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Committee discusses search for new schools director

Members of the Special Committee for the New Director Search met last week to begin plans for recruiting Ron Dykes’ successor.
Dykes recently notified the Board of Education he would not seek an extension on his contract at the end of the 2015-16 academic year.
Chair Phillip McLain gave committee members an overview of the services provided by the Tennessee School Boards Association during the 2008 search, which resulted in the hiring of Dykes.
“This is what I would recommend again, and I hope the board will consider the process with TSBA,” McLain said during the July 2 meeting. “I think we could shorten some of the meetings because of the work we did seven years ago.”
Clarence Mabe agreed. “It was very professionally done last time,” he said. “We don’t have the time to do it, and I hope we go back with TSBA again.”
Two plans for a superintendent search are offered by TSBA at a cost of $5,000 and $8,500.
Plan One indicates TSBA will advertise the position; develop and distribute a brochure; receive and confirm credentials and references of candidates; respond to inquiries regarding the opening; schedule interview dates with finalists and notify candidates who were not selected; provide interview guides for BOE members; assist the board with the development of an employment contract; and negotiate the board’s contract offer with the candidate.
For an additional $2,500, TSBA also will conduct employee and community meetings for feedback on the system’s strengths and expectations of the new director; conduct individual interviews with each board member; report the results of the community meetings to the board; and recommend criteria to be adopted by the board.
The board went with Plan Two during the 2008 search, and McLain thought the meetings with staff, officials and community members were beneficial. “Everyone got to participate last time,” he said.
TSBA offers a guarantee that if a vacancy occurs during the two-year period following the employment of the candidate recommended, the search consultant will advertise, recruit, screen and refer to the board additional candidates who meet the established criteria at no charge.
McLain asked committee members to review Dykes’ current contract, the qualifications and policies pertaining to the Washington County director of schools, and the search services offered by TSBA.
“I hope to make a recommendation next month,” he said.
According to the TSBA timeline, a full search from announcement to employment normally takes four to six months.