Sarasota County Schools officials formally welcomed Brennan Asplen on Monday as he was sworn in as the district’s superintendent.
Asplen, formally the deputy superintendent in charge of academic and student services in the St. Johns County School District, was selected by the board in mid-July after a monthlong search.
During the ceremony, officiated by Judge Lee Haworth, Asplen said he is ready to begin work ensuring schools are safe for reopening Aug. 31. He hopes to continue elevating the district's educational standards, even during the pandemic.
"All students have a right to a stellar public education in an environment where they can shine, make memories and grow into their fullest potential," Asplen said. "We must not lose sight of the importance of academic, emotional and civic growth for our children, even during this time of adversity."
Interim Superintendent Mitsi Corcoran said the district is excited to welcome Asplen, and she's looking forward to "celebrating a new and exciting chapter."
"His proven leadership experience, genuineness and profound enthusiasm for fostering community and progress are some of the many qualities that resonated deeply with our school board, district leadership and Citizens Advisory Committee," Corcoran said. "It's even more evident the more time you spend with him."
Though Asplen recognized there will be challenges, he said that if the school community works together, there's nothing it can't overcome. In the past, he said the district has worked through crises such as the 2008 recession and the Parkland school shooting, and can do so again.
"We all worked together, we came up with a plan and made our schools even more safe than they were at than they already were," he said. "With this COVID-19 piece, it's no different. We have an issue, we have an obstacle, we're going to have to all come together and work together very hard to get through it."