School leaders discuss search for director

Greg Wilkerson News Herald

The Loudon County School Board members began discussions regarding the search for a new director of schools Tuesday night.

The person hired will take over the system's top position when current director Wayne Honeycutt's contract expires this summer.

Randall Bennett with the Tennessee School Boards Association gave a presentation to the board, detailing the service the organization provides to members to help with the search for a director.

The plan, at a cost of $5,000, would provide advertising and recruiting of candidates among other services. A second plan extended the service to include conducting up to ten meetings with community groups among other items at a cost of $8,500.

Ultimately not enough votes were cast to approve hiring TSBA Tuesday night.

Board Members Van Shaver and William Jenkins voted against using TSBA. Members Scott Newman and Lisa Russell abstained from voting and members Bill Marcus, Gary Ubben, Ric Best, Craig Simon and Leroy Tate voted in favor. Board Member Bobby Johnson Jr. was not present at the special called meeting that followed the presentation.

Russell asked if it would be appropriate for her to suggest a local candidate for the position, which could eliminate the need for a search, though others on the board suggested the called meeting was not the time for such a motion.

Ubben suggested hiring someone locally may be the right choice, but that person could be part of a larger process that provided a larger pool of applicants.

He said going with TSBA provided the board with credibility both for the public and those applying for the position and helps with the amount of time necessary to properly do a search. "This is a time consuming process to do it well," he said.

Ubben also expressed TSBA brings a level of expertise to the board when conducting the search.

After the presentation by Bennett and prior to the start of the called meeting, Tate suggested waiting on holding the meeting out of concern the proper public notification wasn't given. He also suggested holding off on the board meeting that followed.

Newman, board chairman, went forward with both meetings and suggested the proper procedure for providing pubic notice be looked into by the central office staff.

Shaver supported continuing with both meetings Tuesday night, saying unless someone challenges the board in court, it will not make any difference if the notice was properly given.