Escambia superintendent interviews underway, finalists to take public's questions tonight

Jim Little Pensacola News JournalPublished 4:13 PM EDT Aug 27, 2020The four finalists to become Escambia Count

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The four finalists to become Escambia County's first appointed superintendent of schools will take submitted questions from the public tonight.

The school district is taking questions from the public via this link. The four candidates will each have 15 minutes to answer selected questions tonight.

The finalists are Earl Johnson, a school administrator from Flagler County; Keith Rittel, a sitting superintendent from Provo, Utah; Timothy Smith, a director for multiple Orlando-area high schools; and Keith Leonard, Escambia County's current assistant superintendent for human resource services.

School board members are conducting interviews of each candidate today, which are being live streamed on the school district's Facebook page and website.

The online questions from the public will be live streamed on the same sites.

The schedule will be:

  • 6:20 p.m.: Earl Johnson
  • 6:40 p.m.: Keith Rittel
  • 7 p.m.: Timothy Smith
  • 7:20 p.m.: Keith Leonard

The finalists will have one-on-one meetings with each school board member Friday. The school board will meet Tuesday to vote to select the new superintendent.

This is the first time in modern history Escambia County's superintendent will be appointed rather than elected. The superintendent will replace Malcolm Thomas, who is set to retire from the district this November.

Earl Johnson's school board interview

Keith Rittel's school board interview

Timothy Smith's school board interview

Keith Leonard's school board interview

Jim Little can be reached at and 850-208-9827.
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