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OPS superintendent finalist linked to Tampa controversy

Posted: 6:15 PM, Jan 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-25 01:26:48Z

Then there were two, as Omaha Public Schools announced its top two choices to lead the district. 

OPS Board President Marque Snow said the choice came down to "experience with the qualifications of our two candidates." 

OPS parent Alex Gates was glad families can now learn more about the candidates, citing character as an important part of a candidate.

"Someone that students in our district will look up to and say as a leader as a role model — that's very exciting," Gates said. 

Neither candidate has roots in Omaha, however, which disappointed Gates. 

"I'm surprised that we didn't have a finalist that was from within the district," he said.

RELATED: OPS SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH TIMELINE

Looking into the background of both candidates, 3 News Now reached out to sister station WFTS in Tampa to learn more about Peters.

WFTS reported in April 2017 that parents of students at a Hillsboro County middle school accused the district and Peters of covering up a sex offense accusation made against a substitute teacher, who accused of masturbating in the classroom in February 2017.

During the course of their investigative report, the WFTS I-Team found a parent had notified the schools resource officer two days after the school first knew about the incident, and that about 20 children submitted formal written statements to the local sheriff's office during the course of the investigation. 

About a month and a half later, after hearing from parents that the district never notified them,  the WFTS I-Team called all of the parents whose children provided written statements  and asked Peters about the parent's concerns. 

3 News Now did reach out to Peters, but have yet to get a response.

In an interview posted on the station's website in May 2017 , WTFS investigative reporter Jarrod Holbrook asked Peters: "What if I told you I called personally all the parents on the list in the police report and they were learning about it for the first time through me?"

Peters responded: "I mean, it could be fair — that doesn't mean that the principal didn't reach out to each parent."

Holbrook: "...Which parents? Because I don't know one that was notified."

Peters: "I don't have a list of parents, but just as you have your intel, we have our intel."

WFTS I-TEAM REPORT: Parents demand action after claiming a school cover up

The mishap has OPS parents taking notice. 

"We need honesty," Gates said. "I understand they can't be responsible for every action for every employee, but at the same time being open and honest about it with the community is really important." 

OPS said it has forwarded this information to Ray & Associates, the superintendent search firm.

The two candidates will be at the TAC building from 5-6:30 p.m. Jan. 30  for a meet and greet with the public.