School board receives nine resumes for new director

Published 9:19 am Tuesday, April 7, 2015

After weeks of searching, the Elizabethton City School system has collected resumes from interested applicants to be the next superintendent of the city schools.

The system received nine resumes from applicants, Elizabethton Board of Education chairwoman Rita Booher said. Since then, one has withdrawn from the search, leaving the board with eight resumes to consider.

“These are all quality individuals,” Booher said. “This is a manageable number to consider. We have some really good people here.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Board member Tyler Fleming asked if the board would like to extend the search to allow more resumes to be sent in.

Grover May responded, saying while there were not a large number of applicants, after reading the resumes, he believes the ones in the group are well-qualified.

“There is not one that I look at and think they would make a bad director of schools,” May said.

The board will now review the resumes they have received and decide if they want to extend the search during a workshop session at 6 p.m. prior to the school board meeting on Thursday night, April 16.

During Monday’s workshop session, the board hosted a public forum to hear from citizens and school system employees about what qualities they would like to see in the next superintendent.

Elizabethton High School French teacher Lisa-Dawn Smith was the only one to speak at the forum. Smith told the board she was sharing the collective feelings of the teachers at EHS.

Smith encouraged the board to consider all applicants equally before making the decision about who would be the next leader of the city schools.

“The perception is the outcome has been decided long before the proceedings begin,” she said. “I conducted an informal survey and a major concern is for this process to be open and fair. All candidates should be given fair consideration. Don’t go into this already knowing who the winner is because that is the perception in the system and the community for the last several leaders we have had.”

Smith then shared a list of attributes the EHS faculty had made of the current interim superintendent Corey Gardenhour. Gardenhour was found to have excellent communication skills and to be fair, extremely professional and a great team player, Smith said.

“He has a great vision for the school system,” Smith said. “His ideas seem to be well thought out and he is extremely approachable. He visits and is in our classrooms, not to micromanage what we do, but to say hello. He sees what we are doing. We know he cares about the students and he cares about our teachers. His honesty and transparency are qualities that are most important to us.”

The board should also be more open with the workshop proceedings, Smith said. She suggested board members attend a faculty workshop at EHS like they did at other schools, gain more input from teachers and give more notice in advance of workshops.

Booher explained the board members could not make it to the last EHS faculty meeting because of snow but planned to come to the next one. Each school was also given envelopes where teachers could submit their own list of qualifications – anonymously, if they prefer.

As for the workshops, the meeting was advertised weeks in advance, May said, and the Monday email was a reminder for the workshop.

“It was awkward timing,” Booher said. “We had missed a couple of weeks for snow and then we were coming right off of spring break. We want the people to know that we are listening to them and we care about what they have to say.”

The board will host the next superintendent search workshop on Monday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m.