STUART, Fla. — The Martin County School District may soon be searching for a new superintendent after the current leader Dr. John Millay, announced his resignation during Tuesday's school board meeting.
"This letter serves as my official notification that I plan to resign my position as superintendent of the Martin County schools," Millay, 52, said to the board. "It's been a true blessing and an honor to serve on this appointed role."
The news caught board members and parents like Melissa Burke by surprise.
"I think it's a real loss to Martin County schools and I'm really sad today as a parent," Burke said. "I'm worried about what it's going to look like for the next couple of years as a parent."
Burke praised Millay for his involvement in the schools and what he's been able to accomplish in just two-and-a-half short years.
"So the main difference that've seen is that Dr. Millay brings everybody up," Burke said. "And our ELA (English Language Arts) program at the high-affluent neighborhoods is the same at the Title I schools finally. That's the biggest difference I've seen. I've seen the differences alone from his academic experience, which was a little hectic with an elected school board, and I've seen the difference in continuity since Dr. Millay has taken over."
Millay was hired in September 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic as the district's first appointed superintendent. Voters made the change from an elected one in 2018.
He served a similar role at a school district in Kentucky before taking the job in Martin County, replacing Laurie Gaylord, who retired after serving eight years.
Millay is thankful for all the families he's met in his time at MCSD.
"You know, I kind of look at the future," Millay said. "We'll see what the all the different options are, but what I see first and foremost is finishing the school year strong, making sure our kids are taken care of. We end the year on a positive note, just like we do each month. My focus is not on further, it's just on taking care of our kids doing right by our schools, so that's what my attention will be on."
Millay said after 30 years of experience in schools, the timing was just right.
"It's 20 hours a day," Millay said. "It is constantly you know if you get that little bit of sleep, you're lucky. You wake up thinking all the pressure, so it's a lot. You know, that's just the reality. It's a big job, but I'm grateful."
The superintendent said he's giving the board enough time to find a new successor. His last day is June 30.
Board members said they plan to speak with him privately.
"What we as a board need to do is, if we want to keep him, we need to show that we value him, we support him and we need to be doing some kind of contract instead of being accepting of something like this," Christia Roberts said. "At this point in time, it's highly disruptive. I can't see what we're going to do. I can see that we're going to go backwards on a lot of things that we've been managing to make progress on, and I just don't see that it's a positive thing for the school district or for Martin County."
Millay said he plans to stay in Martin County but isn't sure what he'll do next.
He had a three-and-a-half-year contract that paid him $170,000 annually.
The school district has 18,000 students in 12 elementary, five middle and three high schools, as well as three special centers, four preschool centers and two adult education campuses.