By David Carroll

CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB)- The Cleveland City School Board has made its choice for a director of schools.  By a 5-2 vote, Board members Monday chose Dr. Martin Ringstaff of Bristol, Virginia over Dr. Damon Cathey of Kingsport, Tennessee.

Ringstaff is director of personnel and support services for the school system in Bristol. He holds degrees from Virginia Intermont College; George Washington University in Washington, D.C.; and Liberty University at Lynchburg, Va. He previously has served as a teacher and principal in Virginia schools.

Ringstaff describes himself as "brutally honest," and told Board members recently that he would "make every decision with the students in mind."  He stressed communication and good morale as features he would promote if selected to lead Cleveland schools, and praised Cleveland's recent advances in technology and community support.

The two Board members who voted for Dr. Cathey also praised Dr. Ringstaff, saying he would have the total support of the Board.  The new director will succeed Dr. Rick Denning, who is retiring at the end of the school year after 16 years on the job.