Parents, School Board Share Desires for Superintendent

By: Allison Hunt
By: Allison Hunt

Knoxville (WVLT) - Plans are moving forward to pick a Knox County School Superintendent.

Three Board of Education members met Friday to discuss how they would conduct the search.

On Wednesday, they will make a recommendation to the board to hire a search firm.

Board Chair, Karen Carson says the firm can not only gather appropriate candidates for the school system but also coordinate meetings with local groups.

"They can coordinate setting up public meetings, coordinate setting up meetings with County Commission, the Chamber of Commerce, our schools, our school staff," says Knox County Board of Education Chairwoman Karen Carson.

A recommendation will also be made Wednesday to have the board pay for the cost of the firm.

As the search for the new superintendent begins, many people have started thinking about what qualities would create a strong candidate.

Parents and board members are concerned because the position plays a major role your children's future.

Everyone we talked to Friday said the new superintendent must first and foremost have the children in mind.

But they also said strong leadership skills and an educational background are very important.

"Someone with a strong backbone, strong opinions and that has the children at heart," says parent Jackie Collier.

Parents and board members have high hopes of who will be named the next Knox County School Superintendent.

"I want to see us be able to produce kids who come out of our system who can be successful in this world, and we need to give them the tools to do that," Carson says.

For board members, a blueprint of the right superintendent still needs to be drafted, but they say the candidate must have the school district in mind.

"A person who understands the challenges we face, a person who can assess where we are as a school system what are our strengths, what are our weaknesses," says school board member Dan Murphy.

For parents, it's not just about the right person for the school system, it's about the right person for their children.

"That's the superintendent's primary concern is that all the children have equal opportunity to get the best education possible for themselves," says Collier.

And to get the best education, parents say it's important the candidate has worked in a school system.

"I don't mind if he's from inside this school system or another school system, I think it's important that he has been in a school system," says parent Clint Brown.

And they're not just looking for a strong leader, they also want someone who can relate to their lives.

"To actually have kids that have gone through and to have some of the same frustrations I've had as a parent," Brown adds.

The board will also decide Wednesday on a time they can all get together and discuss qualities they believe are most important in a leader.

From that point they will be able to give a good description to search firms and more efficiently find the best candidate.


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