JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- And then there were three. Nikolai Vitti, Dale Robbins, or Kriner Cash could be the next superintendent of Duval County Public Schools.
"Duval is in a great position right now to go from good to great," said Dr. Vitti. "And I feel that I'm the right candidate to take us to the next level."
Dr. Vitti has been working as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum in Miami. He says his experience makes him the person for the job. "I've been at the state level in Florida. I've been a principal at the district level. So I know the challenges teachers face, principals face. And I've been able to navigate to those challenges to do what's best for students."
One of his opponents is Dale Robbins from Gwinnett County Schools in Georgia. After working in education for nearly four decades, says he's looking to stay in Jacksonville for a while. "I think my thinking is that after 36 years as an educator, I want my last job coming up, not my next job," said Robbins.
Rounding out the top three is Kriner Cash, Superintendent of Memphis City Schools. Like his opponents, he comes highly recommended. But unlike his opponents, he has a blemish on his record. When he worked for Miami-Dade Schools, he received a letter from reprimand after reportedly telling a co-worker his beard made him look like a terrorist.
"You look at it as lesson learned. And you grow from it," said Cash. "You become a better leader, and I have."
Cash denies being prejudiced or discriminatory in any way. And he says his strong suit is getting the entire community involved in education. "There's a tipping point right now. And if we don't get on this work with some pace and some urgency, Jacksonville can go either way," he said.
Final interviews begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, at the Schultz Center at 4019 Boulevard Center Drive. The interviews will also be webcast at www.duvalschools.org.
The new superintendent will replace Ed Pratt-Dannals who is leaving at the end of the year. He's been the superintendent since 2007.