Manatee High School and Bayshore High School will have new principals on July 1, the School District of Manatee County announced Friday afternoon.
Manatee High School principal Don Sauer accepted a position in the district office as the Supervisor of Student Demographics, Projections and Assignment. He has been principal at Manatee since 2012. David Underhill, principal at Bayshore High School since 2000, will take over at Manatee High in Sauer’s place.
The district will post the job opening for a new principal at Bayshore on Monday, and district officials hope to have the role filled by July 1.
Sauer will be taking over a position filled for the past 20 years by Danny Lundeen. Lundeen will be retiring in June 2018, and the overlap should give Sauer time to learn the intricacies of a role responsible for enrollment projections, enrollment forecasts, the school choice process and school zoning.
District officials have said there is a strong learning curve to the job, and they want Lundeen to be able to train his replacement.
Sauer said his time at Manatee High has been a high point in his career, but he was looking forward to helping the district manage its growth.
“The opportunity to serve our overall school district in a roll that is integral to helping us plan for growth in our student population and bring new schools online to accommodate that growth is one that I couldn’t pass up at this point in my career,” Sauer said. “I look forward to finishing this school year at Manatee High on a strong note, before moving into my new role.”
Manatee District Executive Director of Secondary Schools Jim Pauley said the moves allow the district to fill the roles with school district veterans.
“With Mr. Sauer applying and being selected for the Supervisor of Student Demographics, Projections and Assignment, it gives us a veteran administrator with a vast amount of experience in a very crucial position for the district,” Pauley said. “That allowed the district to transfer Mr. Underhill, our most veteran high school principal, to lead Manatee High School.”
Underhill, who has been principal at Bayshore for 17 years, said the transition came as a surprise to him when he learned of it on Wednesday, but he is excited about it.
“I think it’s one of those times that will light a fire under me. I think Manatee High School has been through some trials lately. Don Sauer has done a great job of working through that, and they’ve come back strong,” Underhill said, referring to a series of scandals involving the school’s athletic department. “I want to go in and work with them and build on what they want to be, what I want to be, and build something where we can be proud of not just the Manatee High School of the past, but the Manatee High School of the future.”
Sauer could not be immediately reached for comment.