The School Board of Sarasota County in Florida has selected Terry Connor, a member of the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs leadership development program, to lead Sarasota County Schools, a district of 46,000 students. Connor is currently deputy superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools in greater Tampa, the nation’s seventh-largest school system.
“I am grateful to the board for choosing me to lead the schools in this wonderful community,” Connor said. “I share the district’s vision for keeping learning at the center of everything we do and have seen the great things that can happen when educators and families are committed to doing that. Together, I know we will work to help all of our students succeed and can make Sarasota County Schools No. 1 in the state.”
Connor has been a senior cabinet member in two Florida school systems. As chief academic officer and, prior to that, chief of secondary education for Clay County District Schools, he played a leading role in taking that district from 20th on the Florida state rankings to 8th. More recently, as deputy superintendent in Hillsborough County, he has helped take that district from 36th to 19th. Hillsborough County has also achieved a record-high graduation rate; increased the number of students earning industry recognized certifications to lead the state in this category; and reduced the number of persistently low-performing schools. In addition, Connor helped to expand dual language and Spanish immersion programs and increased access to rigorous coursework. He emphasizes the importance of sound strategic planning, data-driven decision making, and evidence-based instructional practices to ensure all children receive the high-quality education they need to thrive.
“I am thrilled for Sarasota County; the school board could not have selected a better leader,” said Addison Davis, the superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools and a member of Chiefs for Change. “Terry has contributed significantly to our work here in Hillsborough County and has helped create the conditions that are allowing our students and teachers to make great strides. We will miss him, but know that his student-centered leadership will drive positive progress for our Florida Gulf Coast neighbors.”
Connor is a member of the current cohort of the Future Chiefs program. Through the program, Chiefs for Change, a bipartisan network of state and district education leaders from across the United States, identifies talented, diverse emerging leaders and integrates them into a community of practice. Future Chiefs receive coaching and mentorship from superintendents, commissioners, and education system CEOs and participate in a variety of other relevant learning opportunities. To learn more about the Future Chiefs program, click here.
Connor began his career as a science teacher and also worked as a principal and assistant principal. He has a master’s of administration and management from Nova Southeastern University and a bachelor’s from the University of North Florida.