McGonegal Hard to Replace

Sarasota Herald Tribune, September 6, 2012 | Go to article overview

McGonegal Hard to Replace


Will top-notch candidates gamble on working for the Manatee School Board?

Tim McGonegal's announcement yesterday that he would resign as superintendent of Manatee's public schools was surprising but not shocking.

The official news release said McGonegal, 54, would retire -- effective in February -- for "personal reasons." One of those reasons, McGonegal told confidants, is a desire to focus on his health; that concern comes as news to the public but certainly justifies the superintendent's decision to reprioritize.

The stresses caused the job of superintendent are well known to anyone who grasps the fundamental responsibilities of the job.

Furthermore, it is painfully apparent that McGonegal cannot please two School Board members, who were elected in 2010 and have two more years left in their first term.

If the upcoming election adds another McGonegal critic, a majority of the five-member board would be tilted against him.

With those prospects in mind, it's no shock that professional and personal considerations led McGonegal to tender his resignation. The Herald-Tribune Editorial Board has been supportive of McGonegal as superintendent. We have admired his nonstop engagement with the community, front-line teachers, students and parents -- as well as his perseverance and compassion.

But we respect McGonegal's choice and hope that he fulfills his personal goals.

Since he became superintendent in January 2009 and assistant superintendent for the district's business operations in 2005, McGonegal has faced multiple challenges -- including precipitous declines in local and state revenues. …

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