It’s That Time Again

editorial-logo3It is that time again. The Jefferson County School Board will soon begin their Director search to replace an exiting Edmonds, who will be leaving before the expiration of his contract due to health concerns. Last week, members of the School Board debated the wisdom of hiring an interim Director with an eye on filling the position by the end of the school year, or hiring an interim and waiting until a new board is seated next September to begin the director search. Some even bandied about the idea of trying to replace Edmonds before the end of the calendar year, but that timeline was just too tight to really consider.

Hiring Director of Schools is the single most important responsibility of the School Board. The Director is charged with the day-to-day operations of the schools, and it is their vision that will be the driving force behind education in the County for several years. One poor director will impact several thousand students. We have had our share of turn around in the Director’s office before Edmonds took the helm, and it took its toll on education in Jefferson County. We are just now crawling out of the academic wasteland, and I hate to see us take another step back. When Edmonds was hired, what we most needed was stability. We needed someone with experience to pull us out of the tail spin we were in and set us on track. Edmonds did that, and, like his style or not, he is leaving Jefferson County better than he found it.

What we need now is very different. We need someone who is innovative, who thinks outside the box. Someone who can restore Jefferson County to the academic powerhouse it was decades ago, when forward thinking educators were the norm and we could compete with the Oak Ridges and Webbs for scholarships and position in academia. Edmonds put us back on track, and the new person to drive the train has an open road ahead of him or her. The School Board is considering using Quales, a professional head hunter for Directors, to help with the search. He brought us Bones, who lasted one season at the helm, but he also brought us Edmonds. I would like to see the search expanded beyond what Quales can bring to the table, but that is just me. What I really want to see is a Director seated by the end of the school year.

I go to almost every meeting in Jefferson County. Let me tell you, new ideas are wonderful, but you have to have a little experience behind the big decisions. Newly seated School Board members should not immediately be thrust into the position of searching for a new Director. There is a learning curve that every new Board member goes through, and it should not include placing a new director. Like it or not, it is the responsibility of the sitting Board to fill the vacancy, and this Board still has more than ten months of service before any changes are made. Our students and teachers deserve stability, and there is more than enough time to start the new school year with the new Director in place.

So, to the School Board I say this: move now rather than later. Name an interim that will pose the least upheaval to the students and staff and then let the search begin. By the end of the school year there should be a new Director in the central office, and a new era will begin. Election or not, the ball is in this School Board’s court. What they do with it remains to be seen.

Source: K. Depew, News Director

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