By MARINA WATERS
The Washington County Board of Education has selected a new director of schools.
The board voted to enter contract negotiations with Jerry Boyd at the board’s Monday, March 1, called meeting.
“It’s a huge decision for this county moving forward,” Board Member Chad Fleenor said. “I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer for this decision. I’m at peace with this decision. I know we will do good once we unite and move forward.”
Boyd is the current assistant commissioner for standards and materials and district operations with the Tennessee Department of Education. He was also the superintendent of Putnam County Schools from 2012-2020 and has 14 years of experience in a central office, in addition to experience as a principal, assistant principal and teacher.
Board Member Mary Beth Dellinger said she felt Boyd would be the best candidate to help the school system move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“(COVID-19) has affected our system like nothing we’ve ever experienced before,” Dellinger said. “Our students need support and teachers are their direct link to their support. I have to ask who would be the best to support students, teachers and staff. They need motivation and encouragement and I want a director who best fits our school system. And I hope we’ve made the right choice.”
In the initial director vote, each board member wrote down his or her candidate selection. Dellinger, Mitch Meredith, Keith Ervin, Whitney Riddle, David Hammond, Jason Day and Fleenor voted for Boyd. Annette Buchanan voted for Andy Hare. During the second vote, the board unanimously voted for Boyd.
Boyd was among four other candidates — Jarrod Adams, Andy Hare, Keevin Woody and Greg Slate — who interviewed for the position. Last week the BOE interviewed Adams on Tuesday and Boyd on Wednesday after having interviewed Slate, Hare and Woody the week prior.
Now, Boyd will enter into contract discussion with Chairman Jason Day and the board’s attorney, Scott Bennett. If an agreement is reached, the board will then vote on the contract.
“What I like to do with boards in situations like this is work with the chairman and the candidate to figure out what works for both parties,” Bennett said. “You want it to be a win-win …
“Right now we have a lot of flexibility. I try to be creative in these things so that your director comes in and feels like he’s got a lot of room to grow his own potential and you all feel like your director’s mission is aligned with the board’s vision.”
Day said he felt the future director needs to be someone with the future of the school system in mind.
“I think we need a director that will really help move this system forward and will work with you all, principals, teachers, and try to help reach children and help us all move forward,” Day said. “I think Washington County needs it. We’ve had another good man, but we’re moving forward again.
“I think we’ve done the right thing. I hope you all are behind our decision.”
The current director of schools, Bill Flanary, is set to retire from the role starting in July, after 39 years in the Washington County School System.
“I want to thank Dr. Flanary, too,” Ervin said. “I’ve had him as an (agriculture) teacher, an assistant director and a director. I appreciate everything he’s put into the Washington County School System. And I hope he catches a lot of fish.”
The next BOE meeting will be held on Thursday, March 4, at 5:30 p.m. For more information or to livestream the meeting, go to wcde.org.