About a month after the Palm Beach County School District quietly fired one of its top officials, 35 people from around the nation are vying to fill his shoes.
The applicants to be the district’s next chief of support operations, overseeing several key support functions including transportation and construction, submitted resumes by midnight Friday. That is far less than the 50 applicants for the same job in February, when the school board eventually hired Tony Rivas for the high-level job.
District Superintendent Wayne Gent terminated Rivas on Aug. 5, just before the end of his 90-day probationary period. The district did not disclose a reason for Rivas’ abrupt dismissal.
Eight of the candidates seeking to replace Rivas are Palm Beach County School District employees. The most notable internal candidate is Steve Bonino, who has worked for the school district sine 1990 and is director of food services.
Other internal candidates include Forest Hill High teacher Steven Stefano and West Gate Elementary after-school counselor Lillian Gonzalez. Several top officials in non-instructional departments who applied for the job in February, such as district Director of Facilities Services Jim Kunard and Building Department Director Tom Hogarth, did not apply this time.
The position, which pays between $112,000 and $160,000, also attracted interest from officials at area colleges such as Palm Beach State College Director of Purchasing Jodi Hart, and nearby school districts such as Broward County School District Manager of Construction Contracts Denis Herrmann.
No date has been set for when the superintendent would recommend a new chief of support operations from among the applicants or when the school board would vote on that recommendation, according to a district spokeswoman.