Interviews For New Director Of Schools Begins

Search for the next Director of Jefferson County Schools is in full swing and the Jefferson County School Board will begin the interview process this week. Search facilitator Wayne Qualls presented the School Board with nine candidates for the position of Director of Jefferson County Schools during the Thursday, March 15, 2018 Board Work Session. Nine applicants were chosen to move on to the interview stage. Of those nine candidates, three are considered local candidates meaning that they hail from Jefferson County or are currently employed in the Jefferson County Department of Education. Six candidates are from outside the area.

Qualls gave a brief overview of the applicants, noting accomplishments of each, and explained the interview process to the Board. Each Board Member submitted potential areas for questions to Qualls who will then vet the questions for subject matter and wording. Each Board Member will be given questions, based on their conversation with Qualls, and those questions will be asked during the first round of interviews. After the first round of interviews, three candidates will be selected to move on for a second interview. The Board will score candidates during the first interview and rank the final three according to preference after the second interviews. The individual interviews are expected to last one hour and Qualls stressed the importance of continuity during the interview process.

In an interview preceding the Board Meeting, Qualls stated that there were more than twenty applicants for the position but no where near the fifty that had been rumored to apply for the directorship. He said that of the six outside candidates, several were recruited to apply for the position.

Local candidates are Jim Barr, former Elected Superintendent of Jefferson County Schools serving eight years. Barr lists 15 years Administrative Experience and currently resides in Florida where he is a Coordinator for Gulf Coast College- Dominique Davis, current Director of Secondary Education for Jefferson County. Davis lists 9 years of Administrative experience- Mark Garrett, Jefferson County native currently serving as Superintendent of McDowell County Schools, North Carolina. He lists 14 years Administrative experience and 5 experience as Superintendent.

Outside Candidates are Kim Barham, currently Assistant Superintendent in Twiggs County, Georgia. She lists 5 years Administrative experience-John Bartlett, Principal of Bearden High School, Knoxville. He lists 14 years as Principal at the High School Level.-Shane Johnson, currently Assistant Superintendent Rhea County, Tennessee. He lists 2 years as Assistant Superintendent-Scott Porter, current in Special Education in Sevier County, Tennessee. He lists 11 years Superintendent experience-Michael Steele, currently Executive Principal Stratford Magnet School, Nashville. He lists 8 years as a High School Principal-Rhonda Stringham, currently serving as Superintendent of Geneva City Schools, Al. She lists 11 years Administrative experience and 3 years experience as Superintendent.

Candidates will be interviewed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the Media Center at Jefferson County High School.

Source: K. Depew, News Director