The Hamilton County School Board did not reach an agreement on a firm to find candidates for a new superintendent. Five of the board members voted they were not ready to make a selection. The board narrowed it down to three national firms on Tuesday to find the perfect fit for Hamilton County Schools. But Thursday, they said they needed more time.
It was a split decision on the board. Chairman Steve Highlander said he was ready, but voted no to give others more time.
The newest school board members wanted to take more time in the search for a new superintendent. “If we want to get this right and do the right steps first to get there to find the person. If that would take 2 or 3 more months. I am okay with that,” said District 4 Board Member Tiffanie Robinson.
But four members were ready to move forward with the process. “If we put this back yet again, we're going to be in December or January before we can get this thing started,” said District 1 Board Member Rhonda Thurman.
Those who wanted to wait carried the vote. They said they needed more time to learn about the three national firms that are vying for the job. “I promised my district that we were going to get some change. I am willing to wait as long as I need to wait to get it,” said District 7 Board Member Joe Wingate.
Teachers, students, and community members also want to be involved in the search for new leadership. The community wants, “public access to candidates resumes, open interviews, community forum, and a community advisory council,” said the Executive Director of UnifiEd Jonas Barriere.
They believe the people who will have direct contact with the superintendent, should be a part of the process. “The superintendent critical figure in the community, and in our school system. The community sends their kids here, tax payers pay for the school. They have the right to make sure their voice is heard.”
But until then the search for a new leader is on hold until members are ready to vote on an outside firm. “Get our heads together and see what we have in common, how we want to work together to do this. We need to work as a unit and not separate,” said Chairman Steve Highlander.
Board members plan to have a retreat or work session to discuss what they want out of the firm, and the new superintendent.
Current Interim Superintendent Doctor Kirk Kelly told Channel 3 he plans to apply for the permanent position.