published Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Smith could lead schools by early July


by Adam Crisp

HOW THEY VOTED

For policy change: Rhonda Thurman, Everett Fairchild, David Testerman, Mike Evatt and Joe Galloway.

Against policy change: George Ricks, Jeffrey Wilson and Linda Mosley.

Not present: Chip Baker.

Interim Hamilton County School Superintendent Rick Smith is one step closer to taking over the school system’s top job permanently.

Hamilton County Board of Education members voted 5 to 3 Tuesday night to change their policy on hiring a superintendent, allowing for just a 15-day notice before installing a new superintendent.

Currently, board rules call for a series of meetings, the approval of a timeline, a possible outside search, public interviews and then a selection. Tuesday’s vote allows the board to waive all those steps and simply select a new superintendent.

In late May, the board voted to buy out the contract of Superintendent Jim Scales. A $300,000 package that included pay, benefits and attorney’s fees was offered to Scales, who in turn left the job a year earlier than his contract stipulated.

On Tuesday, board members Rhonda Thurman, Everett Fairchild, David Testerman, Mike Evatt and Joe Galloway voted to change the policy. George Ricks, Jeffrey Wilson and Linda Mosley voted no. Chip Baker was not present.

Board policy also states an interim candidate should not be considered for the permanent job unless the board specifically allows that person to do so. Policy also calls for the superintendent to hold a doctoral degree, but it’s not a requirement. Smith is interim, but some board members have openly said they want him in the job permanently, and he also just has a master’s degree.

“We don’t bring someone in from the outside to be mayor or to run for County Commission. I don’t know why the school superintendent has to be any different,” said Thurman, who has long favored Smith for the superintendent’s job. “I don’t know why we need to do interviews. ... We have someone who has been interviewing for 25 years.”

Smith has served in various administrative roles in Hamilton County since the 1980s. Until Scales’s departure, Smith was the No. 2 man at the central office. He took over as interim superintendent on June 10, the same day Scales left.

The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce has said it favors a national search for a new superintendent, and board member Linda Mosley continued on Tuesday to insist on a search, even if it finds that Smith is the most qualified candidate.

“Why do we want to forgo this process? I have a hard time understanding why we’re in such a hurry,” Mosley said. “Even if you don’t want to go national, why not statewide ... just to prove that (Smith) is the right person.”

Board members could vote to give their 15-day notice at the next school board meeting on June 21, but Evatt, who was selected as the board’s new chairman Tuesday night, said he’s not entirely sure he’ll push for Smith’s selection to be on the agenda.

On Tuesday, Fairchild said he favors a workshop to work out the board’s priorities in selecting a new superintendent. That notion had support, but no board member formed a motion to set a date.

As it stands now, if the board votes to move ahead, Smith could be the system’s top administrator by July 6.

about Adam Crisp...

Adam Crisp covers education issues for the Times Free Press. He joined the paper's staff in 2007 and initially covered crime, public safety, courts and general assignment topics. Prior to Chattanooga, Crisp was a crime reporter at the Savannah Morning News and has been a reporter and editor at community newspapers in southeast Georgia. In college, he led his student paper to a first-place general excellence award from the Georgia College Press Association. He earned ...

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Selah said...

WOW...I NEED TO BECOME A PART OF THE GOOD OLE BOYS CLUB...JUST MAKE ME UP A JOB NO JUST DUMB ONE JOB DOWN FOR ME...SO I CAN RETIRE WITH A HIGHER INCOME...THANKS gob NETWORK

June 15, 2011 at 1:15 a.m.
zarvuu said...

That is unreal. No wonder the schools are struggling.

June 15, 2011 at 1:41 a.m.
5v5 said...

Rick Smith is part of the good ol boy system..... dirty backroom and under the table dealings. This board is displaying every example of unfairness with this voting team of 5 white bread idiots. Thurman and Testerman are the worst of them all and teachers will be heading towards the border because ricky will get out his book of old unsettle and lost fights only to start back kicking dirt into old wounds. The only way to fix this train wreck is to vote the dirty 5 out of office and make ricky retire..... Dr. Scales saw this open window and was smart to jump out with $282,000 in hand with $18,000 a year for life from the state retirement plan. Again I said vote these 5 Bast...ds off of the board.

June 15, 2011 at 6:58 a.m.
Leaf said...

So, Rhonda Thurman, Everett Fairchild, David Testerman, Mike Evatt and Joe Galloway are corrupt and need to be voted out. Got it.

June 15, 2011 at 8:19 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

Leaf, they may or my not be corrupt but it is clear they do not have the best interests of the school system in mind, but only the "good old boy" mentality our city mayor so aptly demonstrates.

June 15, 2011 at 8:25 a.m.
rosebud said...

Ha ha, I love it when the Chattanooga Times left-page editorial Glee Club starts harmonizing!

Fact: Every media survey showed 70-80% of the public disapproved of Scales' job performance.

Fact: As soon as Janice "Shoplifter" Boydston and her School Board majority bulldozed an unnecessary 4-year contract extension for Scales, the County Commission lost confidence in the Board and Scales, and withdrew their support.

Fact: Scales couldn't say his name unless his $85K mouthpiece Danielle Clark was holding his hand.

Fact: Scales is the only black superintendent in history to successfully fight to keep black children out of their well-performing neighborhood school (Normal Park Private Public Magnet School)

Fact: Every School Board member among the majority now in charge campaigned openly that they were in favor of a local superintendent. Voters elected them to do just that.

Fact: County voters have sat idly by while Scales and his predecessor, Jesse "Cash" Register did NOTHING to improve neighborhood schools like Falling Water, Harrison, Lookout Valley, East Ridge High & Middle, Red Bank, Sale Creek & Central...while spending millions to beef up inner city schools with new buildings and extra administrators: yet they're STILL failing!

Fact: It's been 3 years since Volkswagen announced their Chattanooga plant. NOTHING has been done to build or renovate new schools in that area.

Fact: Scales' proudest achievement was approving and sneaking in retirement pay benefits ($22,000) for his swing vote, Janice "Sticky Fingers" Boydston.

Fact: Scales refused to move some incredibly weak principals who have destroyed schools in East Ridge, Soddy, Hillcrest and Hixson area. These principals have alienated parents and caused their best teachers to transfer to other schools.

No one's sure what Rick Smith will do...but he doesn't have a very tough act to follow!

PS: Dear Harry Austin, the noted left-page editorial writer: In your predictable, copy-blocked editorial that will run on Thursday, please add a line or two about how you recently endorsed Fred Skillern for re-election...although now you say that seven years ago, you, and you alone, heard him say a naughty racial slur. I guess you had forgotten about that in 2010. Can't wait to read your explanation.

June 15, 2011 at 8:38 a.m.
crow1033 said...

At this point, all we can do is hold the 'new' superintendent and the Board accountable for what happens. It is the Board that sets policy, not Dr. Scales (@Rosebud). The County Commission has held funds in order to maintain control over the school system while our children's education was the casualty. There will have to be very swift and extreme measures put in place to rescue the condition of our schools (@rosebud, Dr. Scales couldn't refurbish schools without money) There are not enough books, no capital maintenance budget and Thurman is completely against continuing education for teachers. I sure hope that there are enough hairdresser jobs for the children that will graduating HCDE. Rick Smith will have to be held accountable for our schools since he was 'anointed'to the position. If they are not going to find a well qualified superintendent, then they will have to be held 100% responsible for Rick Smith.

June 15, 2011 at 9:52 a.m.
abcdefghi said...

Anyone who can will be running for Signal or Lookout Mountain schools which are somehow safe from school board attack. The rest, who can, will again resort to private schools. Those who cant afford that option will be at the mercy of the 5 rednecks on the board who do not care about quality public education. 2 steps forward and and 10 steps back. Depressing. The only way to fix this is vote the 5 out - hear that Soddy Daisy, Hwy 58, Harrison, East Ridge?

June 15, 2011 at 10:19 a.m.
WEBMAN said...

Is anybody thinking about the school children in Hamilton County.Do we really need a "hand picked" local superintendent.Let the good ole boy network continue it's reign and the H#@% with the kids education. Thank GOD my kids went to private schools.

June 15, 2011 at 11:33 a.m.
chet123 said...

abcdefghi....those area will never vote those 5 BOARD MEMBER OUT out....they are part of their communities....they are product of the good so call christian church in their community....the solution would be to remove the whole board...this is why we get superintendent from outside Hamilton County....Too Much Good Ole Boy Collusion...Sadly to say...the Adult is the problem here(school Board)..some kind of way hamilton county have to find a way to take the politics out of it...I KNEW RHONDA THURMAN WAS TROUBLE WHEN SHE FIRST GOT ON BOARD...SHE SEENS BE SOMEONE WHO IS USE TO GETTING HER WAY ON EVERYTHING....NOONE ON THE BOARD STRONG ENOUGH TO CHALLENGE HER...SHE HAS POLARIZED THE SCHOOL BOARD WITH THE RACE CARD...OBSERVE THE VOTING....SPLIT BY RACE....SHE PUT SO MUCH PRESSURE ON CHIP BAKER(WHO IS A GOOD MAN)THAT HE WAS A NO SHOW.....RHONDA THURMAN HAVE POISON A ONE TIME RESPECTABLE BOARD.....YOU CAN BET ON IT...SHE WILL BE RUNNING FOR HIGHER OFFICE AFTER SHE DESTROY THE SCHOOL SYSTEM.....

June 15, 2011 at 1:05 p.m.
rosebud said...

Chet: Please tell me you're not a product of our public schools. If so, the problems may be deeper than anything Rick Smith can fix.

Webman: You're right at home on this page...a private school parent who's got all the answers for the public schools. You and the Times left-page editorial writer Mr. Austin should be best buds. He's in that club too.

abcdefghi: Those communities just held elections in 2010. They voted for people who wanted to get rid of Dr. Scales. Democracy works!

Crow: Let's see, the Board sets policy (not Dr. Scales)...but you want to hold Rick Smith accountable. But didn't you just say...? Ah, never mind.

Tell ya what, Times left-side editorial page Glee Club: Stage a coup, and put Janice "merchandise somehow landed in my purse" Boydston in charge of the schools. She certainly knows how to get the most for her money. And she's Jim Scales' # 1 fan!

June 15, 2011 at 3 p.m.
abcdefghi said...

Rosebud (Mr. Bikas), You are confused yet again between what you deem to be "fact" and actual facts.

June 15, 2011 at 3:30 p.m.
rosebud said...

abcdefghi: The floor is yours sir, take a look at my facts. Let's see what you can factually refute. This should be good.

June 15, 2011 at 3:42 p.m.
abcdefghi said...

Points nos. 2,3,4,6 & 8 are simply your ill informed opinion - not facts. For example, you say "Fact: Scales couldn't say his name unless his $85K mouthpiece Danielle Clark was holding his hand." While you may believe Dr. Scales relied upon Ms. Clark to much, your statement is not a fact - just an opinion. You state as fact that: "Fact: Scales' proudest achievement was approving and sneaking in retirement pay benefits ($22,000) for his swing vote, Janice "Sticky Fingers" Boydston." Really, "proudest moment"? What you state is not fact but venom.

June 15, 2011 at 4:39 p.m.
rosebud said...

Obviously you've never heard Scales (try to) speak in public.

As for proud moments, he could have tried to block the Boydston retirement scam, and he could have fought to admit black students into their neighborhood school at Normal Park...but he didn't, did he?

The inner city schools are still failing...you can check the state report card online. Hard to dispute that fact.

And as for the county commission giving up on Scales and his former-majority school board, well...just ask 'em.

Facts, facts, facts. They hurt sometimes, don't they?

June 15, 2011 at 5:05 p.m.
Selah said...

ROSEBUD...finally some sense coming from your court. If Dr.Scales truly came here to help the kids then he would have been proposing in budget cuts his first couple of years instead of his last. Dr. Scales should have cut the top right out from the beginning and we may be praising him. He didn't understand what he was walking into and the flattery of certain individuals covered his eyes with stupidity. He should have been cutting Rick and Ray the first day he stepped into office the second year he was here. He should have cleaned CO out then and not when the good ole boys set him up for failure. He was too stupid to recognize the SNAKES in the grass. Let's VOTE ALL OF THE SCHOOL BOARD OUT...ALL 8 WE NEED A NEW SCHOOL BOARD AND A NEW CENTRAL OFFICE. NO ONE I TALK TO IS PLEASED WITH ANYONE ON THE SCHOOL BOARD NOR AT THE SCHOOL SYS CENTRAL OFFICE. If we fail to take back our God given privilege to VOTE them all out...the only stupid ones is US the middle class...we are the only ones suffering from the politics and backroom agendas that hurt our kids and uplift the rich and famous. IF WE TRULY CARE...VOTE VOTE VOTE...PLAN TO RALLY INDIVIDUALS TO VOTE VOTE VOTE ...the rich have recognized the power of the VOTE or we wouldn't be seeing Galloway, Testerman, Evatt, Fairchild, Thurman turning the tide. They rallied their troops and planned an attack...and was successful. Let's not call them stupid that was pretty SMART...let them recognize tho' WE the PEOPLE can do the SAME...Let's answer their call...let's not let this die down as they hope.

June 15, 2011 at 9:24 p.m.
Selah said...

Let's exempt Rhonda...Rhonda has always been Rhonda Thurman...I respect her for that. Her stance and opinions haven't changed since I've observed her on the board. No one can shut her up and that's good. We need to take lessons from her ...to not let ANYONE SHUT US UP WHEN WE TAKE BACK OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM FOR THE GOOD OF OUR KIDS AND TEACHER. I am tired of the blame of educationsl failure being put on teachers when we clearly see that POLITICS AND MISMANAGEMENT is the CLEAR problem with her ailinga and failing school system. Let's not let the school board slide ont his one nor Mr. New Superintendent. Let's keep every move under close watch and make noise over EVERYTHING those goes against the best interst of our children...DON'T let people blind you with making Rhonda Thurman the SCAPEGOAT...she is being used and she doesnt even realize it right now. She is becoming the scapegoat for both sides, WAKE UP RHONDA...your being used or have they promised you something.

I use to respect you RHONDA for standing up and not shutting up. I even supported your campaign efforts...BUT now you have proven to be the SAME...Where is the RHONDA we once respected. WOW!!! this is what it boils down to

June 15, 2011 at 9:32 p.m.
Selah said...

5v5 ...your right...sit back and watch the good ole county schools bag of tricks begin...the games of continuing bullying, retaliation, one uping people...let the tricks and lawsuits begin....county schools you may have nothing to worry about they have always favored you all...just look at how your principals have sat at their schools without trouble or fear of removal...watch to see how they all justify bringing back the RETIRED good ole boy network back to CO or in the schools. And they justify it by saying they are retired so we do not have to pay such and such or they are consultants...WATCH WATCH WATCH

June 15, 2011 at 9:39 p.m.
rosebud said...

Rhonda has changed? No, thankfully she has stuck by her guns since day one. It's why she gets re-elected, time after time, usually with no opposition. You people can criticize Rhonda and the others all day (and Harry Austin somehow gets paid for that), but the fact is, they are doing what the people who elected them, want them to do. Democracy works.

June 15, 2011 at 10:43 p.m.
Selah said...

Bottom Line ...Let's clean out the SCHOOL BOARD and WE THE PEOPLE direct them to clean out the HCDE CENTRAL OFFICE. THEN move on up to the LOCAL GOVTS. THEN TO NASHVILLE...CLEANING UP ALL THE MESS...WE THE PEOPLE BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A REPUBLIC THAT IS A DEMOCRACY. How can anyone agree with these tactics of teh board and how does any decent human being go along with such tactics to get a job...oh, forgot its about power not a job to help kids. Rosebud...you only support Rick not the kids. Are you hired by the CREW?

A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, retain supreme control over the government.The term is generally also understood to describe a government where most decisions are made with reference to established laws, rather than the discretion of a head of state, and therefore monarchy is today generally considered to be incompatible with a republic.

June 15, 2011 at 11:28 p.m.
rosebud said...

Yeah, I guess you're right. Let's fire 'em all. School Board, Central Office, principals, teachers, janitors and cooks. Let's just start over. Start from scratch. Hire new blood, first come, first served. That would be much more rational than giving Rick Smith a chance.

Yes, I support Rick Smith. And if it's about power, it's about a power shift. The ones who used to have the power, and who squandered their opportunities, have now lost their power. It's someone else's turn. Thank God.

June 15, 2011 at 11:55 p.m.
Selah said...

Rosebud your thinking God now but I guarantee you'll be asking Him why next...You brought the right name in now...Only GOD can help us now...only GOD...

June 16, 2011 at 1:05 a.m.
Selah said...

Rosebud only God can help you see...Rick is not new blood...he is more of the same...more of the same...Register, Scales and now Rick they were controlled as well...it was only when they diverted from the hidden agendas that the fire of Hell came down (fab 5)

It isn't about Rick it is about HIRING qualified candidates. Its called following ethical, procedural guidelines put in place to give a fighting chance to ALL candidates. Then let the fab 5 make a choice...oh now they don't want a choice they want a "pig in a poke" just like the rest...

June 16, 2011 at 1:09 a.m.
rosebud said...

Or it could be they want someone who knows the principals, and can drive to a Hamilton County school without having to ask directions. I'll bet Scales couldn't find Birchwood if you dropped him off at the front door.

June 16, 2011 at 8:04 a.m.
Selah said...

I betcha Rick Smith couldn't find Calvin Don, Hardy, or maybe even Birchwood either...i bet money on it...

June 16, 2011 at 8:10 a.m.
rosebud said...

Considering he's lived here all his life, and has served as deputy superintendent and other positions for 28 years, he might want to take you up on that bet. Give him a call, I'm sure he'd be glad you take your money, if you're willing to donate it to the school district.

June 16, 2011 at 8:53 a.m.
chet123 said...

ROSEBUD...PLEASE LIKE ME KNOW YOU ARE NOT A HAIRDRESSER...IF SO GET BACK TO THE PARLOR WHERE YOU CAN CATCH UP ON THE GOSSIP...CONGRAULATION TO RHONDA THURMAN FOR DUMMYING DOWN A ONE TIME RESPECTED, DISTINGUISH POSITION TO A MEDIOCRE JOB...YOU TALK ABOUT CALLING RICK SMITH LIKE HES YOUR BOY FRIEND....SURE HE WILL TAKE THE JOB...NOONE ELSE STUPID ENOUGH TO HIRE HIM....MOST THE PEOPLE IN THE CITY KNEW WHEN CITY SCHOOL SYSTEM HAD TO WORK WITH COUNTY BOONIES IT WOULDNT WORKOUT.....THE YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE COUNTY ARE GREAT...ITS THE OLD SO-CALL CHURCH PEOPLE WHO ARE THE HATER....AND IT HAVE ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THAT

June 16, 2011 at 11:03 a.m.
chet123 said...

THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ANGRY...INCLUDING THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, CHATTANOOGA IS TRYING TO DRAW BIG BUSINESS IN THE AREA...SOMETHING RHONDA HAIRDRESSER THURMAN WOULDNT KNOW...I DONT UNDERSTAND HER INTEREST IN SCHOOL SYSTEM SINCE HER DAUGHTER WENT TO PRIVATE SCHOOL.....THE WOMAN IS POWER THIRSTY...WHAT A LOSER!!!

June 16, 2011 at 11:09 a.m.
Selah said...

ROSEBUD...i would surely take you up on that bet and phone call but now you and the MONARCHY team have given him DIRECTIONS...just like YOU ALREADY have. I want US to catch him COLD TURKEY...and he will be...count on it...Evidently, people just don't know ...they really don't know...Maybe those who work and parents who have grace his presence can make their thoughts KNOWN SOON...

June 18, 2011 at 2:16 a.m.
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