Board members react to new superintendent selection

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MANATEE COUNTY - After controversy and debate, the Manatee County School Board has selected a new superintendent.

Board members had their choice of 6 finalists and their decision wasn't unanimous, and last night, they selected Rick Mills as their next superintendent of schools.

The Manatee County School District is dealing with its fair share of problems, and Board Member Julie Aranibar says when deciding on a new superintendent, she felt confident with Rick Mills. “This is not just about bringing someone in on the academic side of our programs. This is about rebuilding our systems.”

Aranibar says the district needs a complete re-build and re-organization from the ground up and while the ultimate goal is to have the superintendent focus solely on academics, that's not the reality of the position now. “We have system issues in how we do things. We have to put all of that into place and when I look at someone every candidate we had brought something to the table at this time in this place we've had 10 years in getting to where we got today. It's going to take a rebuilding before we get to the place of the academics, having it just be academics.”

Board members selected Mills with a 3-2 vote. One of those members is Dave "Watchdog" Miner, and he voted for Dr. Green. “I felt she had an edge, because she is a Florida resident and served many years as a deputy superintendent up in Marion County, and I think she had a lot of courage running for superintendent up there, and anyone taking this job needs a lot of courage.”

But even though Mills wasn't his first choice, Miner says he's still confident that he'll get the job done. “He has a fine record of serving education and he has taught. He has been an administrator .I think he has the courage and the stamina to do a great job and I think our district will be a lot better for his being here.”