The No. 2 administrator in Minneapolis Public Schools is a finalist for a superintendent job in Florida.
Rick Mills is one of six finalists named for Manatee County Schools, a 45,000-student district located near Tampa Bay.
His decision to seek to head a larger district than Minneapolis comes less than two years after Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson named him her deputy superintendent.
His title had to be switched to chief executive officer after Mills lacked the required license to serve as a school administrator under Minnesota law. He recently earned a superintendent license through an alternative process that involves compiling a portfolio reviewed by a panel of superintendents under the state Board of School Administrators.
Mills, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, said in a statement he has ties to the Tampa area because he served for four years in the area at the U.S. Central Command. He worked as a district administrator in Chicago public schools before Minneapolis hired him.
“If this opportunity were not to come to fruition, I would be equally content and committed to continuing my service here,” Mills said in a prepared statement.
Johnson hired Mills after a consultant said she was spread too thinly in her managerial responsibilities. The gaffe in naming Mills her deputy without proper licensing meant that he couldn’t serve as acting superintendent in her absence or supervise associate superintendents. Mills now has responsibility over other high administrators in such areas as planning, academics, finance and administration.