Broward weighs merits of 4 superintendent candidates

State’s politics may have reduced applicants, school board member says

Broward County Public Schools has narrowed the field to four candidates to lead the school district, including the current interim schools chief and two education leaders from neighboring Palm Beach County.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – School board member and former chair Rosalind Osgood believes Broward County could have had more superintendent candidates if not for Florida’s toxic political climate.

“I think a lot of people are hesitant to take on such a huge responsibility and have their authority and the authority of their governing board constantly attacked and restricted,” Osgood said.

The school board on Tuesday narrowed the field to four candidates:

  • Vickie Cartwright, Broward’s interim superintendent, who was previously superintendent in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She has also worked as an associate superintendent in the Orlando school district, was a principal in Texas, assistant principal in Mississippi and started as a music teacher.
  • Michael Gaal, president of Beable Education. He’s the former president of Cenergistic and was deputy chancellor at D.C. public schools and chief of staff at the Oakland Unified School Distirct.
  • Peter Licata, a regional superintendent for Palm Beach County Public Schools. He’s a former assistant superintendent, district director and principal in the same district.
  • Keith Oswald, Palm Beach County Public Schools’ chief of equity and wellness. He was also a local instructional superintendent in New York City and a Palm Beach schools principal.

“I’m looking for someone that has an educational background,” Osgood said. “Someone that understands the importance of equity. Someone that is going to work to make the educational environment successful for all students.”

Local 10 News reached out to all four of the candidates to request interviews. One responded and said he was advised by the search firm not to speak to the press.

Osgood said it’s up to the candidates to decide if they speak to reporters as the hiring process continues.

“If they’re going for a job and they want to talk to the media, it could either help them or hurt them, but I think it’s their decision,” she said.

The district also came out late Wednesday and said they would meet again this coming Tuesday to publicly reveal the individual selections by each school board member for the semifinalists. When they met this past Tuesday, board members were asked to write down their choices and pass them in.

The district released a statement, saying:

“During a Special School Board Meeting on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, School Board members reviewed the list of qualified applicants provided by Ray and Associates, the independent firm hired to conduct the search. The top four finalists were identified based on the overall selections by School Board members. Ray and Associates read aloud the totals for each candidate during the meeting; however, after the meeting, a concern was raised that the individual selections by each School Board member had not been shared.

“On Wednesday morning, January 26, the tally sheet with individual School Board member selections was provided to those requesting the information. Additionally, this information was placed on the District’s website for the public to view.

“To ensure the integrity of the superintendent search process, the School Board will hold the meeting again on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at 10 a.m., at the Kathleen C. Wright Administration Center, 600 S.E. Third Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301. The meeting will be live streamed at browardschools.com/meetingagendas.”

To see the applications of all the candidates that were deemed qualified for the position, click here.


About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.