We welcome a new director of schools to our community today as Grant Swallows officially takes the wheel as the new leader of our school system.
Positive energy always seems to accompany a change like this, not because anything was bad before but because there's the hope things can get even better.
I would think everyone in our community would wish for the best of success for Swallows as he embarks on this new challenge. To root against him would be like rooting against the pilot of the plane you're riding in as a passenger.
Over the past couple of weeks I've had several people ask me about School Board member James Bennett, whose wife applied for the director of schools position. As we know, she didn't get the job and she promptly made a sexual discrimination claim on social media in the hours after Swallows was selected.
Mr. Bennett chimed in on social media too with some comments that couldn't be construed as complimentary toward other members of the School Board.
I realize things can be said in the heat of battle so to speak, but those comments were noticed by a number of people. It's surprising how far a couple of social media posts can spread.
Some people have told me they believe Mr. Bennett should resign his seat on the School Board because, they say, there's no way he's going to give Mr. Swallows a fair shake as director of schools. Bennett is going to be against him every step of the way because he's angry his wife didn't get the job.
I certainly hope this is not the case and I reached out to Mr. Bennett by phone and by email in hopes of getting his comments on this matter, but I wasn't given a reply. My take is he probably didn't react in the most appropriate way immediately after his wife was passed over for director of schools. But I'm certainly not one to throw stones in that battle because I've said things I would have liked to have phrased otherwise after further review.
I'm going to err on the side of optimism and believe Mr. Bennett can put this School Board decision in the past and keep the best interest of Warren County Schools, the best interest of our students, in mind when he makes decisions. There should be no reason for him to harbor ill will toward anyone.
Hiring a new director of schools was a very competitive process with several quality options. I thought our School Board did a noteworthy job of analyzing all the candidates in what was a very open selection process that was streamed live on the school system's YouTube channel.
This decision wasn't going to be an easy one and that was evident from the start. The end result was a very good choice, in my estimation, as we look to emerge from COVID-19 and get schools back in session.
There's no place for hurt feelings or personal grudges as we work to produce the best school system possible for our community.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.