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UPDATE: School superintendent candidates begin visits to Hamilton Co.

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Dr. Arthur Wayne Johnson sitting at head of the table as he speaks with school board members. Dr. Arthur Wayne Johnson sitting at head of the table as he speaks with school board members.
Here's the itinerary for the candidates' visit. Here's the itinerary for the candidates' visit.
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Monday, the Hamilton County Department of Education began in-person interviews for the next superintendent. 

This week the five finalists will be in town to meet with staff and elected officials. The candidates will also have a chance to talk with the public at a "meet and greet." 

READ MORE | UPDATE: Hamilton Co. school board members select top 5 applicants for superintendent

"We have inner city, we have suburbs, we have rural," school board chairman, Dr. Steve Highlander tells Channel 3. "We have a lot of questions they might want to ask us."

It's why school board members wanted to bring the five finalist to Hamilton County. The first candidate visiting for an in-person interview is Dr. Arthur Wayne Johnson. 

"He has a background in business and went to get his doctorate in education," Highlander says. "He has a good working knowledge, worked with universities. He has his dissertation in funding for students in college."

Johnson spent the day meeting with central office staff, touring the county, and visiting different schools before meeting with elected officials. 

Johnson founded several businesses and has experience in the banking industry. He acknowledged his lack of experience in education leadership, but does not believe that will hold him back.

"I am probably the most traditional, non-traditional candidate that you'll find," said Johnson. 

Johnson says he does not need a contract if given the position.

"I am thankful he is willing to step down voluntarily," Highlander says. "I think if we like the work he has done, we want to hang on to them."

During the interview, Johnson told board members he would address some of the district's biggest challenges a days after he is put into office.  

"I think the new superintendent; if it's me, has the advantage of coming into a situation where you good folks as the leadership have recognized what needs to be done, now it's just a matter of acting upon it," said Johnson. 

Johnson also acknowledged the state's plans for the county's five low-performing schools. he recommended board members have another conversation with state officials after a superintendent is in place and convince them that intervening is not needed. 

The board has until July to decide whether to let the state take over the schools or agree to partner with the state to turn the schools around. 

"It's not appropriate for the state to come in and present an ultimatum unless they're really prepared to back up the or do this or that," said Johnson. "The partnership as I understand it is not even legally and permissible and so you have to talk about changing the law to even cause it to occur."

A meet and greet with each of the five finalists will be held each day from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and are open to the public. However, much of Monday's meetings were not. 

Channel 3 had to push for access to many of the events that by law should be open to media, due to some school system employees attempting to limit access to this process.


PREVIOUS STORY: Superintendent candidates for Hamilton County schools will be in town starting Monday morning. 

The candidates include Dr. Wayne Johnson, Stuart Greenberg, Dr. Timothy Gadson, Dr. Bryan Johnson, and interim superintendent Dr. Kirk Kelly.

READ MORE | UPDATE: Hamilton Co. school board members select top 5 applicants for superintendent

While here, each candidate will visit schools. They will also talk with elected officials and stakeholders.

The public will have the chance to meet each candidate at the Hamilton County Department of Education's board room on Hickory Valley Road from 4:30-5:30 p.m. 

Each candidate will end their day with a final interview.

The new superintendent is scheduled to be selected at the school board meeting on Thursday, June 15.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.

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