STUART, Fla. — For the first time ever, the new Martin County School District Superintendent is being appointed rather than elected.
Back in 2018, voters decided to hand over the hiring authority to the school board.
"I think right now we want to safely get through COVID," Dr. John Millay said. "We want all of parents and students to feel safe. Our teachers are doing a great job. We want to make sure that we're supporting them."
Millay's three-and-a-half-year contract, that will pay him $170,000 annually, will begin Nov. 17.
He'll also receive a district vehicle for all school-related business.
"We're going to keep supporting all of our staff, all of our students for whatever lies ahead," Millay said. "But I do feel the future is bright and we'll work back to a new sense of normal."
Millay will work alongside current Superintendent Laurie Gaylord beginning this month and will be officially sworn in next month.
"I do believe that the children are becoming adapted to the new situation at school," substitute teacher Shannon Chapman said.
Chapman said she has two elementary-aged sons who go to school in Martin County and that she is looking forward to Millay's promise to be a hands-on superintendent.
"I think it's important to have that face-to-face time with everyone across the board," she said. "The district is very large"
A parent of three himself, Millay said he can relate to most families' concerns and that he's ready to get to work.
"It's about building relationships," Millay said. "It's always building bridges between district and the schools, making those relationships where we have great schools, where they feel inviting for our parents."
Most recently, Millay was a superintendent in Meade County, Kentucky, for 14 years. He said over the course of his 27-year career in education, he's served in roles that include a middle school special education teacher and an elementary school principal.