Martin County School District appoints John Millay as its next superintendent

Sommer Brugal Treasure Coast NewspapersPublished 7:06 PM EDT Sep 22, 2020MARTIN COUNTY — John Millay is t

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MARTIN COUNTY — John Millay is the school district's fnew superintendent. 

The School Board Tuesday voted 3-2 to select Millay to lead the district after interviewing the top four candidates Wednesday. 

"I'm super excited," Millay said during a phone call with board members following the vote. "I just want to thank the board for their trust and belief in me to lead this school district. I want to reassure everyone that I take this responsibility seriously." 

Millay said he will keep up his positive energy and collaborative spirit to support all students and staff in the district. 

More: The final four: Martin County superintendent finalists answer School Board questions

The former superintendent of Meade County School District in Brandenburg, Kentucky impressed the board with his energy, superintendent experience, preparedness and ability to move the school district forward. 

Millay is the transformational leader the district needs, board member Victoria Defenthaler said. She said she is looking forward to working with him and "hearing and seeing all the great things" he is going to bring to the school district. 

Chairperson Marsha Powers and Tony Anderson cast the dissenting votes. 

Three other candidates — Peter Licata, Lori Romano and Michael Dunsmore — also interviewed with the board, both in a group setting Wednesday and for one-on-one interviews Thursday. Forty-five candidates applied for the job. 

Candidates were interviewed for 1 ½ hours each, with board member questions ranging from student and employee success to culture and collaboration to financial stability and operations to priorities and accountability.

The board in January agreed to set the new superintendent's salary range — $145,000-$190,000, a 46% increase from Superintendent Laurie Gaylord's $130,223. 

Millay is expected to begin Nov. 17, when Gaylord's second term expires and after a new contract is negotiated and approved. 

This is the first time the district appointed, rather than elected, a new leader. The School Board was given that responsibility in 2018 after voters agreed to change the selection process. The board in October began that process. 

For Powers, the transition in leaders should be an easy one, despite the split vote. 

"Although we may disagree what the best decision is," she said, "we always support each other." 

More: More teachers in Indian River, Martin counties resign after schools reopened compared to 2019

More: Treasure Coast students, employees sent home to quarantine after possible COVID-19 exposures

Sommer Brugal is TCPalm's education reporter for Indian River, St Lucie and Martin counties. You can keep up with Sommer on Twitter @smbrugal and give her a call at 772-221-4231

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