KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Knox County Board of Education scheduled a special meeting at 3 p.m. on Monday, March 20, to select its Director of Schools from two superintendent finalists. Bob Thomas was chosen as the new school system's superintendent.
"I am deeply humbled and grateful for the confidence the Board has placed in me," Thomas said Monday. "I look forward to continuing my commitment to serve Knox County Schools and working to provide the best education we can to all student."
The meeting was held in the first-floor board room of the Andrew Johnson Building on Gay Street in Knoxville. The meeting took the place of the board's regular scheduled mid-month work session.
The session was broadcast live on KCS-TV Comcast Cable Channel 10 and streamed live at knoxschools.org/kcstv.
The two men vying for superintendent of Knox County Schools faced tough questions from parents at a West High School forum moderated by Meteorologist Heather Haley.
Bob Thomas was the Assistant Superintendent for Knox County Schools.
Thomas, who has spent his whole career within Knox County Schools, said he knows what Knox County needs.
"I feel like I have a variety of experiences that have prepared me for this," said Thomas. "I've got a background with curriculum and instruction, it's been a long time since I've been a principal but teaching and learning is still teaching and learning."
Knox County Board of Education member Amber Rountree said, "Bob Thomas has specific ideas about what he will tackle."
With more than 44 years working in education, Thomas has overseen charter school applications and implementation of the new payroll system, as well as assisting with human resources cases. Thomas previously directed the transportation, finance, human resources and facilities departments. He has taught at Bearden Junior High school, Bearden High school and Rule High school.
Thomas said his three top priorities that were non-negotiable for him in his new position including enhancing student achievement, working towards creating a "positive culture in schools while eliminating disparities of any kind," and developing a focus on a more personalized method of student learning.
"Our pre-K-12 commitment is to increase student achievement by better preparing all students," Thomas said. "Every student we serve is entitled to the best education we can provide. We can do this by putting an effective teacher in every classroom and continuing our work to eliminate disparities in every way we can. Parents send us their best every day. When we say 'all means all,' we mean that."
Thomas will begin negotiating his contact with the Knox County School Board before he will take office later this spring.