Manatee School District hires its next deputy superintendent of instruction

Meet the School Board of Manatee County

Meet the members of the Manatee School Board and the schools they represent.
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Meet the members of the Manatee School Board and the schools they represent.

The School District of Manatee County has gone nearly one year without a deputy superintendent of instruction, the person responsible for academic programs and the performance of nearly 49,000 students. That vacancy was filled with a swift, unanimous vote of the school board on Tuesday evening.

Board members awarded an interim contract to Genelle Zoratti Yost, who worked as a district administrator in St. Lucie Public Schools, on the east coast of Florida, for more than three decades. Cynthia Saunders held the deputy superintendent position in Manatee from July 2015 to June 2018, before she took over as superintendent.

The board had no questions or comments, other than Vice-Chair Gina Messenger’s request for more information. Saunders briefly went over the new-hire’s background before the school board cast its unanimous vote.

“I’m very grateful that the board approved our next deputy superintendent of instruction,” Saunders said later in the meeting. “She doesn’t know it, but when she arrives Monday we are taking tours of the new schools.”

The contract is valid from July 1 to Dec. 20 — about six months — at a salary of $75,745, along with a $400 monthly car allowance. Per the agreement, Yost is considered an independent contractor, meaning she won’t receive overtime payments or district benefits.

Though she was not present at the meeting, Yost responded to questions during a phone call on Tuesday evening. Manatee’s next deputy superintendent said she was excited to help district administrators and school employees meet their goals.

“I want to build rapport and relationships within the district,” she said. “I want to do that as quickly as possible since this is a six-month contract at this point.”

In her resume, Yost described herself as an “accomplished and energetic educator with a solid history of achievement in instructional leadership.”

Yost earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Florida in 1975, followed by a master’s degree in education from Florida Atlantic University, according to her resume. During the same time period, she worked as a teacher in St. Lucie, focusing on exceptional student education and remedial reading.

She then spent several years as a consultant with the Florida Diagnostic Learning Resource Center. She was expected to “explore and deliver training in areas of curricular implementation, including instructional strategies,” the resume states.

In 1981, Yost returned to St. Lucie to become an administrative assistant. She was responsible for exceptional student education, a specialized program for students with disabilities, otherwise known as ESE students. From 1983 to 2003, she worked as the principal of three ESE centers in the district.

Yost advanced to the role of an assistant superintendent for St. Lucie in 2003, a position she held for about nine years. During that time she oversaw the district’s schools and federal projects, including its migrant programs, according to her resume.

As an assistant superintendent, Yost helped to “ensure quality instruction for all learners in a caring and safe environment,” and she worked with principals in “developing, implementing, and evaluating school programs that provide engaging work for every student,” her resume states.

She then became St. Lucie’s deputy superintendent for one year, and its superintendent for another two years. From 2013 to 2015, Yost oversaw approximately 43,000 students, 42 schools and 5,000 employees.

And from 2015 to 2016, the last entry on her resume, Yost worked as a subcontractor for MGT of America. She analyzed school buildings in Georgia, documenting “improvement needs that meet instructional demands.”

“I’m looking forward to listening and learning about Manatee,” Yost said on Tuesday.