RCS School Board interviews six candidates for superintendent

“If you look, they’re (candidates) coming not only from state and local, but from nationwide,” Board Chairman Reed Matney said. “Our school is on the map.”

The RCS School Board interviewed six candidates on Thursday evening for the open superintendent position, two of which will be coming from out of state.

The six candidates were Jason Newman, who is currently the Principal at Humboldt Junior/Senior High School in Humboldt, Tennessee; Mia Hyde, who is currently the Core Director for Tennessee Department of Education; J.T. Stroder, who is currently the Superintendent for Grand County Schools in Moab, Utah; Edwin Jarnigan, who is the retired Superintendent for Grainger County Schools; Patrick Fraley, who is currently the Principal at Greeneville High School and former Principal at Cherokee High School; and Dr. Tony Kinkle, who is currently Executive Director of Minnesota State Board for School Administration.

Both Stroder and Kinkle made the drive from another state to be interviewed.

“I want to make sure we’re all on the same page in regard to what our responsibilities are,” Chairman Reed Matney told the board at Tuesday’s regular meeting. “It is our duty as a board to approve the policies, budget, curriculum and to appoint a Director of Schools, which is very important. With the success that we have had, we want to continue that. We gave a great staff and board, we have everything in the making. We’re a reward school. We (the board) don’t get involved in the day-to-day—that’s the Director of Schools. So, it’s important that we get a person who will follow our policy and procedures and represent the school well.”

“As we go through this process, the interview is not the only thing we need to look at,” Board Member Scott Trent added. “I’ve seen people do really good interviews and they’re not the best choice. Then, when you start digging, all of a sudden, some facts come up and you think ‘this is probably not the person who is the best fit for our school.’ So, I’m taking the interview process as about 30% of what I feel like is important. The bad part about it is that sometimes that is the only part that the public really sees, that 30%. Us digging and having these references and making those telephone calls, that’s where the 70% of my decision comes from.”

Matney also noted the significance of the fact that several candidates will be coming from long distances to be interviewed.

“If you look, they’re coming not only from state and local, but from nationwide,” he said. “Our school is on the map.”

Current Director of Schools Rebecca Isaacs added,“He (Wayne Qualls, who was hired to help find the new director) actually told me, ‘Becky, I want you to make sure your board understands is that Rogersville City, based on its history, its tradition and its success, is the kind of district that is getting nationwide attention.’”

Though the interviews had not yet been conducted by the Review’s press time on Thursday morning, a follow-up article on the results of the interviews can be found in next week’s Midweek edition.

Matney noted at Tuesday’s board meeting that the board may only narrow down the candidates after the interviews rather than making the final selection.

Should this be the case, the board will hold subsequent interviews with those candidates.