BRADENTON, FL-- Manatee County School Board members are expected to approve the contract for the district's new interim superintendent, Dr. David Gayler. The move comes after the former superintendent resigned after administrators discovered the district was facing a nine-million dollar budget deficit. Now, school officials say they hope Gayler can help stabilize the district, making it a smooth transition for the next permanent superintendent.
Dr. David Gayler is no stranger to Manatee County Schools. He served as Assistant Superintendent for close to a year in 2002, and most recently, he served as Superintendent of Charlotte County Schools for the last nine years, retiring in January 2011. “He's an amazing leader. He's a scholar, he's a gentleman, he's focused, he's driven, he's knowledgeable if you're talking about insurance, if you're talking about curriculum, about school law, budget,” Michael Riley, Charlotte County Schools. Riley worked for Dr. Gayler for over 10 years. He says if anyone can help support Manatee County School's employees through this tough time, it's Dr. Gayler. Which is why Manatee County School Board Chairman Harry Kinnan says the board knew he was the one for the job, voting unanimously to hire Dr. Gayler as the interim. “There are some things that can be done right away that will help. 29:19 the big issue is moral. I think his plans are to come in, go to the schools, meet with some people and i think bring back some confidence and moral in all of our system and all of our schools and our system and employees.”
But Pat Barber, Director of the Manatee Education Association, says while she has full confidence in Dr. Gayler and his abilities to lead the district, she is concerned that he'll only be there for a short time, and given the current state of the district, the job may not attract the type of quality candidates the district needs. “I'm not sure that an interim makes a lot of changes, but i think that whoever the interim is is going to have to start the district on the road to healing and try to put some things in place that will make it easier for an incoming superintendent.”
Gayler will start work next Monday. His contract runs through the end of march. The school district will be holding it's first of several public meetings this Thursday night to get input on what residents want in the next superintendent.