Board makes right choice in selecting Carpenter as new school superintendent

Published 3:24 pm Friday, June 10, 2022

The Carter County School Board, in our opinion, made the right choice this weekend in selecting Brandon Carpenter as the superintendent of schools.
Carpenter is home-grown and is a product of Carter County schools. He has spent his entire educational career in Carter County, both as a teacher and principal. He is also a coach. Carpenter has proven himself to be a capable leader.
As he steps into a new role as caretaker of county schools, it is a bigger stage than he has ever played on, but we think he is capable of producing results. The key role of leadership is moving an organization forward. What seems to have changed is our understanding of what effective leadership is all about. In the past, good leadership was really good management. The emphasis was on controlling, planning, and predictability. Today, it is becoming increasingly clear that effective leaders spend their time with a different focus — aligning people, motivating them, and creating useful change.
The role of school superintendent presents greater challengers than ever before. One of the greater challenges is preparing students for future leadership roles and as movers and shakers in the community they will one day inherit.
Leadership, at its core, is a very human activity, and qualities like honesty, fairness, and credibility are fundamental and recurrent themes regardless of the leadership situation involved.
The new superintendent and board are going to face difficult decisions in the future with a shrinking student population, aging schools, inflationary costs when it comes to school lunches and keeping school buses on the road. Another immediate issue on the agenda is the building of a new school at Hunter and the closing of Keenburg and Unaka Elementary Schools. School closings are always controversial especially in rural communities.
When COVID struck a couple of years ago, schools had to find new ways to teach students remotely, even to feed them in some situations. Who knows what the next superintendent may face. To steal a baseball terminology, the ball is now in his corner and he must call the balls and strikes.
We are encouraged that the board chose Carpenter, a product of local schools, for the job of superintendent. We believe whenever possible we should give our own local people the opportunity to serve. The board has placed its trust in Carpenter to make the best possible decisions for Carter County schools, its students, teachers, and other employees.
We support the new superintendent as he moves forward and we wish him the best as he steps into his new role in the next couple of weeks.

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