Superintendent Dearing: I want a new job

Manatee County Schools Superintendent Roger Dearing, who has been grappling with how the district should adapt to budget cuts forced by the declining economy, has applied to become executive director of the Florida High School Activities Association.

"I'm happy to be superintendent here in Manatee County, and I am not interested in applying for any other superintendent positions," Dearing said in a news release. "This happens to be a specific position that interests me because it deals on a statewide basis with athletics and extra-curricular activities which are at the core of what I was involved in when I first started my career in education."

The current executive director, John Stewart, has announced he will step down later this year.

Barbara Harvey, the school board's chairwoman, said she knew for awhile that Dearing interested in the other job.

"I certainly hope he is not accepted for that position and he can remain here in Manatee County," Harvey said. "It will be impossible for us to find someone with his knowledge and expertise when it comes to school related matters at the local and state level."

Harvey said Dearing has withstood a storm of criticism of his management of the district during the current budget situation. She was referring to letters to the editor and editorials in the newspaper.

"I would have left had that kind of press been released on me," Harvey said.

Dearing, Manatee's superintendent since July 2003, has been on the FHSAA's board of director for two years and its appeals board for seven years. He started his education career in 1971 as a teacher and coach in Orange County. He has coached several sports and worked as an athletic director.

Dearing said he is committed to leading the district as it works through the current financial difficulties.

"My fulltime job is leading this district and I'm committed to helping get us through the budget crisis and financial urgency we face," Dearing said. "I've always said, if you're going to be a superintendent of schools, there's no place better to be than in Manatee County."