City BOE expected to decide on director search service Monday

By Thomas Wilson
The Elizabethton Board of Education is considering whether to feed the hand that has bitten them -- twice.
The board is expected to decide whether to hire the system's next director through the Tennessee School Board Association (TSBA) at a called meeting on Monday night.
"One day, I lean toward TSBA and another day I lean toward let's get a committee together and go from there," said Judy Richardson, vice chairman of the board.
TSBA searches resulted in the system losing Dr. Dale Lynch and Dr. Judy Blevins to other school systems. A point not lost on at least one other board member.
"They've got a good setup, but the last two directors we've have had, they have taken," said Bob Berry who stated on Friday he would rather not hire TSBA to find the system's next director. "My thinking is, if we can do it ourselves we should."
If the board votes to employ the services of TSBA, the next step would be determining how intense a search they want. George Nerren, a TSBA consultant and former superintendent in the state, pitched TSBA's superintendent search service at the board's regular meeting on July 17. Costs for association search vary from $4,000 to $18,000 for the most in-depth process, according to TSBA figures.
A "Level One" search consisted of TSBA advising and assisting a board for the search process from the initial search until a candidate inked the contract to become the director. Each search consists of TSBA advising and assisting a board for the search process from the initial search until a candidate inked the contract to become the director.
TSBA distributes information about the system to each school system in Tennessee, as well as colleges and universities with active colleges of education. The search also schedules interview dates, provides interview guides for the board, performs background checks, and even negotiates the board's contract with the candidate.
Lynch left the system after being recruited to become director of Hamblen County schools, while Blevins was a top candidate and eventual selectee as director of Campbell County schools.
Previously, a search committee comprised of two members of the school board, a teacher, one parent and an educational consultant and a representative of the Elizabethton Education Association teachers' union accepted applications and reviewed candidates.
The process of selecting Blevins did not take long, Richardson said. The search committee had few applications and a recommendation from then-director Lynch. Richard Culver was named interim director by the board at a called meeting on July 10.
"There are good people in the area that might fit what we need, but I want us to take our time and get the best possible person for our system," said Richardson. "I want us to make sure we get the right person this time."
She also said if the board opted to use TSBA, they would also likely modify existing policies pertaining to the selection of a director. "We will need to look at that if we decide to go in another direction," she said. Richardson added she hoped the system could have a permanent director in "at the most, four months."
Berry also expressed an interest in selecting a permanent director as soon as possible -- although he added he wasn't optimistic that the process would be swift.
"I'd like to see it done the next 90 days at least," he said. "I don't see it is going to be done quick."