Acting principals named for Wilkinson and Venice elementary schools

Former Wilkinson principal asked to work full-time on task force researching elementary schools’ achievement gap

Ruth Thomas. Contributed photo
Ruth Thomas. Contributed photo

Acting principals will lead Wilkinson and Venice elementary schools from Jan. 4, when school resumes after winter break, through the end of the 2015-16 school year in June, the Sarasota County School District has announced.

“Superintendent Lori White has assigned Wilkinson Principal Ruth Thomas to the Task Force on the Achievement Gap in Elementary Schools, which was formed in February to research and address the gap in academic achievement between white and minority students,” a news release says. Thomas has been a member of that task force since its inception, the release notes; White said she believes the district’s students and parents will best be served by Thomas working full-time on the task force until Thomas’ planned retirement in June.

Thomas, who began her career with the Sarasota County School District in 1977, was named principal of Wilkinson in 2006, the release continues. She also has served as assistant principal at Wilkinson, Emma E. Booker and Phillippi Shores elementary schools and at Booker Middle School, it notes.

William Muth has been named acting principal of Wilkinson, the release continues. Muth, who was principal of Wilkinson from 1986 to 2006, also served as principal of Ashton Elementary from 2006 until his retirement in 2012, the release adds.  

“We are looking forward to having Ruth bring her energy and experience to the Task Force on the Achievement Gap,” said Laura Kingsley, the district’s executive director of elementary schools, in the release. “Her talents and insight will help us accomplish great things for the district’s 16,000 elementary students.”

Bill Muth
Bill Muth. Contributed photo

In other personnel news, the release points out that Venice Elementary Principal Theresa Baus has retired from the district; her last day was Dec. 18. She became principal of that school in 2002 after serving as assistant principal at Lakeview Elementary from 1997 to 2001, the release says. Baus also taught at Brentwood and Tuttle elementary schools; her career with the Sarasota County Schools began in 1978, the release notes.

Al Bezilla will be acting principal at Venice Elementary, the release continues. He has served in that role for the district at several elementary schools, including Emma E. Booker, Phillippi Shores, Fruitville and Glenallen, the release adds.

“In the spring, parents and staff at Wilkinson and Venice Elementary will be invited to participate in meetings held at the schools” to determine the qualities they would like to see in their schools’ next principals, the release points out. New principals at both schools are expected to be named by late spring, so they can begin work by July 1, the release says.