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Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Lori White has named a Manatee County middle school principal as the next leader of Heron Creek Middle School in North Port, the school district has announced. Matthew Gruhl, 39, is scheduled to begin the job July 1, pending approval by the School Board of Sarasota County, a news release explains. He will succeed Interim Principal Candace Dearing, who has led the school since January. Heron Creek Middle School has about 870 students, the release adds. "I am so excited to serve the students, teach- ers, parents and community of Heron Creek Middle School," said Gruhl in the release. Gruhl has served as principal of Buffalo Creek Middle School in Palmetto since June 2009, the release continues. He worked closely with school staff and parents to identify goals and areas needing improvement and successfully reduced discipline referrals, the release says. From December 2006 to June 2009, Gruhl was an assistant principal at Bayshore High School in Bradenton. From June 2004 to December 2006, he was assistant principal at Seven Springs Middle School in Trinity in Pasco County. Gruhl also has experience as a teacher and coach, the release notes. From 2001 to 2004, he was a social studies teacher at Electa Lee Magnet Arts Middle School in Bradenton. During the 1999-2000 school year, he taught world history and economics at Port St. Lucie High School, and during the 1998-99 school year, he taught in the pre-International Baccalaureate program at Lincoln Park Academy in Fort Pierce, the release says. At Port St. Lucie High and Lincoln Park Academy, Gruhl was an assistant basket- ball coach. He holds an Education Specialist degree in educational leadership and a Master of Science degree in social science educa- tion from the University of South Florida, along with a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology and social studies teaching from Francis Marion University in Florence, SC. He attended the latter university on a full bas- ketball scholarship. Gruhl and his wife, Martye, have two sons, Nathaniel, 8, and Stryker, 7, the release adds. % NEW PRINCIPAL NAMED FOR HERON CREEK MIDDLE SCHOOL Matthew Gruhl/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 23, 2014 Page 89

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