Two superintendent finalists apply to be on Mills' leadership team

eearl@bradenton.comApril 17, 2013 

MANATEE -- Two open positions for the deputy superintendent of Manatee County Schools garnered 14 applicants, including two finalists for the superintendent's position. The one glaring omission was an application from Bob Gagnon, the assistant superintendent of instruction and curriculum, whose position is set to be eliminated in a reorganization plan.

Mills has created deputy superintendent positions for instructional services and operations. Applications for the new deputy superintendent positions closed Monday night. Mills told the Herald that Gagnon's future will be announced at Monday night's regular school board meeting.

The deputy superintendent of instructional services will be responsible for improving student performance, overseeing and starting academic programs, investigating complaints and providing assistance on data analysis.

Two former superintendent candidates include Diana Greene, the former deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Marion County, and Kathryn LeRoy, director of high school programs of Duval County schools, applied for the deputy superintendent of instructional services position. Both were finalists, along with Mills for the superintendent's position. Two school board members, Barbara Harvey and Dave "Watchdog" Miner, voted for Greene over Mills to become the next district superintendent.

There are eight applicants for the deputy superintendent for instructional services and six applicants for the deputy superintendent of operations.

The candidates for deputy superintendent of instructional services are Greene; LeRoy; George Schrier, a graduation coach at Palmetto High responsible for raising graduation rates; Andrei Ghelman; Diana Cantillo; Eugene Butler; Patrick Galatowitsch; and Steven Black, a former superintendent of schools at the Fort Ann Central School District in New York who now serves as adjunct professor at State College of Florida.

LeRoy is the former executive director of Miami-Dade County schools. The citizen's advisory committee said she demonstrated strong management skills and lead

ership philosophy.

The new deputy superintendent of operations will be direct the district's business services, support services and Information Services divisions.

Martin, who served in the role of assistant superintendent of support services under former superintendent Tim McGonegal, was responsible for these areas when the district discovered a $3.5 million deficit because it had failed to account for teachers' salaries, textbooks and additional programs and because the budgeting software they were using was outdated and failed to perform basic tasks such as addition and subtraction.

Mills reassigned Martin to the district's legal department, where he had been working before taking the position of assistant superintendent.

The candidates for deputy superintendent of operations are Don Hall, who works in the Minneapolis School district, Andrei Ghelman, Eugene Butler, Jeremiah Lamar Bundrage, Nicholas Balde and Kristin Lamphron, an administrator and principal of Sunshine Academy, a Christian elementary school and day care in Bradenton. She is the former advertising production manager and education and special projects manager at the Bradenton Herald.

Hall, the chief information officer of Minneapolis public schools, worked with Mills in Minnesota.

"He is absolutely a strong candidate," Mills said. "He has great understanding of finance, operations and strategic planning."

Hall is responsible for managing the payroll, finance, student information, transportation, food service and library management enterprise systems.

The initial cost of the reorganization plan will be about $144,000 in salary costs. Mills said he thinks the reorganization will prove to be a sound financial decision in long run.

"We need the right people in right place to run the district more effectively at a lower cost," Mills said.

Mills said that after positions are cut and new people are settled into their positions, he will work on reinvesting in employees.

"We have had problems of low employee morale," Mills said.

Mills said he has written letters to all district employees explaining why he is building a new leadership team.

The reorganization plan also includes the elimination of director of elementary education and secondary education in favor of the creation of three new positions -- an executive director of elementary schools, an executive director of middle schools and executive director of high schools.

Those two positions proposed for elimination currently report to Gagnon, but the new positions will report to Mills.

Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.

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