Sunday, January 15, 2017

Two dozen apply to be the next Knox County Schools Superintendent

In a last minute rush Knox County Board of Education members were hoping for, the number of applicants for Knox County Schools Superintendent jumped to 24 just before the end-of-day deadline.

On Friday morning, there had only been 11 applicants.

The deadline to apply closed at 4 p.m. Friday. There are 24 official applicants, with one additional application that wasn't completed.

There are two internal candidates and at least one other local candidate, according to KCS spokesperson Carly Harrington.

"I sensed a little bit of panic earlier in the week," said Patti Bounds, Chair of the BOE.

More: List: Knox County Schools Superintendent candidates

On Monday, member Amber Rountree, who is also overseeing the three-person superintendent search committee, said she hoped more people applied by the end of the week.

“I would like to see some more folks and I have heard there are more folks planning to apply, and they just haven’t gotten their material together,” she said.

The committee responsible for the search is made up of Rountree, Tony Norman and Susan Horn.

Friday morning, Norman told 10News he was hopeful there would be more than 11 applicants.
"I especially hope we'll get a few internal candidates," said Norman.

The names of the two internal candidates were not immediately available.

There is at least one local applicant. Dale Lynch, who currently serves as Hamblen County Schools Superintendent, applied Friday morning.

"I had heard he was going to apply and I'm glad he did," said Bounds.

Receiving 24 applicants for this position is a 'win' for the board, who went about the recruiting process differently than they had in the past.

"I'm excited about the process. This is a little bit different than it's normally done. Many school systems in our area use outside search firms," said Bounds.

Outside search firms can cost up to $80,000. Knox County Schools used one in 2008, when Dr. Jim McIntyre was selected.

Bounds said not using an outside search firm will give them more control over the candidates.

Norman agrees.

"Sometimes those search firms also have some preferred candidates, so they'll eliminate people on their side before we even get to see them," said Norman.

On the morning of Jan. 17,  the three-member search committee is scheduled to look at who has applied. Rountree says the goal is to identify perhaps five solid candidates from among all who have applied and go from there.

Norman says the people in his top five will be applicants who have "a heart for the classroom" and "significant administrative experience and experience with large school districts."

Bounds agrees with Norman's desire to have a superintendent with classroom experience. She also hopes their new chief will have many of the leadership qualities Interim Superintendent Buzz Thomas has.

"He is very much a servant leader. He understands the role of the board and of the superintendent," said Bounds.

For now, the superintendent search is closed. However, Bounds says it could reopen at any time if the current applicants are not up to standards.

Bounds said the hope is to have a new superintendent in place by summer, but are willing to sacrifice that timeline for the right person.

"More importantly is getting the right person. The last two left without completing their contracts and I don't want to see that happen again," said Bounds.

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