Less than one week after Dr. Bryan Johnson was selected by the Hamilton County school board, he made his first public appearance Wednesday morning.
Dr. Johnson sat in the front row as county commissioners voted on a budget that impacts the school district he will soon lead. He joined a packed house as county commissioners approved the 2018 budget.
"Being here today was simply about hearing where the funding body is, having a chance to put some names to faces and really get after the work,” Dr. Johnson explained.
The county's schools did not get any additional funding they requested. Although, they did receive 425 of the 691 million dollar budget.
It’s a large chunk of money from the funding body and the community Dr. Johnson believes he can work with.
"When you have those two things converging you've got an opportunity for great success and so my work will be about capitalizing on that,” Dr. Johnson said.
During this visit, Dr. Johnson plans to meet with the school's instructional team and other staff members in the central office.
He wouldn't say if he's meeting with the current Interim Superintendent, Dr. Kirk Kelly, but he did say that they spoke over the phone, but haven't met in person.
"The way in which we implement change is the less pitfalls you step into the more effectively and efficiently you can implement change. Therefore, I really want to work to ascertain what those pitfalls might be so we can improve student achievement,” Dr. Johnson said.
He isn't sure what the first few months will look like for him in the new role, but does plan to meet with as many people as possible to understand the landscape and challenges the district faces.
"Our focus has to be to develop a plan to address those things and find out what's working and how we can do more of it really quickly,” Dr. Johnson said.
The search for Dr. Johnson took about 15 months and cost the school board about $60,000.
Dr. Johnson comes from the Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools where he's spent the past decade. He says he still has duties to wrap up in his current job and hopes to finalize details in his contract with Hamilton County soon.
After his contract is finalized, he will work with a transition team in place and work closely with the school board.