School board chairman resigns, intends to apply for superintendent’s position

Published 5:43 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2023

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Lincoln County Board of Education Chairman Bruce Smith has resigned from his position and stated his intent to apply for the superintendent’s position.

Smith made the announcement during the board’s March 9 meeting.

“After much consideration, I am submitting my letter of resignation to the board, which will be effective upon the board formally accepting it. In the interest of transparency, I do intend to apply for the superintendent’s position and do not want to be involved in any of the meetings relating to the superintendent screening committee or the selection process,” Smith said.

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Superintendent Michael Rowe also submitted a letter on Feb. 25 stating he would not be seeking another term as superintendent once his current contract is up June 30.

The board has the option to appoint and use a local superintendent search committee or to hire an outside consultant to help with the search.

A search committee, which has to be appointed within 30 days of declaring the superintendent vacancy, would consist of two teachers, one classified employee, one parent, one principal, one minority member, and one school board member.

The search committee would be expected to screen the candidate applications, construct interview questions and conduct interviews. They would also do background checks, contact references and make a recommendation to the board.

The board can interview and hire any applicant that is certified for the position, even if the applicant was not recommended by the search committee.

According to Board Attorney Grant Chenoweth, the board is required by state statute to create a screening committee whether the board chooses to use an outside consultant or not.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Janet Cole stated she would like the board to use an outside consultant for the superintendent search.

“I would encourage the board and ask for each of you to vote to incur the costs associated to use an outside provider for that,” Cole said. “This is a position of the highest administrator in the district. They are immensely influential over what is going to happen with this school district for the next four years on the contract or however long they might be in that position.”

Cole said she realizes the expense is avoidable but it would bring in a fresh pool of candidates.

“This is an immensely important decision for us to have the right candidate to be the administrator for this district for the next few years. So, I don’t know that it’s something that we should just rely on a search committee to find or to have the candidates find us,” she said. “I think it’s worthwhile to have someone going out there trying to pull in a bigger audience for this position.”

Chenoweth recommended the board schedule a special meeting to vote to accept Smith’s resignation and hold an election for the vacant chairman and vice chairman seats. He also recommended the board decide how it is going to move forward with the superintendent search during that meeting.

Board member Christine Killen said she thinks an outside consultant should be hired.

“…because I’m new to this, I just wouldn’t feel comfortable us doing it on our own,” Killen said.

Board member Gloria Sneed said she also wants to hire an outside source to help with the search.

The meeting has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on March 16.