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School director search continues

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By SABRINA GARRETT and JENNIFER HORTON
The Wilson Post

Wilson County Board of Education will get its first look at who might be the next Director of Schools when members meet Saturday to interview four candidates for the position.

The interviews are to begin at 9 a.m. at the Central Office at 351 Stumpy Lane, Lebanon.

The four candidates were selected from a total of 32 applicants. The position will become vacant when current Director Mike Daviss contract expires on June 30. Davis was recently named the new Robertson County Director of Schools.

The four candidates to be interviewed Saturday are Denis Albright, current Braxton County director of Schools in Sutton, W.Va.; David Huff, current Obion County director of Schools; Tim Sutterlund, assistant director of Schools for Memphis City and Shelby County; and Donna Wright, current assistant director of Williamson County Schools.

Teams (Tennessee Education Management and Services) Inc., a company based in Centerville, was retained by the school board to head up the search for candidates for the Director of Schools position.

Wayne Qualls, Teams Inc. owner, conducted a global search in which the 39 original applicants one of which was from Canada tossed their hats in the ring for a chance to land the job.

School board Chairman Don Weathers said that resumes were received from March 5-22 and narrowed down by Qualls to the four finalists who will be interviewed Saturday.

From those interviews by the board, members will decide on the top two candidates and interview them in a final round on Saturday, April 27.

Compensation for the new Wilson County Director of Schools is yet to be determined. Weathers said that once a director is selected they will negotiate the salary.

Weathers said the Board of Education paid a flat rate of $6,000 to Teams Inc. to conduct the search and that they have worked with Qualls company in the past.

Qualls told The Wilson Post he was retained about seven years ago by the county school board for a directors search that occurred when former Director Jim Duncan left and before Davis was hired.

Qualls noted that the board at that time was divided and Mickey Hall, assistant director, was tabbed to serve on an interim basis until Davis was named.

Teams Inc. has worked with school boards elsewhere in their search for directors.

I am completing my third since Jan. 1, Qualls said, adding his company worked with Robertson County where Davis is headed and Cumberland County.

Qualls noted school systems pay half of the $6,000 amount up front, when the company is retained, and then pays the remaining half at the end, once a director is chosen, if theyre satisfied.

I work hard at this, he said, adding that searching for a new director involves, first, getting the word out about a vacancy or pending vacancy, receiving resumes and going through them and doing the background work to whittle them down to the number sought by board members who will interview the applicants. Hundreds of hours can be spent on searching for a school system director.

Qualls has spent the past 45 years in education. Ive done a little bit of all of it, he noted.

He has served as a teacher, principal, Hickman County Director of Schools, served with the Tennessee Board of Regents which oversees all public colleges and universities not in the University of Tennessee system, and also served as Commissioner of Education under former Gov. Don Sundquist.

Its been a wonderful experience. I enjoy working with fellow (educators), he said, adding he enjoyed helping them.

One of the candidates, Wright, currently assistant director at Williamson County Schools, has a work history that includes serving as the Director of High Schools for Knox County Schools from 1998 to 2004 and Assistant Superintendent of Knox County Schools from May 2004 to August 2012, according to a resume on LinkedIn.com.

Due to an early press deadline, information on other three candidates could not be obtained.

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