Editorial — School board taps Steele for tough challenge

The Indian River Board of Education appointed Mark Steele as the District’s full-time superintendent at their regular board meeting on Monday, March 27.

Steele, who was named acting superintendent in January after Susan Bunting left to become the state’s secretary of education, has been with the Indian River School District (IRSD) since 1981, and was previously assistant superintendent from 2013 to 2017. He took over in between referendum attempts earlier this year, and was considered by many to be the main reason that second referendum passed after he basically went door-to-door to community organizations, and staged Facebook Live conversations where he could address people’s concerns directly.

This is a smart move by the Board of Education.

Steele has deep roots in both the community and the district, and has consistently been a public champion of both. His dedication to the students and staff of the schools has been obvious in his public statements on the future of the district, still hamstrung by a loss of state monies even with that succesful referendum.

He is, in short, exactly what the IRSD needs right now — a public cheerleader who is willing to put in the work to help give our area students the best possible education they can obtain under difficult budget restraints.

We applaud the Board for making this hire official, and to Mark Steele for accepting the job despite the daunting task ahead of him. It won’t be easy, but Steele appears to us to be the right choice.