City schools begin search for director

Published 9:42 am Friday, January 23, 2015

Star Photo/Brandon Hicks Dr. Grover May

The Elizabethton Board of Education has launched its search for the city’s next Director of Schools.
The board met in a workshop session Thursday to work out some of the details for the superintendent search. During the session, the group agreed on how it would conduct the search and set up some of the guidelines that would be in place after the applications have been received.
The board decided to conduct the superintendent search instead of having the Tennessee School Board Association or another consulting agency do it.
Board member Grover May said he contacted the TSBA for a quick estimate on what it would cost for it to conduct the search and found it would range from $30,000 to $150,000, depending on the scope of the search.
Board members then agreed they could conduct the search themselves as was done the last time a superintendent was hired.
“Last time, we did this ourselves and it was not an insurmountable task,” Board Chairwoman Rita Booher said.
The board members also agreed spending that amount of money would not be the best use of the taxpayers’ money.
The board has a step-by-step guideline for the search process.
“The guideline is very thorough,” board member Susan Peters said. “I’m not comfortable spending that kind of money when it seems like we can do this ourselves.”
After reaching a consensus on the issue of the search, the group turned its attention to other details.
The board has until June 30 to select a new superintendent. During the January school board meeting, the board unanimously approved a contract with interim superintendent Corey Gardenhour, which will expire June 30.
The search will proceed as follows:
– The board will advertise the opening for four to six weeks, ending in mid-March.
– The board then will examine the applications and narrow the field down to the final candidates to bring in for interviews.
– The board will seek input from parents, teachers and the community. Booher told the board a teacher has recommended that each school board member attend a school staff meeting to hear from the teachers what qualities or experiences they felt would be necessary in the next director. May suggested the board include parents, teachers or system administrators in the committee process.
– The board will review the resumes and score them, based on who they believe to be the most qualified. Resumes will be submitted blind to the reviewers with only the candidates’ experience and qualifications listed, not their names, locations or other similar information, May said.
“At the end of the day, it is our responsibility to select the best person for the job,” May said. “We will be held accountable for who we hire, and I want us to make the right decision.”
The board’s next superintendent search workshop is Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m.

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