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Sarasota School Board outlines next steps in superintendent search

In a controversial move some accuse of being politically motivated, the school board terminated Superintendent Brennan Asplen in December.

SARASOTA, Fla. — In Sarasota, the school district remains in leadership limbo. 

In December, the Sarasota School Board and Superintendent Brennan Asplen agreed to separate in a controversial move by the school board, which some accused of being politically motivated.

Now, the school board is taking the first steps in finding a new leader, starting with hiring an interim superintendent at the next school board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7. 

The school board is considering three people for the interim position. 

The school board says former assistant superintendant turned acting superintendent Chris Renouff did not throw his hat in the ring for consideration. 

However, at Tuesday's school board meeting, the public was already looking ahead to who will fill the superintendent position permanently.


Some shared concerns the selection process, led by a majority conservative school board, will be influenced by politics. 

"It should be the best person for the job and not who is in line with anyone's political agenda," one community member shared.

"Will the politics of the new superintendent be a criterion on which he or she is judged? Will it be the only criteria?" another community member questioned. 

School Board Chair Bridget Ziegler said their decision would not be politically motivated. 

"I can tell you in any past time [politics] is not something that has been considered," Ziegler said. "It’s more on their philosophy of what the role of public education is and how they can move us forward and help us ensure every child can succeed academically and find ways to partner with families and understand their important role as well."

The school board is now working to hire a firm to help them find a full-time superintendent.

Once a shortlist is determined, Ziegler says the public will have a chance to vet them too. 

"Open houses will afford all of the community to come out and meet the candidates in a casual setting and not just in a board room," Ziegler said. 

The Sarasota School Board is hoping to have a new superintendent in place by the start of the 2023-2024 school year. 

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