School board narrows field to 4 applicants

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The field of candidates for the next superintendent of Elizabethton City Schools was narrowed from six to four during a Board of Education workshop Monday night.

Board members briefly discussed the candidates before narrowing down the possibilities to four. They will now check to see whether each candidate is still interested in the position and check references before setting a date for interviews.

“I was impressed by the caliber of people who are interested in our school system,” chairwoman Rita Booher said.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Applicants that are still being considered for superintendent are:Current interim superintendent Corey

  • Current interim superintendent Corey Gardenhour. Gardenhour has worked with the ECS since 2006, starting as principal of West Side Elementary. He has also worked as director of alternative service, special education, special education transportation, personnel, pre-K-12 curriculum and instruction, response to intervention, guidance services, technology, testing k-12, early learning services, health and nursing services and data services and accountability.

Gardenhour received his bachelor’s of science in biology and chemistry and master’s in education from Milligan College. He received an education specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University in education administration and supervision and a doctorate in education from East Tennessee State University in education leadership and policy analysis.Thomas H. Graves, Abingdon, Va. For the past four

  • Thomas H. Graves, Abingdon, Va. For the past four months Graves has worked as a supervisor at Secor Inc. in Lebanon, Va. Graves started working as an educator in 1983 as a biology teacher and track and field coach in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He has since worked as an academic advisor, assistant principal, counselor, principal, assistant superintendent, director of facilities and logistics and educational consultant at various school systems in Alabama, Florida, Wyoming, Montana, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and South Carolina. He currently holds a teaching license in Virginia. He also worked as a criminal investigator in Auburn, Ala. from 1988-1991.

Graves earned his bachelor of science degree in secondary education and master’s degrees in secondary education, counseling psychology and educational administration and a doctorate in educational foundations, leadership and technology from Auburn University.

  • Myles Joseph Hebrard, Powell, Tenn. Hebrard is currently the principal of Claxton Elementary School in Anderson County, where he has served since 2008. Prior to that he was a pre-engineering teacher for seventh and eighth grade and an eighth grade Algebra and math teacher at Clinton Middle School in Anderson County from 2003-2008.

Hebrard has a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of Charleston. He received a master’s degree in special education, an education specialist degree in special education and administrative licensure in educational leadership and supervision from the University of Tennessee.

  • Blair Ferrell Henley, Bristol. Henley has served as the vice president of information services/chief technology officer at Tusculum College since June 2011 and as director of technology for the Niswonger Foundationís Northeast College and Career Ready Consortium since 2010. Henley has also worked as the career and technical education supervisor for Bristol Tennessee City School from 2003-2011; adjunct faculty at ETSU from 2008-2011; systems engineer with Intellithought Inc, in Kingsport from 2001-2003 and computer science teacher at Elizabethton High School from 1997-2001.

Henley has a bachelor’s degree from ETSU, a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Lincoln Memorial University and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from ETSU.

The board members all agreed the applicants for the position were all well-qualified. They chose the four finalists based on their areas of expertise.

All board members noted they had not heard a negative comment on Gardenhour during the time they were seeking input from the public.

Hebrard would made a good candidate because of his background in business and school administration, and Henley “brought something fresh” to the field with his background in technology, Tyler Fleming explained.

Graves was considered for his collaborative leadership style, along with his organizational skills, Susan Peters said.

Board members brainstormed some questions that could be asked of the applicant’s references to help get a better understanding of the individuals.

“This is an opportunity to set a new course and a new direction for the school system, which I think some people hope that is what we will do,” Grover May said. “This will set the course for the school system through the next decade. There are lots of positive changes that have occurred and we want to make sure those continue.”

Booher added the change in leadership was opening the “next chapter” for the system.

“This decision is exciting, and challenging and daunting,” she said.

Booher will now contact all the candidates to determine if they are still interested. Board members will contact the applicant’s references and will report back with the findings at a workshop on Monday at 6:30 p.m. The board will decide which of the four will continue on to interviews and set a date for those.