The RCS Board of Education agreed Tuesday to meet with candidates on March 12 after superintendent search adviser Wayne Qualls has cut the field of 17 hopefuls to five or six semifinalists.
Qualls’ choices will be based on conversations he’s had with individual board members about what they’re looking for in a new director.
The school board’s March 12 interviews begin at noon at the Rogersville First United Methodist Church, and are expected to last all afternoon. The public is invited to attend.
Based on the feedback board members give to Qualls after those interviews, he might narrow the list of finalists to two or three, who would be interviewed again by the BOE before it makes its choice.
When Superintendent Rebecca Isaacs announced last year that she would be retiring after the 2019-20 school year, the BOE contracted with Qualls to oversee the search for her replacement.
Qualls helped Hawkins County Schools find its director, Matt Hixson, in 2018, and Kingsport City Schools find its director, Jeff Moorhouse, in 2017. Qualls is also conducting superintendent searches for Carter County and Alcoa City Schools in Blount County.
Isaacs told the BOE during Tuesday’s meeting that the board will have Qualls’ list of semifinalists a week before the March 12 interviews.
“When you (as a board) get together, if there is someone that you are all in favor of that you want to extend an offer to, then that’s how you’ll proceed,” Isaacs said. “If you feel at that point you need to go back to the drawing board, that’s how you’ll proceed at that time.”
Board member Dr. Scott Trent asked if the BOE could see the list of 17 applicants.
Isaacs said Qualls prefers not to share that because most of those applicants have current employers. The concern is that they might be damaged professionally if their employers found out they had applied for another position.
Isaacs is completing her ninth year as RCS superintendent, and she has stated repeatedly over the years that when she attends superintendent conferences and similar events she is the envy of her peers.
RCS is an independent Pre K-8 school with only one school building, and it pays well for its size. Isaacs’ salary in her last school year is $105,864.
But she said her peers’ envy is more about the history of success and culture of success that has been present at RCS for decades.
On Thursday, Isaacs summed up for the Times News why her job is in such high demand:
“Exceptional instructional, administrative, and support staff; strong community support; generous funding authority; long history of student success as recognized by the state; a BOE who understands its role and functions accordingly. Any time a superintendent is in a role nine years (a little over three is the average, I’m told), that speaks volumes to prospective superintendents looking in. Rogersville is an amazing community that values education, and it shows.”