Loudon school board moves toward new chief

Members mull hiring consultants to help replace Honeycutt

By Hugh G. Willett Knoxville News Sentinel


The Loudon County Board of Education on Thursday took the first steps toward replacing current schools Director Wayne Honeycutt.

In September the board voted not to extend Honeycutt's contract, which expires June 30. Under the terms of the contract, the board was required to take action by Dec. 31 to extend the contract. Lack of action by the board was essentially a termination notice to the director.

While Honeycutt sat quietly and listened, the board discussed the timeline for the search for his replacement, debating whether to hire an outside consultant to help manage the process.

Board Chairman Scotty Newman said the board could manage the process itself or hire an outside consultant to advertise the position and select qualified applicants. Cost of such a consultant would be about $4,000, Newman said.

The board, which used a consultant to manage the process by which Honeycutt was hired in 2008, was divided on the subject.

Board members Van Shaver and Lisa Russell said they favored handling the process in-house.

"Ultimately, it's us here in this room that have to make the decision," Shaver said.

Board member Bill Marcus said he preferred to hire an outside consultant because the consultant would have access to the greatest pool of qualified applicants.

"I think we need a third party," Marcus said.

Board member Gary Ubben said he thought the most important factor in making the search a success would be the number of high-quality applicants attracted. He suggested that the board request that the Tennessee School Board Association assist with the search.

Board member Bobby Johnson Jr. said he was concerned about reports he received from another school system that used TSBA.

"I heard they were pushing their own candidates. They were recommending the applicants that they wanted," he said.

Board member Leroy Tate suggested that the board ask several search consultants to present their qualifications and to explain what they have to offer. The board agreed to set up a meeting with search consultants before the end of the month.