Sarasota school board selects four finalists for next superintendent

Generic school photo

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The School Board of Sarasota County has selected four finalists who will be interviewed for the superintendent position. The new superintendent will succeed Lori White as superintendent of schools. White is scheduled to retire Feb. 28.

The district received 49 applications for the superintendent’s job. A 15-member community advisory committee recommended eight semifinalists to the Board on Sept. 1 and the board approved that list at its Sept. 6 meeting.

The Board arrived at a consensus on the four finalists at a workshop this morning and voted to approve the list during its regular meeting this afternoon. The finalists are:

  • Todd Bowden, executive director of career, technical and adult education, Sarasota County Schools
  • Andrew Rynberg, former assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, Indian River Schools (Vero Beach)
  • Mark Porter, superintendent, Monroe County Schools (Key West)
  • Brennan Asplen III, deputy superintendent for academic and student services, St. Johns County (St. Augustine)

The candidates will be invited to Sarasota on Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 12 and 13, for interviews and conversations with School Board members, tours of the school district and community and a public reception. The board will conduct public interviews on Oct. 12; anyone is welcome to observe those interviews at the School Board chambers at The Landings, 1960 Landings Blvd., Sarasota. The public interviews will be streamed live on the district website at SarasotaCountySchools.net and broadcast live on The Education Channel (Comcast 20 and Frontier FiOS 33). On Oct. 13 individual School Board members will interview each candidate privately.

The public reception, hosted by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, will begin at 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 13, in the Riverview High School cafeteria. All interested community members are encouraged to attend the reception, meet the candidates and ask them questions. Participants in the reception will be invited to write their impressions of the candidates on response cards that will be presented to the Board members before they make the final selection of the new superintendent.

The School Board is expected to appoint the new superintendent at its regular Oct. 18 meeting, scheduled for 3 p.m. in the School Board chambers.

Earlier this year, the Education Foundation of Sarasota County and the Florida School Boards Association collaborated with the Sarasota County School District to gather information from families, staff and community members about their hopes and expectations for the new superintendent. Public forums at four high schools and an online survey were important parts of the community input process.

Community members were asked what they believe to be the strengths of the school district, what challenges it faces and what characteristics are the most important for a superintendent to exhibit. The information from the forums and the survey were shared with the applicants for the position, with members of the committee that helped screened the applications, and with the School Board.

“We thank all the community members, committee members and everyone who helped us get to this point,” said Jennifer Vigne, executive director of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. “We are lucky to live in a place where people care so much about education, and who want to help select the best administrative leader possible for our schools.”

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