Rick Mills has been chosen to be the next superintendent in a 3-2 vote by the Manatee County School Board.
Board members Julie Aranibar and Bob Gause, and school board chair Karen Carpenter voted in favor of Mills. Board members Dave "Watchdog" Miner and Barbara Harvey voted in favor of Diana Greene, the deputy superintendent for instruction and curriculum in Marion County.
The designation of Mills as superintendent is contingent on his acceptance of the contract.
Aranibar said that as superintendent, Mills will have to "rebuild the house" when it comes to problems of the budget.
Mills is currently the Minneapolis Public School District Chief Executive Officer.
At a Citizens Advisory Group meeting Feb. 15, the panel noted that Mills demonstrated the ability to bring positive change, close the achievement gap, reinstitute fiscal responsibility and elicit performance. "Of all six candidates, he is a game changer," said group member Richard Greene.
While he had positive momentum in Minneapolis, some group members were concerned about bringing in a superintendent from out-of-state because of his lack of local connections and limited knowledge of the culture of Manatee County.
During interviews with the school board last week, Mills said, "We need the right people in the right seats to perform monthly financial reviews and to lay out the agenda around the budget process," suggesting a five year "what if?" analysis to project and sustain programs.
The school board has been searching for a new superintendent since Tim McGonegal resigned in September in the wake of publicizing a $3.4 million budget deficit. David Gayler is currently serving as the interim superintendent.