Superintendent Brennan Asplen on Monday night said he has accepted that his tenure with Sarasota County Schools is at an end and that he seeks “not to be a distraction” to the work of the district’s teachers, administrators, employees and families.
“I desire for our community to be at peace,’’ he wrote in a statement sent to school stakeholders, and later, the news media.
Asplen’s statement precedes by about 24 hours a special meeting of the Sarasota County School Board on Tuesday, called for last week to consider his contract. The 4-1 vote in favor of the Tuesday special meeting came just minutes after two new school board members were sworn in.
Though Karen Rose was already on the board, her motion to consider the employment of Asplen was supported by newly elected members Tim Enos, who seconded Rose's motion, and Robyn Marinelli, along with newly sworn-in chair Bridget Ziegler.
Tom Edwards was the only school board member to reject the call for Tuesday’s meeting.
Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the School District’s administration complex.
“I will work respectfully and constructively with the board to achieve an acceptable resolution to my employment separation,’’ Asplen wrote. “I ask that all attending the meeting do so with the same spirit in mind.”
Asplen, highly rated by a majority of the previous board in his annual evaluation weeks ago and in 2021, sat silently and sipped water on the dais at Venice High throughout the discussion on Nov. 22 and scheduling of the meeting that could lead to his firing. Edwards was one of the three who gave Asplen the highly effective rating. The other two, Shirley Brown and Jane Goodwin, are no longer on the board.
Enos, Marinelli and Ziegler won contentious elections in August, defeating a trio of Democratic-Party supported candidates. Although non-partisan, Ziegler, Enos and Marinelli drew backing of not only the local Republican Party but also that of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who campaigned and supported like-minded school board candidates statewide.
Asplen started with the school district in 2020, coming to Sarasota from a post as a deputy superintendent with the St. Johns County School District. He replaced interim Superintendent Mitsi Corcoran, who took over for Todd Bowden, who was fired in 2019 over his handling of a sexual harassment case.