CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Concerns about the mechanisms driving contract extensions have divided the Bradley County Board of Education over whether to add another year to the contract of Schools Director Johnny McDaniel.
In a recent meeting, the board voted 4-3 to not add a fourth year to McDaniel's contract, the longest span of time a school director contract may last, according to state regulations.
Board members Troy Weathers, Christy Critchfield and Rodney Dillard voted to extend McDaniel's contract; board members Vicki Beaty, Nicholas Lillios, Chris Turner and Charlie Rose voted against the measure. The school board has traditionally voted to extend the director's contact in August or September, after administering his annual performance evaluation.
McDaniel has served as director of Bradley County Schools since 2008 and his contract expires June 30, 2016. He was honored as the 2013 Tennessee Superintendent of the Year by the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents.
A perpetual renewal of the contract needs to have established written goals and measures with a strategic view, said Turner. Without those, he said, perpetually extending the director's contract overrides the needs of the voters.
Lillios asked if an "imminent threat" was posed by not revisiting the director's contract each year.
"I believe that when we do not extend his contract, we are sending a message out that he is available for employment if we've lost confidence in him," said Weathers. "He's done everything we've asked him to do. We have a great school system -- test scores show it."
Not extending McDaniel's contract equated with "a slap in the face," Weathers said.
State law does not require a school board to vote on director contracts every year, but it must be done no later than one year before a contract's expiration, Rose said.
Turner cited recent a recent performance appraisal that gave the McDaniel high marks.
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.