MANATEE COUNTY — Mid-October should prove to be a pivotal time for the Manatee County School Board.
Not only will the district have critical information for moving forward with its superintendent search, but it also expects to have a new interim superintendent, David Gayler, taking the district’s helm.
Board members are expected to finalize Gayler’s appointment Oct. 8, at its next regularly scheduled meeting. He is slated to start work Oct. 15, at which time he also will be sworn in for duty.
“His intention, he’s told me, is to have a presence in the (district) before then,” School Board Chairman Harry Kinnan said. “We’re not aware of any hang-ups on this (schedule), and he’s already agreed. I think the community and the board are pleased we’re going to be moving forward in this way.”
“(Mr. Gayler) has an understanding of our culture and our district; he has proven leadership, and he’s a great communicator,” Kinnan said of why Gayler was selected. “He has the ability to go out and speak to the community about some of his goals and get input from them. The board is really looking for someone to step in and direct the district. He’s going to be asked to do a lot.”
Gayler, the former superintendent of the Charlotte County School District and a former Manatee County Schools assistant superintendent, has agreed to serve the district until March 29, at which time he has other commitments. Kinnan said he does not believe the end date will cause a problem for the district, because the superintendent search will likely take two to four months.
“I think the fact we moved so quickly to put the process in place enables us to fulfill that timeline,” he said.
Dr. Wayne Blanton, of the Florida School Boards Association, will conduct the search for the new permanent superintendent, and he already has assisted with finding the district an interim superintendent.
Blanton is slated to meet with school board members for a workshop Oct. 22, after the district has solicited feedback from the community about the superintendent search. Public hearings on the search are scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 11, at Braden River High School; Oct. 15, at Manatee High School’s Davis Theater; and Oct. 16, at Palmetto High School’s Auditorium.
Manatee County’s former superintendent, Tim McGonegal, resigned Sept. 10, three days after announcing the district was facing a $3.4 million budget deficit because of accounting errors.
Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Bob Gagnon was appointed as superintendent on an interim basis that night at the school board meeting. School board members voted Sept. 24 to find a full-time interim superintendent to lead the district until a permanent replacement can be found, allowing Gagnon to focus on his responsibilities as assistant superintendent.