The search continues at Rogersville City School for a new Director of Schools/Superintendent to replace Rebecca Isaacs, who will retire at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. She is completing her ninth year in the position.
As previously reported, Wayne Qualls’s firm is leading the search at RCS and did the same in 2018 when the Hawkins Co. Board of Education was looking for a new Director of Schools.
Isaacs told the board at the Feb. 20 meeting that the position was posted on online job boards in January and has now been closed. Qualls had already spoken with a total of 17 prospective candidates.
“He will pare that list down to five based on the discussions that he has had with all of you (board members),” she said.
Once the five final candidates are selected, each will have a one-on-one interview with the board.
These will take place on Thursday, March 12 at the Rogersville First United Methodist Church, beginning at noon. The interviews are expected to take all afternoon, and the public is invited to attend.
Isaacs told the board that they will receive a list of these chosen five one week prior to the interviews. After these interviews, Qualls will then narrow this pool of five down to two or three individuals who will be interviewed by the BOE a second time in order to determine the final candidate.
“When you get together (after the interviews), if there is someone that you are all in favor of that you want to extend an offer to, then that is how you will proceed,” Isaacs told the BOE. “If you feel at that time that you need to go back to the drawing board, then you can do that.”
According to Isaacs, Qualls also spoke highly of the board.
“He is also doing two other searches in East Tennessee,” she said. “But, he tells me all the time that he so enjoys doing ours because of the professionalism of the board and how easy you all have been to work with.”
BOE member Scott Trent asked if the board could view a list of the 17 candidates, but Isaacs explained that Qualls prefers not to share that information, as most of the candidates have current employers.
“For someone who is a sitting superintendent, they are not all dealing with boards of education like you all,” she said. “There are some boards that would be highly offended to think that their superintendent was going to Rogersville or any other locale.”
Air unit project nearing completion
In other news, Isaacs told the board at their Feb. 18 meeting that the project to renovate the ventilation system in the 1970s portion of the building is nearing completion.
It was originally scheduled to be completed during the school’s Christmas break and be finished by the time students began the spring semester, but contractors ran into several delays.
By the contract, Facilities Systems has 120 days to complete the project, and the contract was put in place in early November. Thus, the latest the project could be completed is March 5. Isaacs told the board at the January meeting that the contractors will be working during some evenings to speed up the process.
She also explained that the recent rain and flooding slowed down the work, as part of the process involves cutting holes in the roof. Much of this work has been done on Saturdays rather than school days, at Isaac’s request.
“The contractor wanted to set the (air) unit on a school day,” she said. “I don’t know if you all saw the crane that they were using, but I just couldn’t do it—I had a horrible fear of the crane flipping over and hitting a classroom full of kids. So, it got moved to Saturday. Then, the monsoons set in, and I was really afraid it was going to impact our timeframe. Thankfully, it did not.”
The school did add around $2,000 extra to the total project cost by asking the contractors to work on Saturday, but Isaacs told the board that, “it was worth it, and, truthfully, we had no choice.”
One of the contractors reported to Isaacs on the morning of Feb. 18 that “the project manager hopes to be finished in two weeks, if not sooner.”
2020-2021 school calendar finalized
The board also voted unanimously to approve the 2020-2021 school calendar, which will soon be available on the school’s website at www.rcschool.net.
Next year’s calendar will also include Veterans Day as an instructional day, as the school has done in the past. Though Hawkins Co. Schools use the day as a professional development day and do not require students to attend, Isaacs said she felt the day was best used for instruction.
“Veterans Day has come up as a question in the past, and I’m just going to say honestly that, as the daughter of a World War II veteran, Veterans Day needs to be in this calendar,” she told the board. “If you’ve ever attended a Veterans Day celebration at RCS—this last one in particular—kids are not hearing the message of Veterans Day if we’re not doing it here at school. I firmly believe that.”