Rick Mills Selected As Manatee Schools Superintendent

Rick Mills is set to replace Tim McGonegal, who abruptly resigned in September, leaving the school system in a dire financial situation.

Updated 7:35 p.m.

The School District of Manatee County has a new superintendent from Minneapolis, pending signing a contract.

The Manatee County School Board selected Rick Mills, who is the Minneapolis Public School District CEO, on Wednesday. Mills accepted the offer via phone call, according to School Board Chairwoman Karen Carpenter.

The School Board is now forming a contract for the superintendent, looking at sample contracts from area superintendents, including Lori White from Sarasota County Schools. The chairwoman, Carpenter, will be left with negotiating.

School board members voted 4-1 in favor of selecting Mills. School board member Barbara Harvey dissented.

Performance goals and an evaluation system will be included in the new contract, the school board decided. The school board is still going through stipulations of what they want to include in the contract—residency, relocation expenses, expectations.

The first draft of the contract will be reviewed Thursday at 4 p.m.

"I want to enter this contract with high expectations of this superintendent," Carpenter said, but doesn't want to create a "knee-jerk" contract as a result of what has happened to the school system.

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So, who is Rick Mills? According to his biography from Minneapolis Schools, he oversaw Chicago Public Schools' military schools, served in the U.S. Army and was a political-military adviser the the Commander-in-Chief, and was the deputy chief of plans and policy for the United Nations in Jerusalem.

Mills holds a Master of Arts degree in business from Webster University in St. Louis and a Master of Arts Degree in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Mills replaces Tim McGonegal, who suddenly resigned in September, leaving the Manatee School District in a financial mess, prompting an audit of the school's balance sheet.

McGonegal joined the Manatee County School District in January 2002 as Assistant Director of Finance. He was named Director of Finance in June 2004 and promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Business Services in February 2005.

McGonegal, who made $171,000, replaced Dr. Roger Dearing, who served as Superintendent in Manatee County from 2003 to 2009. Dearing left Manatee County to become the Executive Director of the Florida High School Athletic Association.

David Gayler, a former schools chief in Charlotte County, is serving as interim superintendent.

Related Coverage:

  • School District Superintendent Interview Set for This Week
  • Charlotte County's Former Schools Chief Offered Interim Role in Manatee
  • Schools to Undergo Independent Audit as Gagnon Named Interim Superintendent
  • Budget Mistakes Lead to Large Deficit for Schools
  • School Board To Pull Community Together in Superintendent Search
  • School Superintendent Announces Retirement

Staff reports were used in this story.


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