Manatee School Board OKs new investigator, 2 other major hires

eearl@bradenton.comJuly 23, 2013 

MANATEE -- The Manatee County School Board unanimously approved three major hires Monday: director of Exceptional Student Education, director of planning and performance management and investigator for the Office of Professional Standards.

"The positions are critically important to moving the district forward and include the core functions we need to manage our district," Superintendent Rick Mills said.

Wylen Herring-Cayasso was named director of Exceptional Student Education, Robert Johnson is director of planning and performance management and Troy Pumphrey is the new investigator.

Pumphrey will meet with Mills on Tuesday morning to discuss the district's investigation of Manatee High football coach Rod Frazier. Pumphrey will report directly to Mills.

The district is resuming its investigation of allegations against Frazier of battery and interference with a student's ability to attend school. The investigation was put on hold when the Bradenton Police began an investigation.

Pumphrey said he does not have information about the Frazier case but is ready to begin.

The office of professional standards has been empty since January when former investigator Debra Horne left abruptly to become assistant principal at Prine Elementary School.

Pumphrey, a former investigator for the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, most recently served as senior investigator for the Florida High School Athletic Association.

Mills said Herring-Cayasso and Johnson have strong backgrounds, too.

Herring-Cayasso was director of Exceptional Student Services in Kissimmee and Johnson was director of administrative operations for Minneapolis Public Schools.

The director of planning and performance management position was created as part of Mills' reorganization plan.

Herring-Cayasso replaces Jodi O'Meara, who resigned recently as director of Exceptional Student Education.

School board member Bob Gause said he is excited about the new hires.

"At the end of the day, it's about results," Gause said. "The people being appointed come with great experiences and resumes."

The school board also unanimously approved all nine volunteers for the Audit Review Committee. All are certified public accountants in Manatee County.

The Audit Review Committee will meet quarterly to review the school board's internal auditing, including financial procedures and reports.

The committee will recommend external and internal auditors, and school internal accounts auditors to the school board as needed, as well as advise the internal auditor.

"I don't want to put volunteers through an interview process," Gause said. "They all appear to be fine people and we would not get much more out of interviews than we did from the applications and resumes."

School board member Barbara Harvey said she is confident in the new volunteer board.

"Since there are so few, I don't see why we cannot involve them in all in the process. It is a number we can certainly accommodate," Harvey said.

School board member Dave "Watchdog" Miner said he voted for nine volunteers knowing rarely would all be able to attend meetings.

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

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