published Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Bledsoe County tweaks selection process

  • photo
    Outgoing Bledsoe County Director of Schools Phil Kiper
    Photo by Ben Benton /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Bledsoe County director of schools job is open for applicants this month as school board members finish work on a protocol for selecting a replacement for outgoing Director Phil Kiper.

Kiper will leave his post at the end of the 2011-12 school year, and officials want to have someone in place before then to work with Kiper until his contract ends.

BLEDSOE DIRECTOR SEARCH

  • Nov. 1: Director of schools job posted
  • Dec. 31: Advertising for applications ends
  • Jan. 6: Application deadline

Source: Bledsoe County Board of Education officials

The board approved a resolution in October that included a measure to appoint a selection committee made up of nonelected local residents, but last week voted down the formation of that panel for a return to a board-led review process, according to officials.

Longtime board member Sue Everett, who made the motion to dissolve the committee, said the board's decision to do away with the panel put the responsibility for hiring Kiper's replacement back with those who do the hiring. The board approved the motion 6-1 with Vice Chairman Bobby Angel casting a dissenting vote.

"We've still got to decide, but [this way] all the applicants will actually go through the board," Everett said.

"I felt like it was an opportunity for the community to have a voice in the process," Angel said, noting that he understands the other members' stance.

He urged the public to attend school board workshops and meetings so they can keep up with the selection process and voice their concerns.

A second arm of the October resolution -- requiring the selection of a new director to be by a two-thirds majority board vote, rather than a simple majority -- remains in place, according to officials.

The two-thirds majority requirement in a director search exists in Cleveland City and Athens City school systems, and systems in Meigs, Polk and Rhea counties, he said.

Since 2006, Bledsoe has had three directors of the schools, including Ronny Colvard who retired in 2006 and was replaced through appointment by former Assistant Director Clettis McDaniel.

Not long after replacing Colvard, McDaniel became embroiled in lawsuits, one filed against McDaniel and other officials by a teacher over her tenure, and another filed by McDaniel against the system over his contract. Both suits eventually were dismissed, archives show.

Kiper was hired by the board to replace McDaniel in 2008.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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