Communication Builds Our Community

Public Has Opportunity to Meet Superintendent Finalists Today

Charter School Trustees Conducting Interviews

Four finalists for the position of superintendent for the Lake Wales Charter Schools system are participating in the interview process today. The day's agenda includes one-on-one meetings with members of the Board of Trustees and a tour of facilities and the general community by a volunteer.

The finalists are Emilean Clemons, Andy Oguntola, Wayne V. Rodolfich, and Anuj Saran. The four were left after the withdrawal of PJ D'Aoust immediately after he was selected as on of the top three recommendations by the ten-member search committee.

The committee had overseen a nationwide search that drew 25 applicants before being whittled to the present list. All three local applicants survived that process. Only Rodolfich is from outside Polk County, coming from Mississippi, where he was named "Superintendent of the Year" in 2020. He was also the top vote-getter among search committee members.

Clemons is the principal of Bartow High School. Oguntola is the former chair of the trustees who stepped down last September to become a candidate for superintendent. Saran is a long-time employee of the Charter Schools and assistant principal of Lake Wales High School. None of the three have experience as superintendents.

The process has proven controversial, with an early attempt to limit consideration to only local candidates generating strong opposition from both parents and educators within the system. Some have expressed concerns that the outcome was predetermined.

The conclusion of the search committee efforts devolved into a bitter dispute, with some members pointing fingers at attempts by others to advance preferred candidates. An email from LakeWalesNews.Net inviting trustees to comment on the process received no response.

A reception tonight at the First Presbyterian Church will give the public an opportunity to meet the finalists. That event will fill an hour starting at 6:30. The church is located at 16 North Third Street in Lake Wales.


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