School leader search moves forward

Published 7:00 pm Friday, January 7, 2011

As area students muster up strength to return to their lessonsafter an eventful holiday season, Brookhaven School District boardmembers will also get back to work as the search for a newsuperintendent continues.

School board members finished interviewing the seven remainingcandidates for superintendent a few days before Christmas and willbegin the next phase of their hunt for a new district leader. Theschool district has been on the lookout for a new superintendentsince October after current Superintendent Lea Barrett announcedher retirement in August.

“As we interviewed we had discussions, but now as we have had timeto think about (applicants) over the holidays and did somereference checking. We will get back together and do somerankings,” said Carl Aycock, school board vice chairman.

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The board is planning to meet Tuesday to discuss the impressionsleft by the seven interviewed applicants. The district could name anew superintendent by the end of next week through the rankingprocess, if one candidate is clearly at the top of each boardmember’s list.

While Aycock thinks naming a new superintendent in the immediatefuture is highly unlikely, he mentioned that the board is still ontrack to have a committed applicant by the end of January.

Additional interviews would follow in the event that the board doesnot have an obvious candidate for the position, but the applicantpool of seven would be narrowed down even further.

“If it’s not the one, I don’t think it will be more than three,”said Aycock. “But again, that will be determined next week.”

The board has been busy during the past several months grinding theoriginal 27 applicants down to seven and interviewing the finalistsbefore the new year. Through the lengthy process, board members areconfident the school district is heading in the rightdirection.

“We had some real good interviews and some viable candidates,” saidAycock. “It’s a hard process but we are excited about choosing theright person for our district.”

Assistant Superintendent James Tillman also announced hisretirement along with Barrett.

However, the appointment of a new assistant superintendent will notbe made until the decision of a new superintendent is made. Thecandidate for the position of assistant superintendent is chosen bythe superintendent and is then approved or denied by the schoolboard.

As in earlier comments, Barrett reaffirmed that she is ready andwilling to step down whenever it best suits the school board.