May They Choose Wisely

editorial-logo3The Jefferson County School Board will begin their interview process for a new Director of Jefferson County Schools. Searching began for a new leader to take the educational helm when then current Director Charles Edmonds vacated the position at the end of the calender year, ahead of the expiration of his contract, due to health concerns. Central Office Administrator Finchum stepped into the Interim Directorship and has done an admirable job of filling the position. Now the search is heating up to find a permanent replacement for Edmonds and it may be more difficult than it sounds.

Thursday, the School Board got the short list of candidates from search facilitator Wayne Qualls. I was expecting a pretty deep list of applicants. After all, rumors had been running rampant that more than fifty candidates were vying for the position. You can imagine my surprise when Qualls failed to confirm that number, stating instead that the number was around half of the rumored 50 and that not all of the applicants were really viable for Jefferson County. Some were too far away, some did not have the experience that Jefferson County is looking for and others just didn’t strike Qualls as the right fit.

Looking at the list of nine, I am a little surprised that some lack any time in system wide administration but perhaps they are bringing something else to the table. Only two are currently holding a Superintendent position and one of those has fewer total students( 1500 total student population) than Jefferson County High School student population. Two others are former Superintendents but have not recently lead a system and three are Administration but one of those administrators is in a system with around 1,000 total student population which is not anywhere near the population of the Jefferson County School System. Numbers aren’t everything but they do count for something. Hopefully a well conducted interview process will clearly point the Board in the direction of the new leadership for Jefferson County. And, hopefully, that person will be innovative and forward thinking. For several years, we have been in building mode and we have done very well with our facilities upgrades. We need to be as forward thinking and progressive with our academics as we have been with our building program if we want our student to be competitive with those that surround us. Gone are the days of simply sitting back and letting the reading, writing and arithmetic do the work. Today’s’ students have to be running from the first day to stay in the race. We are just beginning to look at implementing programs that progressive systems have had in place for years.

Providing leadership is the main charge of the School Board and they carry out that charge with the hiring of a experienced, progressive, forward thinking director. This is an important week for our School Board members, our teachers and staff, our students and our County. This is the School Board’s own form of March Madness and it will certainly prove to be just as exciting. Keep them in your thoughts for the next couple of weeks as they do the business of the people. May they choose wisely.

Source: K. Depew, News Director