Corey Gardenhour selected superintendent of city schools

Published 12:15 pm Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Corey Gardenhour

Dr. Corey Gardenhour has been selected to be the new permanent director of the Elizabethton City Schools.

The Elizabethton Board of Education voted unanimously to select Gardenhour during a called meeting Wednesday morning. The board cited strong faculty and community support, as well as Gardenhour’s performance as interim director, as deciding factors in the decision.

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As superintendent, Gardenhour said he will work to prepare students for their future while focusing on bringing the city school system to place of leadership in the community.

“My focus will be fulfilling our mission and vision, which is to prepare our students for the global competition they will have for a high paying career and a fulfilling life,” Gardenhour said. “We can do this if we work together. I feel blessed that the board has selected me as their next superintendent.”

Board members stated they were impressed with Gardenhour’s performance as interim and found the faculty and staff to be supportive of him during the transition. For Susan Peters, this widespread support was one of the lead factors in her decision for Gardenhour.

“I have heard from many people in the system who have praised his leadership skills, his integrity, his vision and his way of dealing with personnel,” Peters said. “He is a person who is willing to do what is right, and he listens to everyone. This, to me, is of the utmost importance considering the climate in past years. He believes in a team approach to decision making, but is also willing to make the tough decisions and stand by them.”

Tyler Fleming said he was “quite overwhelmed” by the support shown for Gardenhour during his interim period. Grover May described Gardenhour’s performance as “impeccable.”

“He has been a breath of fresh air for the school system,” May said. “I have not been met with any negative comments about him.”

Gardenhour hopes to bring about a new positive, community-based focus for the school system.

“I would like to announce the strife of the past years is over,” he said. “It is a closed chapter for us. All of our energies now must be focused on taking care of our students and each other and pushing ourselves to the limit on behalf of our kids. Our children are watching how we operate in this community, and in a few short years will be leading our community. It is time for Elizabethton City Schools to take that leadership role in our community.”

Peters also addressed concerns from the community that the decision on the next superintendent was a “foregone” conclusion before the search process started.

“I know many people in town have thought that this decision was made quite some time ago,” she said. “It wasn’t; far from it. We’ve all worked very hard and listened to many people in the past several months. We had two very qualified candidates before us.”

Gardenhour will now work with board chairwoman Rita Booher to work out a contract. The goal is to have the contract finalized before the school board meeting on May 21.