A tight timeline… Elizabethton City School Board meets to discuss open Director of School position

Published 2:23 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2020

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Faced with the task of hiring a new Director of Schools after current director Dr. Corey Gardenhour announced his intentions to resign at the end of June to take over as the Principal at Kingsport’s Ross Robinson Middle School, the Elizabethton School Board met in a called virtual meeting on Monday to review the process and timeline to move forward.
Current Board Chairman Rita Booher who will be sitting through her third hiring of a director stated, “We need to get things in order to start the process for the Superintendent search. We want to make sure that we are doing everything correctly.”
Booher and Debra Owens who serves as the lawyer for the school system have been taking time to go through and clean up the job posting which will be shared over multiple platforms as the new search begins.
The timeline that will be set hopes to have a new director identified and ready to take over at the beginning of a new school and budget year which starts on July 1, 2020.
Currently, the application process is set to begin on Tuesday, May 5th, and run through Tuesday, May 26th by the close of business which is 5 pm. All applications must be in before the deadline to be considered.
The next step on the timeline will be Felicia Baird assembling the packets for each applicant for the search committee. The search committee will be composed of teachers from each of the city schools plus a city council member and a business owner in the city.
On Thursday, May 28th, the search committee will receive the application packets from the Central Office to begin their review.
The board will make public notice on Friday, May 22nd on how they will decide to move forward to name the new director after the interview process which will take place on Saturday, June 13th.
According to the timeline, the search committee will select a chair for the committee, and review all the applications of candidates using the agreed-upon criteria, meet and discuss the candidates.
By Friday, the chair will submit a an adequate number of finalists to the Board to interview. On Monday, June 8th, the candidates selected to be interviewed will be contacted and interview times scheduled.
The board will have a called meeting to discuss the results of the stakeholder survey, choose questions to ask the candidates, and determine the formats for the interviews.
Finally, on Saturday, June 13th, the board will have public interviews for the candidates at the ECS Central Office which will be open to the public but with consideration of the Covid-19 recommendations for how many will be allowed to be present for the interviews.
The interviews will not be Livestreamed to ensure that no candidate will gain an advantage by listening to the questions being presented to those who are scheduled ahead of their interviews.No candidate can sit in on another interview.
Also, the stakeholder’s survey will be posted online at the Elizabethton School System website and is open to educators, parents or anyone else in the community to allow the Board to know what is important to the community in regard to the new director.
The board also approved interviewing internal candidates in the school system as long as they met the criteria of the expectations of the new director per board policy,
Although the number of candidates to be interviewed was not set, the board did stipulate that in the event for example if there were three internal candidates then there would also be the same number of external candidates interviewed.
The board also agreed that if from the initial list of candidates if they weren’t satisfied with the applicants’ interviews that more interviews could be extended to other qualified candidates.
Booher stated that the hope is that in the June board meeting the new superintendent could be named and ready to start the position on July 1st.
One stipulation that the board wanted to be clarified by Owens was if they could state it would be preferred for the new superintendent to live either in the city, county or within a certain distance of the school system and if they had children that they would attend school within the city.
Booher was to check with Owens before the position was posted on Tuesday.

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