Executive director of high schools resigns from Manatee County School District

eearl@bradenton.comOctober 19, 2013 

MANATEE -- The Manatee County School District's executive director of high schools, who was hired in June, resigned this week.

Mary Murray, the district's executive director of high schools, confirmed Friday that she submitted her resignation. Her first day on the job in the newly created position was July 1.

Murray said she will be moving to Oklahoma, although she did not comment why she is leaving the school district.

"I am not willing to share my personal life with everyone in the paper," Murray said.

In her resignation letter to the superintendent, Murray thanked the school district for the opportunity to serve as the executive director of high schools.

"I have appreciated both being a part of the School District of Manatee County team and the opportunities for growth that have been provided to me during my time in this position," Murray wrote.

Superintendent Rick Mills said that Murray was a valuable employee and will be missed.

"She's a rock star, and we're going to miss her," Mills said. "She is an outstanding educational leader."

Murray's resignation is effective Nov. 29, but she states in her resignation that her last day on the job will be Nov. 15.

Stephen Valley, spokesman for the Manatee County School District, said the district does not have a set deadline for finding a replacement for Murray.

"The job is posted. I don't think there is a timetable," Valley said. "There is no time frame on hiring the right person."

Valley said the process for hiring an executive director of high schools is the same as for any other district position. Candidates will need to submit application and in

terview with a panel. Finalists for the position will be interviewed by Mills and he will recommend his choice to the school board.

The executive director of high schools position was one of seven new positions Mills created this year. Other new positions included the executive director of middle schools and the executive director of elementary schools.

According to job descriptions posted on the district's website, the executive directors of schools monitor daily operations of their assigned schools and check in on their performance.

Murray, who moved to Manatee from Collier County, reported to Mills. She also received occasional guidance from the deputy superintendent of instructional services, Diana Greene.

Murray's annual salary as the executive director of high schools is about $115,000.

A job opening for the executive director of high schools was posted to the school district's website on Wednesday.

According to the posting, a master's degree in educational leadership and a minimum of 10 years of successful teaching and administrative experience are preferred.

The posting also requests that applicants meet the Florida certification requirements for a school principal.

Prior to her position with the Manatee County School District, Murray was the principal of Imokallee High School, a rural high school in Collier County. Like many schools in Manatee County, Imokallee High School has a high free- and reduced-lunch population.

The school district is also seeking a staff attorney following Scott Martin's resignation. Martin resigned after Mills recommended the school board suspend Martin without pay after the district's internal investigation in connection with Manatee High assistant football coach Rod Frazier. Martin's resignation is effective Nov. 2.

The staff attorney provides legal counsel to the superintendent and district staff with a negotiable starting salary range of $73,656 to $83,957. The position requires three years of legal experience.

The job posting for the director of high schools on the district's website closes Oct. 30, and the job posting for the staff attorney closes Oct. 29.

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

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