UnifiEd Ask School Board To Include Community In Superintendent Search

Thursday, November 3, 2016

In response to the School Board’s announcement that it will consider appointing Dr. Kirk Kelly as the director of Hamilton County Schools at the regular session board meeting on Nov. 17, UnifiEd reiterated its call to community members for "an open, well-defined, and community engaged selection process for superintendent."  

“Dr. Kirk Kelly is probably a perfectly qualified candidate for this position," said Jonas Barriere, executive director of UnifiEd.  "His experience and passion are well known and his commitment to this community is unquestioned.  However, the public, and quite frankly Dr. Kirk Kelley, deserve to have the school board transparently define the expectations, selection criteria and skill competencies informing their decision. Community members are also asking the school board listen to those most affected by their decision: our parents, students and educators.” 

He said since March of this year, UnifiEd "has held numerous community meetings in each of the nine Hamilton County school districts to gather feedback on what community members wanted to see in the next superintendent. The resounding message from those meetings was that residents want a voice in this process regarding who is ultimately chosen to lead our school district, said officials. 

"At the most recent school board meeting on Oct. 27, more than 50 community members rallied in support of including a robust community involvement plan in the superintendent selection process. In addition, hundreds of parents, teachers, and students wrote letters to their school board members asking for community voice in the process. Board members agreed to send UnifiEd’s recommendations to their policy committee and asked School Board attorney Scott Bennett to instruct their search firm to include a community involvement plan. 

"In hopes of fulfilling this mandate in the compressed time frame now in place, Dr. Kelly has agreed to participate in a community forum on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at Orchard Knob Elementary. This forum, hosted by UnifiEd, will engage widespread community input before the upcoming vote and will be facilitated by UnifiEd. This will give residents a chance to hear first-hand from Dr. Kelly to explore and understand how his experience and expertise will be able to meet the growing needs of our school system."

"The current board policy states that the community shall be invited to participate in the process of selecting a superintendent by suggesting selection criteria, participating in sessions with and asking questions of the candidates, and be invited to attend board interviews with the candidates,” said Ashley Conrad, director of policy and research at UnifiEd. “We invite all citizens in Hamilton County to attend and encourage every voice to be heard at this session.” 

“The hiring of the superintendent  is one of the biggest decisions that will directly affect the success of our schools,” said Anna Gouge, a local education advocate. “It is imperative that we, as a community, have a say in who will be the leader of Hamilton County Schools." 


Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Gilbert). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. V. Ordinances – Final Reading : (None) VI. Ordinances – First Reading : PLANNING a. 2017-022 Ed Waldorf and Green & Lofty, LLC (R-2 Residential Zone to R-3 Residential ... (click for more)

Fleischmann Joins President Trump At Signing Of American First Energy Executive Order

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann joined President Donald Trump on Friday morning at the White House for the signing of the American First Energy Executive Order.  Officials said, "Offshore energy exploration and production is a critical component of an America First energy strategy. It reduces our dependence on foreign energy sources, generates billions of dollars in ... (click for more)

White Coat Syndrome And The Medical System - And Response (2)

Today I wish to share what I am feeling as a patient in our medical system. I am too old to put on airs at this point, and this is too pervasive of a problem for me to contain.   As I enter my AARP years, I am faced with so many medical encounters that evoke all kinds of uncomfortable feelings. I dread physician’s appointments riddled with government regulatory hypocrisy, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: County Commissioners Not Getting Bang For Their School Bucks

The Hamilton County School Board passed a balanced budget to present to the County Commission at a Special Called Meeting on Thursday night. They also attached a prioritized list of $24.5 million in critical needs for the County Commission to consider that will never see the light of day. The long and short of it is easy to see -- the County Commissioners have had enough. It ... (click for more)

Three Phases Of Baseball -- Pitching, Hitting, Defense -- Kind To Ooltewah

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – The District 5-3A baseball tournament begins Wednesday with four teams battling for the lone berth to fill out a pair of semifinal best-of-three series. The prize for doing so isn’t so pleasant though. The survivor of games involving Soddy-Daisy (No. 4 seed), Cleveland (No. 7), East Hamilton (No. 5) or McMinn County (No. 6) earns the right ... (click for more)

Prep Tennis: Hixson Girls, Red Bank Boys Win District Titles

Playing for the District 6 A-AA tennis title, it came down to No.2 doubles with the overall match tied at 4 all. Hixson’s Amy Carranza and Sydney Buckner defeated Grace Brown and Cheyenne Cummings, of Red Bank, 8-6, Thursday at the Hixson Rec Center courts to give the host Wildcats the district championship, 5-4, for the second straight year and fourth title in five years. ... (click for more)