Former Seminole County superintendent candidate no longer interested in job after ‘flawed’ process

Chad Farnsworth is still a assistant superintendent at Lake County Schools

(Seminole County Public Schools)

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Chad Farnsworth who was once selected as the next superintendent of Seminole County Schools, before the board voted to revoke its offer, told the district in a strongly worded letter he is no longer interested in the position.

Farnworth, the current Lake County assistant superintendent, was selected to be the next superintendent at Seminole County Schools after a 3-2 vote on Feb. 9 but two weeks later, the school board voted 3-2 to rescind the offer to Farnsworth.

Former Seminole County Schools attorney Serita Beamon was also considered a candidate at the time during the first vote and received two votes.

In a letter sent to the school district Wednesday, Farnsworth wrote he found the whole process to select a new superintendent “terribly flawed.”

[RELATED: Injunction filed against Seminole County school board over new superintendent pick | Seminole school board responds after injunction filed against them over selection of next superintendent]

“I remained quiet, even as efforts were mounted to discredit my past experience,” Farnsworth said.

Farnsworth was referring to a discussion at a Seminole County Schools board meeting of an audit of Bradford County Schools where Farnsworth was once a superintendent.

He indicated in a letter to the Seminole County Schools he is going to continue working at Lake County Schools.

“My focus and energy will remain on the children and families of Lake County,” Farnsworth wrote.

He said he is no longer interested in the Seminole County job.

“I hope for the sake of the children, community, and the faculty and staff throughout Seminole County, the board can move forward in a professional manner,” Farnsworth said.

During the middle of a school board meeting on Feb. 23, board member Dr. Tina Calderone said there was not enough discussion about who the next superintendent should be, adding that the vote on Feb. 9 lacked context.

“Our votes were perhaps cast without the kinda back and forth that leads to sound decisions,” Calderone said.

Another meeting was scheduled for March 1 to determine the district’s next superintendent. At that meeting, Beamon was named the district’s next superintendent after a 3-2 vote.

Prior to the second vote, Beamon had announced her resignation as Seminole County School Board Attorney after she was not selected.

A couple of days after Beamon was announced as the next superintendent, an injunction was filed against the school board saying rules were not followed in a previous school board meeting.

The injunction claims said the board is not allowed to rescind a vote for someone elected to a position.

Seminole County Schools said a contract negotiation has not begun with Beamon for employment.

SCPS issued the following statement following the letter from Farnsworth:

“Mr. Farnsworth’s letter speaks for itself. The district has no further comment to add.”

The school district also provided a video link to the previous school board meeting.

Wednesday night, school board member Amy Pennock posted her response to the superintendent situation.

Pennock said the school board failed the community.

“We have brought disruption and dishonor into these chambers,” Pennock said.

The school board member said superintendent Dr. Walt Griffin overstepped his bounds in conversations with the search committee.

Pennock said Griffin was telling people he wanted Beamon to get the job once he retired.

She is asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to direct the state to review the acts of the school board and staff to make sure no sunshine act was violated.

“We should count ourselves lucky if we aren’t sued by one or both candidates. “If we are sued, quire frankly, we deserve it as a consequence of poor behavior,” she said.

About the Author:

Jon is a Web Producer for ClickOrlando and has been with News 6 since March 2019.