Hole in resume may trip finalist

A candidate for school superintendent will have to explain a yearlong gap and a tirade.

Published March 8, 2007

BROOKSVILLE - On paper, the candidate makes a strong case to be Hernando County's next school superintendent.

According to the resume he sent the School Board, Craig Bangtson has served for 26 years as a superintendent, including 10 years in Kentucky and three years in Georgia.

He's one of six finalists to succeed retiring superintendent Wendy Tellone, and is being flown from his Kentucky home to Brooksville for interviews beginning Wednesday.

But it turns out Bangtson's been sending out a lot of resumes in recent years, and they're not all the same.

His Hernando application said he began work on July 1, 2002, in Bartow County, Ga., and worked there continuously until June 1, 2005.

But another resume he sent to Pulaski County, Ark., lists him as "retired" from July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003, and "looking to start a second retirement in another state."

Reached by telephone, Bangtson admitted that he didn't work in the Georgia district for three years. And he said the resume he sent to Hernando didn't account for a year between jobs.

"Yeah, it looks that way," he said, adding that the discrepancy might jeopardize his status as a finalist.

"But you're not the School Board," he added. "That's their decision. I'm just applying for a job."

Sources in Georgia said Bangtson lasted 18 months - not three years - in the Georgia district, before being forced out by the School Board in a 3-0 vote after he allegedly swore and ranted at a high school committee.

According to the Daily Tribune newspaper in Cartersville, Bangtson was hired as an interim superintendent of the 15,000-student district in June 2003.

By May of 2004, a Tribune headline said, "Bangtson admits to cursing during council meeting."

The tirade prompted a letter of complaint by Bartow County Probate Judge Mitchell Scoggins, who had attended the meeting.

There was more in October, when the paper said he had referred to a principal as a "pipsqueak" and a "prima donna." The School Board voted 3-0 to "relieve him of his duties" without firing or suspending him, it reported.

Tribune reporter Jon Gargis told the St. Petersburg Times the district voted that November to terminate its employment agreement with the superintendent, paying his salary and benefits through March 2005.

Scoggins said it was clear to him that Bangtson hadn't served in the county three full years.

"I don't think he was there but 12 months or 18 months," he recalled. "It just didn't work out."

And was Bangtson actually fired?

"It depends who you ask," Gargis said, with a chuckle.

Several Hernando board members said the resume discrepancies, if true, should disqualify him from his status as a finalist.

"He had an impressive resume," said board member Jim Malcolm.

"If it's incorrect, I don't want to waste more time on him."

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or 352 848-1431.