Bradley Scarbrough, an educator in Manatee County for more than 25 years, will become the next principal of Buffalo Creek Middle School, in Palmetto.
Scarbrough started as a teacher at Sugg Middle School in 1993, according to Friday’s news release from the school district.
He worked as an assistant principal at King Middle School from 2009 to 2014, and he most recently served as an assistant principal at Buffalo Creek, a school he will now lead.
After receiving C’s from the state for three consecutive years, the school earned a B for the 2017-2018 school year.
Scarbrough received much of the credit for Buffalo Creek’s improvement, according to a prepared statement from the district’s executive director of secondary schools.
“Buffalo Creek moved from a C grade to a B grade during the last school year and we believe Brad was an integral part of that success,” Willie Clark wrote. “Brad knows the staff and the school community so he is in a strong position to continue the forward momentum at Buffalo Creek.”
The district interviewed three finalists and held a community forum before announcing its decision on Friday morning.
Though he enjoyed success at Buffalo Creek, the school’s incoming principal faced trouble at his previous campus.
An incident took place on Nov. 1, 2013, when Scarbrough was employed as an assistant principal at King Middle School, in Bradenton, according to a report from the Florida Department of Education.
Scarbrough, the complaint states, made inappropriate comments to an African-American employee.
“Have you noticed all of the students who have been in fights are black?” the report states, paraphrasing Scarbrough’s conversation with the employee.
“All black people fight due to their culture and because they all come from difficult households,” the report continues. “But you are excused because you and your family are educated.”
He angered the employee, who felt the comments were racially insensitive, according to the report.
Scarbrough opted for a settlement agreement, neither admitting nor denying the allegations. The state’s Education Practices Commission announced its decision in a letter sent to Scarbrough on Feb. 27, 2015.
It said a panel of teachers reviewed and accepted his settlement agreement. Scarbrough received a letter of reprimand, a $750 fine, one year’s probation and a course in sensitivity or diversity in the workplace.
“That was in the past,” Scarbrough said on Friday morning, declining to comment further.
When asked about his strengths and accomplishments, he underscored the work of Buffalo Creek’s staff.
“We’re part of a team, and I’m looking forward to taking and furthering what we’ve done — continue the road and keep working for student achievement,” Scarbrough said.