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  • The Daily Sun

    Sarasota School Board wants superintendent to stay

    By Staff Writer,

    2024-06-17

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0RY3Py_0ttipJpr00

    SARASOTA — Despite a tumultuous year for Sarasota County Schools, its board members and students, it seems Superintendent Terry Connor has escaped the same fate of his predecessor.

    According to June 18’s board meeting agenda, Board members’ review and evaluation of Connor’s performance have led to the consideration of an employment contract extension.

    “The Superintendent has demonstrated exceptional leadership and has successfully met the performance indicators and strategic goals outlined in the existing contract,” the agenda item reads. “Extending the contract will foster continued alignment between the School Board and the Superintendent, promoting culture of accountability, recognition, and professional growth.”

    While the Board has repeatedly expressed its appreciation for Connor’s dedication to improving the district’s academic progress and state standings, Connor’s relationship with a few members started out a bit rocky.

    Initially, Connor’s ability to lead one of Florida’s top public school systems was doubted by Board members Tim Enos and Bridget Ziegler, who both voted against hiring the then Hillsborough County Public Schools deputy superintendent.

    When reviewing Connor’s application last summer for the SCS leadership position, Ziegler expressed her hesitance at hiring people who end up with the same mindset.

    “My concern is there are a lot of … when we look at the different options we have, my strongest belief is issues that have plagued us prior seem very reminiscent in the potential recommendation being presented,” she said during the June 14 board meeting.

    Enos supported keeping interim Superintendent Allison Foster, who stepped in after the Board voted 4-1 to remove Brennan Asplen from the leadership position in 2022.

    But over the course of the last 12 months, it seems that concern has turned to trust after results from Connor’s efforts proved his ability to lead SCS.

    Increasing reading scores with tiered support systems in schools, spearheading task forces to solve concerns of the public and mitigating quality student education for all have been at the forefront of Connor’s agenda, swaying Ziegler’s mind on the matter.

    “The efforts that being done at this district through the superintendent are really making a huge difference, and while we may have seen people leave, a lot has changed in the last year,” Ziegler said. “I think the conversations I’m having with staff and families who left and are coming back is a testament to what changes have been made and the focus that is truly on academics.”

    Rose — who vetted Connor since he became an applicant for the superintendent position — Enos and Marinelli have vocally shared their support for the superintendent, showing no sign of doubt for Connor to continue successfully leading SCS.

    If approved on Tuesday, the contract will allow Connor to continue holding the superintendent position until June 30, 2029.

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