School board to hold presentation with prospective future superintendent

Published 4:14 pm Friday, April 24, 2020

Carter County Schools will soon be getting a new superintendent.
Dr. Kevin Ward, the current superintendent who has served in the role since 2012, expressed interest last year in retirement, before agreeing to stay on for another year. Last fall the Board of Education went on to hire Wayne Qualls, a consultant with over 50 years experience in the education system, to aid in their search for his replacement.
The position went on to be advertised from late December until January of this year. A one-on-one meeting with potential candidates and board members went on to be held March 14 at Happy Valley High School. Here, members could write down their picks, not exceeding three.
Qualls said he was thankful the process managed to occur before the pandemic.
“We felt like we needed to proceed through this, and knowing all the stuff with the virus going on,” he said. “We didn’t know at the time it was going to lock us down, but as it turned out we were fortunate that we were able to do what we did at that time.”
Qualls said that the person who was the general choice for the majority of board members will be presenting to the board on April 30, with Qualls introducing him. This person is Tracy McAbee.
McAbee, as described by Qualls, is a diverse candidate, who has served in various roles for educational systems. These include serving as a bus driver, teacher, principal, board member and a supervisor. McAbee, who is currently in Polk County, also has three terminal degrees, including a doctorate.
“He just has a mirrored and very diverse skills/experience set,” he said.
Qualls said that McAbee is also someone who can understand East Tennessee culture.
“That’s another strength that he has, he understands the East Tennessee culture, and you know as well as I do that there’s different culture sets in different regions,” he said.
Should he end up being hired in, he will most likely move to the area.
Following the presentation next week, the official voting will take place in the month of May. The person to receive the position will begin July 1.

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