Fore Note: I was there and I don't remember politics playing any role in our decision.
Bartlett finalist endured rocky tenure atop Loudon County school system
Wayne Honeycutt, one of the finalists for the Bartlett schools superintendent post, left his job as director of Loudon County Schools not of his own choosing, but after the school board decided not to renew his contract.
The action in 2011 came after Honeycutt received a less-than-stellar performance evaluation, according to media reports at the time. Honeycutt received a score of 2.2 out of a possible 5 in his final evaluation, according to a story in the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
Honeycutt, who lists a consulting firm as his current occupation, said Thursday he was caught in a political turnover that left him with few allies on the East Tennessee county school board. A month after the board voted unanimously to hire him as superintendent in July 2008, four members were defeated in elections. Two years later, two more members decided not to run again.“I knew that I probably wasn’t in good shape a month after I got there,” Honeycutt said Thursday.
Honeycutt was one of three finalists announced Wednesday night for the Bartlett school superintendent post. David Hill, director of academic operations for the Diocese of Memphis Catholic Schools, and David Stephens, deputy superintendent for Shelby County Schools, are the other two finalists brought to the school board by Southern Educational Strategies, the consultants who have worked with the suburb on developing a municipal school system.
The school board is expected to hold public interviews with the finalists next week.
Honeycutt, who also served as superintendent for two school systems in Illinois, also was assistant superintendent for Roane County Schools from 1990-2000. The Loudon County system had nine schools and about 5,500 students. Bartlett’s system is projected to have 11 schools with slightly more than 9,000 students — the largest of the six new municipal systems.
In his resume, Honeycutt opens his qualifications by saying he is a “[s]olutions-oriented and highly competent professional known for administering effective programs that promote cross-cultural interaction toward organizational and educational growth.” He cites his strengths as student progress in testing and evaluation, student motivation and parental involvement, budget development, communication and interpersonal skills. Honeycutt says he still feels like he’s still a teacher. “I’ve just got a different job in the school system.”
But those characteristics have not translated into hiring's. Honeycutt, who has unsuccessfully sought several superintendent jobs in recent years, acknowledges his departure from Loudon County could be a factor in those decisions. “People need to realize that’s not an uncommon occurrence. That happens quite a bit,” Honeycutt said of not having his contract renewed, adding that even his detractors gave him high marks on honesty and working with people.
Honeycutt, who lives in Lenoir City, said the short time frame to start up the new Bartlett system by next summer “is going to be a challenge.” However, he said the overseeing the merger of two Illinois systems and his experience as a superintendent will benefit him.