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UnifiEd sends letter to school board asking for transparency in superintendent search

UnifiEd pens letter asking for transparency in superintendent search (Photo: WTVC)

UPDATE: The Hamilton County School Board has released a schedule of Skype interviews for superintendent finalists.

The interviews will be held in the Superintendent’s Conference room at 3074 Hickory Valley Road.

The interviews are open to the public.

You can see the Skype interview schedule here:



ORIGINAL STORY:

UnifiEd is calling on the Hamilton County School Board to be more transparent in their search for a new Hamilton County School Superintendent.

UnifiEd says their call comes after the School Board released a new candidate list Wednesday.

They say the preferred candidate list for each board member, was put together with a criteria that has not been made public.

“The board should release its plan for the superintendent search immediately to restore transparency to this process going forward,” says UnifiEd Executive Director Jonas Barriere. “The community deserves to know how candidates are being evaluated, when decisions will be made, and how they can be involved in this important decision impacting the future of our public schools.”

You can read more about UnifiEd here.


The full letter sent to chairman Steve Highlander by UnifiEd reads:

The following letter was sent to Board of Education Chairman Steve Highlander (copying all members of the Board) on May 5, 2017.

UnifiEd calls on the Hamilton County Board of Education for the immediate release of its plan for the school superintendent search and selection process. This call comes after the board’s move this week to trim the list of candidates with input through private email and a decision process based upon criteria that have not been made public.

In the absence of a public plan for the search and selection process, the community is left without a transparent view of the process. It also creates a lack of accountability on the board for its actions.

We call for the restoration of transparency in this process going forward. The community deserves to know how candidates are being evaluated, when decisions will be made, and how they can be involved in this important decision impacting the future of our public schools.

Four recommendations emerged from public meetings UnifiEd held in every district in Hamilton County in 2016 on the topic of the superintendent search. For more than a year, we have called for the following elements to be included in the board’s search and selection plan to ensure community involvement in this important decision:

  • Live streamed public interviews of potential candidates
  • Public access to finalist candidate resumes online
  • Open forums for community members
  • The creation of a community advisory council

At the October 2016 school board meeting, you committed to creating a plan to involve the community in the process and indicated that the search firm’s first task should be the creation of a plan for engaging the community. You also asked that the board’s policy committee draft a plan. To our knowledge, none of these recommendations was implemented.

Now is the time to release your plan for this process that includes a community involvement component. On behalf of our community, UnifiEd looks forward to seeing this position filled by the most qualified candidate after a thorough and transparent search that takes into account perspectives as diverse as our population.

Best regards,

Jonas Barriere

Executive Director, UnifiEd


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