McAbee makes top three for Hamblen County Superintendent position

Published 5:31 pm Thursday, March 24, 2022

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
Carter County Director of Schools Dr. Tracy McAbee is one of three finalists for the Hamblen County Superintendent of Schools position.
The finalists were reported by the Citizen Tribune Newspaper of Morristown and also include Arnie Bunch and Dr. Greg Brown.
Tony Garland, Carter County Board of Education Chairman, said Wednesday that McAbee had contacted each board member to let them know he was submitting his name for consideration of the position.
“From my understanding, Dr. McAbee was invited to speak to the Hamblen County Board of Education about the middle college idea that he brought with him to Carter County when he came, and they really took a liking to him when he shared the information with them,” said Garland.
The position came open after current Hamblen County Superintendent Dr. Jeff Perry announced plans to retire at the end of the school year.
McAbee came to Carter County schools in the 2019-2020 school year prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and saw the district through the task of educating students in remote learning.
He also implemented middle college into the school system with the help of his administration.
Should McAbee be given the position, the timing of the transition would be challenging for the county’s BOE.
“First of all, I got the guidelines from … the Tennessee Secondary Schools Association,” said Garland. “Those guidelines state that we can’t do anything 45 days before the Aug. 4 General Election and 30 days afterward which is a 75-day period that we can’t do anything.
“We cannot dismiss a director or hire a director during that time period. We have a lot going on and you cannot have a vacated director’s seat period. We would have to name an interim director until at such time we go through a selection process to select someone because there are duties that only a director can do and a school system cannot be without one. We would either look for an internal person or bring a retired or former director in to hold the fort down until such a time one is named.”
Garland said there is a possibility the school board could develop a shortlist of candidates before having to take a hiatus due to the election.
“The salary base offered by Hamblen County would be nearly double the $96,000 that we pay him now,” said Garland. “It would be hard for anyone to turn down that kind of opportunity if he was offered the position.”
The candidates will visit Hamblen County on April 6 with interviews on April 7, starting with a meet-and-greet at 5 p.m. and interviews at 6 p.m.

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