position presents a unique opportunity for me to combine my professional experience and educational background in a public school system that is widely known and respected as one of the best in the state of Florida and the nation," Porter wrote the Seminole district in a letter dated Feb. 3.

Porter's application materials, available through a district link, include letters of recommendation from District 833 School Board member Jim Gelbmann, former Woodbury Mayor Bill Hargis, Assistant District 833 Superintendent Keith Ryskoski and Woodbury Middle School Principal Kari Lopez.

"It is no exaggerating to say it will be nearly impossible to find an individual as talented, diplomatic,

determined and conscientious as Mark Porter," Gelbmann wrote in his letter, which goes on to state "I will stake my professional reputation on his ability to exceed all expectations your Board may set for him."

Porter will also participate in an evening meet-and-greet event Monday, where the public will mix with the candidates. The other two candidates are Walt Griffin, executive director at Seminole County Public Schools, and Scott Howat, senior director of labor and legislative relations at Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Fla.

This is Porter's last school year with District 833. School Board members here decided in December 2011 not to renew his contract, a move that sparked outcry from Porter's supporters.

Evaluation forms completed by District 833 School Board members indicated dissatisfaction with Porter's ability to maintain effective relationships with staff. He scored lowest in the category of district goals and progress, communications and leadership, according to information released by School Board Chairwoman Leslee Boyd.

District 833 has hired a search firm to conduct the process to fill Porter's position.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072