ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – St. Johns County School District Deputy Superintendent Brennan Asplen on Tuesday was unanimously selected as the next superintendent of Sarasota County schools.
Asplen has worked for the St. Johns County School District as a principal and county administrator for 14 years.
“They’ve always been a great school district, done a fantastic job with their students, but I think they’re ready to move to the next level of greatness,” Asplen told News4Jax on Wednesday. “I can really bring that to the Sarasota school district and continue to move them in the right direction.”
Asplen said 31 candidates applied for the job to lead Sarasota County Schools, which was rated as an “A” school district in 2019.
“He’s a great listener, kind, and he wants to be in Sarasota County,” said board member Jane Goodwin, according to a report from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “He’s not looking at Sarasota County as a stepping stone to another area. His vision and his goals are in line with what we want.”
The Hearld-Tribune reported that board members liked Asplen because of his laid-back personality. Former superintendent Todd Bowden had regularly clashed with board members, according to the Hearld-Tribune.
Asplen will begin contract negotiations and is looking to transition to Sarasota in the next month, but his last day in St. Johns County had not been set as of Wednesday afternoon, he said.
Asplen added that he will miss his coworkers but is confident that St. Johns County can handle back-to-school plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic without him. It’s unclear who will take over his role in St. Johns County.
“This is an unprecedented time for all school systems, and I know that we have been working on our plan, creating our plan to transition back into school and reopening school, and it’s a challenge. Moving from one school district to another school district will be a challenge, but I know that the teams here in our district who are working on our plans are amazing and have done a great job of creating plans and communicating that out, that we will be able to reopen our school system very successfully,” Asplen said.
In March, Deputy Superintendent of Operations for St. Johns County schools Cathy Mittelstadt was chosen as Flagler County’s next school district superintendent.