Hamilton County School Board Hears Presentations From Superintendent Search Firms

Photo Credit: Hamilton County Schools / Twitter

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

The Hamilton County School Board met Thursday night in a special called session to view presentations from a number of search firms as a part of their efforts to find a new superintendent for the school system.

Chattanooga, Tennessee At Night

In attendance at the meeting were Chairman Joe Wingate and members Tucker McClendon, Tiffanie Robinson, Jenny Hill, Joe Smith, and Marco Perez.

The first to present were Dr. Barry Carroll and Dr. Rick Miller with McPherson and Jacobson, LLC. They assured the group that their mission was student-focused and that they would “ensure each search results in quality leadership for education excellence.” They offered the group a rundown of what their process would involve and stated that typical turnaround from their first meeting with a board to the hiring of a superintendent is 2-3 months.

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Miller also noted the positives that could draw candidates to Hamilton County.

“Academically, obviously, you’ve done very well in Tennessee, and your superintendent was Superintendent of the Year…so I think people would be very excited to think about coming to Chattanooga,” Miller said.

Next to present was Dr. Dale Caldwell with Ray & Associates. Joining him virtually were Dr. Karen Hall and Michael Collins, company president. They touted themselves and the oldest, largest, and most diverse superintendent search firm. A large portion of their introduction to their presentation focused on their desire to provide that same diversity and equity in their searches.

The group went on to outline their plan for completing the search process and, after being asked by Robinson, stated that they could have the process completed by January 1.

Hill then asked them for more information about their comments regarding changes they had made within their company to combat systemic racism. Collins explained that they had restructured their team internally to help provide more diversity in their staff which in turn provides more diversity in their search results.

The final presentation was a virtual one from Ken Carrick of Buffkin/Baker, the group who handled the 2016 superintendent search for the system. Instead of detailing out the firm’s entire plan, he alluded to the written proposal that board members had already received and hit the highlights of that plan. He then offered the remainder of his time for answering the group’s questions.

Perez asked him to clarify how it would benefit the system to go with a firm that had a broader scope beyond just the field of education.

Carrick said, “First of all, we don’t come with any preconceived notions of what you need or don’t need relative to a bank of candidates.”

He also acknowledged that they would start a fresh search but would also consider candidates from the 2016 search who might still be a good fit to meet the needs of Hamilton County.

The board will meet again on Monday to make the final selection of a firm to conduct the superintendent search.

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About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com

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