Judge to determine if Seminole County can move forward with superintendent pick

Injunction seeks to halt contract negotiations for Serita Beamon as new superintendent

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A judge will decide Tuesday if the Seminole County School Board can move forward to make Serita Beamon the district’s new superintendent after an injunction was filed earlier this month against the board following a vote to withdraw its original offer to another candidate.

An injunction was filed in Seminole County civil court March 9, seeking to stop the Seminole County School Board from continuing negotiations with Beamon to become superintendent.

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Attorney Philip Kaprow filed the injunction on behalf of his client, who is a Seminole County mother.

The complaint claims the board violated its own bylaws during the Feb. 23 meeting when they voted to rescind their previous vote selecting Chad Farnsworth as the new superintendent. The board then voted March 1 to select Beamon to become the new superintendent.

Kaprow claims because the board broke the rules, the Feb. 23 vote to rescind is null and void.

The complaint is asking the court to step in and stop Beamon’s contract negotiations.

In response to the injunction, the board argued contract negotiations have not begun with Beamon for employment. It states there is no need for the board to enter an injunction.

During a hearing Monday morning, Seminole County Circuit Judge Michelle Naberhaus heard both sides over a Microsoft Teams virtual meeting.

Kaprow dodged the issue of race in his arguments but said, “some would argue that this is an issue of reverse discrimination, where a white man is given a job and then taken away in response to not-so-veiled threats from the local African American community.”

Robert Sniffen, an attorney for the school district, argued Kaprow and his clients -- a parent and a teacher -- have not proven how choosing Beaman as the new superintendent will cause them to “suffer special injury.”

“The petitioners don’t want Ms. Beamon. They don’t say why,” Sniffen said, adding, “But I still have yet to hear how (they) will suffer a special injury, through the selection of Ms. Beaman as a superintendent. I can guess. I can guess why they do.”

Ultimately, because of the quick turnaround time and with an impending school board meeting Tuesday night, the judge asked for more time to review case law and make a decision.

Naberhaus will make her ruling at noon Tuesday, just hours ahead of the school board meeting when members are scheduled to vote on Beaman’s contract.

Current Seminole County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Walt Griffin announced last fall his plans to retire at the end of the 2020-21 school year.

About the Authors:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!