By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
School Board relaxes one-year contract for school director
Tanya Bess1.jpg
Tanya Bess

In a specially called meeting Thursday night, the School Board rescinded its previous decision three days earlier regarding the requirement of only a one-year contract for the new Warren County director of schools.

School Board chair Tanya Bess said, “We really should not be putting timelines on a contract before we name a candidate. At the time we negotiate with our candidate, we can discuss terms of a contract. We are not set with a four-year contract. We are not set to do a one-year contract. I feel like it will hinder this hiring process.”

Bill Zechman said that as thoughtful and careful as the School Board is in choosing a candidate, his concern in pushing for a one-year contract was to minimize the risk of having a candidate that wasn’t the best fit for Warren County. 

The requirement that only a one-year contract be offered was rescinded by the School Board.

It was discussed further by the board a one-year contract offer will be part of negotiations with the selected individual, but not mandatory. Warren County School System attorney Robin Phillips said, “You determine in negotiations with whoever you select what type of contract you want to give them.”

Interview dates were also changed to allow more time for board members to decide who the best candidate will be. Interviews are now scheduled March 19 and 23 with two interviews per night. A meeting March 30 will announce who the top candidate is and negotiations will begin.

Four finalists were announced Monday.

Local residents Dr. Courtney Bennett and Autumn Turner are two of the finalists, along with Grant Swallows of Sparta and Roger Alsup of Winchester.

Bennett is director of adult education in Warren County, while Turner is director of teaching and learning for grades pre-K to 6.

Swallows is principal of White County High School, while Alsup is principal of Franklin County High School. All the candidates have doctorate degrees except for Turner, who is expected to complete her doctorate in May.

The official announcement for the new director of schools is planned for April 6. This will allow the new director to work and train with current director Bobby Cox before his resignation takes effect at the end of this school year.