Broward parents and community leaders alike had a chance Tuesday to meet and ask questions of the two finalists for the Broward schools chief position.
Monday night, the Broward County School Board named Robert Runcie, chief of staff to the Chicago Board of Education, and Bernard Taylor, superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools, as their top two finalists from a pool of five semi-finalists.
Both men are scheduled to appear at a Community Meet and Greet reception at 6 p.m. at Junior Achievement World in Coconut Creek, followed by a question and answer session from 7 to 8:30 p.m. where they will respond to questions that the public has submitted to the district over the past three months.
Engaging the public in the selection of the superintendent has been a priority for a school district that has dealt with several blows to public confidence in the form of a critical state grand jury report and the arrest of two former board members on corruption charges.
On Wednesday, the two men will come before the board for a last round of interviews before a final choice is made.
Either choice would give Broward the district?s first black superintendent.
Runcie, a businessman turned school administrator in Chicago, has been the front-runner since board members started vetting the applicants in earnest two weeks ago.
In interviews, he played up his experience as an administrator with the nation?s third-largest school district, noting he could transition to navigating Broward, which is the sixth-largest.
?I looked at this opportunity as a unique opportunity to work with a school district that has had had a great amount of success in many areas,? Runcie told the board. ?But, it?s also true within the district that there?s been persistent and significant graduation and achievement gaps ... We also need to rebuild the trust and confidence in our work.?