Governor appoints McQueen as new BDS Superintendent

WMBB | By Stephen Grothman and Cortney Evans | July 27, 2023

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Earlier Wednesday evening Governor Ron DeSantis appointed outgoing Panama City city manager Mark McQueen to complete the rest of Bill Husfelt’s Bay District Schools Superintendent term.

Mark McQueen said he found out he was going to be the next superintendent about half an hour before everyone else received the news.

“When I was notified today from the Governor’s office I certainly was humbled and honored that he would select me to do this, there’s nothing more important in our community than our children and to entrust the care of their education to me and the team that we have at Bay District Schools is humbling,” McQueen said.

The man who built that team, Bill Husfelt, spent his entire education career in Bay County, winning his first term as superintendent in 2008. Back on February 1st, he announced he was stepping down on July 31st, before the end of his term in 2024.

That left Gov. Ron DeSantis 6-months to either hold a special election or appoint someone, and with less than a week left, he appointed McQueen. He’ll take over August 1st, with the first day of classes beginning August 10th.

“There’s a lot that I need to learn in a short period of time and I know that the team at Bay District Schools will help to help me to know those things that are really shortcomings, I have no preconceived ideas, I want to look at everything and see how we can do better,” McQueen said.

McQueen has spent most of his professional career in the U.S. Army, serving for 36 years and retiring as a Major General. In 2018 he became Panama City’s city manager. He said he’ll rely on that leadership experience to lead the school district.

“I’m looking forward to applying those skills and knowledge and abilities that I’ve created from being a city manager to be able to apply it as the superintendent for the school system, I had a 36-year military career and I think I know how to lead large organizations,” McQueen said.

McQueen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, a Master’s in Counseling and Human Development, and a Master’s in Strategic Studies. Although education is not his background, he said his wife Karen was a teacher for 30 years and his now-grown children attended Bay District Schools.

“I know some of the issues that teachers are facing, and I’m looking forward to helping to address those and certainly parents have rights and I want to make sure that those are upheld and at the end of the day, I think we all want what’s best for children to have the best education, to set them up to be great citizens in the future,” McQueen said.

One thing for certain is he wants to make Bay District Schools a competitive school system.

“Finding ways to help the school system continue to achieve and actually excel to be in the top tier of the schools within the state of Florida and there’s no reason not to be there,” McQueen said.

McQueen said when he submitted his resignation as city manager in May, it had nothing to do with his application for the superintendent’s job.

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