The School Board of Manatee County is a step closer to finding the school district’s new leader.
The board chose 12 out of 27 applicants to become semifinalists in the School District of Manatee County’s search for the next superintendent.
The next superintendent will replace Cynthia Saunders, who is retiring June 30.
During a school board workshop April 12, each board member shared which applicants they would like to be considered.
Only one applicant, Jason Wysong, who is serving as a deputy superintendent for Seminole County Public Schools, was chosen by each of the five school board members to become a semifinalist in the search.
All other applicants were chosen by at least two of the five board members.
Of the 12 semifinalists, only two are currently out of state. Richard O’Malley is a superintendent of schools in Florence, South Carolina, while Scott Davidheiser is a superintendent in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania.
Two semifinalists have either worked for the School District of Manatee County or are currently with the school district. Doug Wagner has been serving as the deputy superintendent of operations for the school district since 2018. Tim Bargeron served as one of the district’s deputy superintendents and the assistant superintendent of business operations from May 2020 to November 2022.
The 12 semifinalists have been given five questions from the school board. Three questions will be a video response, and two questions will be a written response. The applicants will have until 5 p.m. April 21 to submit their responses.
The School Board of Manatee County will meet during a workshop April 28 to select finalists.
The finalists will then come to Manatee County for in-person interviews with the school board as well as each board member individually.
Although a time and location has yet to be determined, community members also will have an opportunity to meet the finalists.
The school board will select a new superintendent during a special school board meeting May 16 and approve the superintendent’s contract during a May 23 board meeting.
The transition period between Saunders and the new superintendent will start May 24 with the anticipated start date July 1.