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SCHOOL PATROL

Superintendent search firm meets with community stakeholders

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Two representatives from Coleman Lew and Associates arrived to Hamilton County Department of Education early, to begin what they call a "Listening tour."

Last month was the first time the board spoke with Coleman about the specifics of the search and what they want to see in the district's next leader. Thursday, the school board and other education stakeholders met privately with the search firm.

"We're trying to immerse ourselves as much as possible without living here to understand the dynamics with the school system here and what a new person is going to face," said President Ken Carrick of Coleman Lew & Associates.

In October, the school board hired the search firm with a $60,000 price tag. The Woodmore tragedy delayed the search, now Coleman is beginning to meet with leaders and stakeholders in the community to create a unique job description.

"We have tried to get a really broad spectrum for them and that's what they requested, and we really tried hard to get them a broad spectrum of the community,” said School Board Chairman Steve highlander.

After the meetings end, the firm will start actively recruiting potential candidates and present a list to the school board.

"Once we get candidates and make the recommendation to our client you lose control of the timetable and there are lots of variables that come into play. One of them is, how many candidates will be interviewed? Where are they coming from question? How long does it take to do the logistics?” Carrick said.

Right now, there is only one named candidate and that is current interim superintendent Dr. Kirk Kelly.

Channel 3 asked the search firm, how they handle internal candidates. Carrick said they are treated the same, except their profiles will always be given to the school board.

"We will give the board our candid opinion about how they stack up against external candidates, but as an outside party don't think we should make the decision up or down on an internal candidate, either they are the best candidate of the group or the worst candidate,” Carrick said.

This is the third time the school board has used a superintendent search firm since 1997, Coleman Lew & Associates said they hope to have a list of candidates within 60 days. 

School Patrol

David Carroll covers education news and issues at schools across the Tennessee Valley.

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