lia-gaines_web.jpgWest palm beach — Twenty years ago, Rose Ann Freeman joined other citizens during a six-hour meeting in the Palm Beach Gardens High School auditorium that proved to be a prelude to the departure of schools superintendent Thomas Mills.

“Your mission,” the Riviera Beach resident told school board members then, “is to ensure the availability of a quality education in a non-threatening environment for all the children in Palm Beach County.”

On Thursday, back with other community members to profile what they want in the next schools’ chief, Brown’s comments included:

“The next superintendent should be ashamed (that) 75 percent of African-American males are not graduating. I don’t give that an A.”

Nearly 100 people turned out for the Oct. 13 town hall meeting at Palm Beach Lakes High School, many more than at previous days’ sessions. The meetings were the brainchild of School Board Vice Chairwoman Debra Robinson, who wants more public involvement in her and her colleague’s decision.

Yet as the South Florida Times went to press, Dr. Robinson and others were concerned that the school board during its Wednesday meeting might install an interim superintendent who might also be allowed to seek the permanent position.