By SABRINA GARRETT
The Wilson Post
After six years, the time has come to bid Director of Schools Mike Davis farewell.
Although his contract does not officially end until June 30, members of the Wilson County Commission felt it appropriate to express their appreciation for his service during their meeting on Monday night. District 20 Commissioner Annette Stafford presented Davis with a resolution and said that she has always been able to call him and feel like I am talking to a family member.
Davis was humbled by the resolution and said that the school system has been successful in their endeavors, including constructing the new Lebanon High School and beginning construction on the new Watertown High School, because of support and funding from the commission.
These buildings were constructed because of what you did, he said. It will pay dividends for generations to come.
Davis acknowledged that the school board and commissioners have had disagreements in the past but that he has always respected the commission and admire the job that you do.
Davis also mentioned that Wilson County Schools have received TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program) results but he could not disclose them at this time. However, he did admit that he was elated with the scores.
Some parting advice to commissioners was for the system to re-evaluate teacher salaries. In an article that appeared in The Wilson Post, Wilson County School Board Chairman Don Weathers commented that new Director Dr. Tim Setterlund would be paid an annual salary of $165,000 which is more than they paid Davis. Although he did not give the exact dollar amount that Davis earned, Weathers admitted that he was probably underpaid given the amount of growth the county has seen in recent years.
Weathers compared Setterlunds $165,000 salary to counties such as Sumner, whose director earns an estimated $180,000, and Williamson, whose director earns an estimated $175,000.
According to Davis remarks to the county commission, he believes that teacher salaries are not comparing to surrounding counties either. We are not competing with the school systems around here. I lost four math teachers this year to other jobs and it wasnt because they were unhappy in Wilson County, he said, adding that educators left to accept higher paying jobs.
Davis will assume the position of Robertson County Director of Schools in July. He was asked by District 14 Commissioner Jeff Joines what the hiring process was like.
Davis said that the Robertson County School System enlisted Wayne Qualls of Teams, Inc. to conduct a national search similar to the search he conducted to find Setterlund for Wilson County. The interviews were unlike anything I have gone through, he continued. All five of the finalist met at the same time and were taken on a bus with the school board to visit all of the schools in the district.
At the end of the tour, the finalists rotated through multiple interviews set up at the final school. Five classrooms were filled with Chamber of Commerce representatives, teachers, school administrators, media and elected officials plus one school board member in each.
The board members took notes in each classroom while the others asked questions. They put us through a tough process because a lot of the questions were unscripted, he said. At the end of it, members were asked to name their top two candidates and somehow I came out on top.
Stafford said that she liked the idea of having an open interview process that involves each of the parties mentioned because going in, we all feel like we have stake hold in the same community.
Davis completed his statements by saying that while he is looking forward to his next career move, he has enjoyed every bit of his time in Wilson County.