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Sarasota County School Board approves contract for new superintendent

 A man stands with his left hand on a bible and right hand raised as a judge swears him in. He is surrounded by his family and standing in front of a white sign reading Sarasota County Schools.
Sarasota County School Board
Sarasota County School's new superintendent is sworn in by Judge Maria Ruhl at a special meeting on Monday. Terrence Connor's contract was approved in a separate meeting in a 4-1 vote.

The Sarasota County School Board approved the contract for the new superintendent with a 4-1 vote during a special meeting on Monday. Terrence Connor was sworn into the position shortly after.

Sarasota County's new superintendent Terrence Connor officially began working on Monday after the school board approved his contract and he was sworn in by a judge.

Board Chair Bridget Ziegler was the only member who voted against Connor's contract. She supported another candidate, Charles Van Zant, who was backed by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

"I think that as it's well known to everyone else that I necessarily didn't support his position in here. I will tell you that I've had some wonderful conversations with him," Ziegler said. "I know he, this is no surprise to him, that I have no doubt that it would be the best thing for me if I look three years later and I have a foot in my mouth and say that I was completely wrong."

Connor said he was humbled by his appointment and acknowledged that this is an interesting time for public education.

There's been a lot more focus on school board elections and parents' rights and legislators have created new laws regarding what can and can't be taught in schools.

"Education right now is a very popular concept," he said. "That's a great thing, it's an awesome thing. It's an opportunity that I believe we need to capitalize on."

He said more parents interested in their children's education will help make Sarasota one of the best school districts in the state.

Connor would rely on accountability and transparency to improve the district's rating, he said.

"The way we build trust is the way we rebuild our credibility," Connor said.

His contract stipulates he will make $255,000 annually with an option to increase his salary next year.

A relocation reimbursement of up to $15,000 and a yearly bonus not to exceed $30,000 based on the board's evaluation of his performance is also included.

The contract expires June 30, 2026, but can be terminated early by a majority vote.

Nothing about my life has been typical. Before I fell in love with radio journalism, I enjoyed a long career in the arts in musical theatre.