Lewis County Herald - Serving Hohenwald, Lewis County Tennessee Since 1898

By Katelin Carroll
Staff Reporter 

Board of Education discussed necessary qualifications for new Director of Schools


February 3, 2022

The Lewis County Board of Education met on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, in a special-called workshop meeting to discuss the qualifications applicants should have to be Lewis County’s new Director of Schools following Benny Pace’s decision to retire in June.

Executive Director of the Tennessee School Systems for Equity, Wayne Qualls, attended the meeting to tell School Board members what the TSSE does for rural schools and how he could help the board find a new director.

TSSE is an organization that represents rural schools to aide in fighting for fair funding when competing with bigger school systems such as Davidson and Shelby counties.

Qualls informed the Board that he has conducted 47 or 48 searches for Superintendents where he advertises and screens applicants to make sure they are the best candidate for the job at hand.

“It’s like in real estate where they tell you the three most import things are location, location, location,” said Qualls, “In searching for a new Director of Schools, the three most important things are recruit, recruit, recruit.”

Recruiting is something that Qualls prided himself on as he has performed this job for years and knows most of the applicants.

“The most important thing to look for when selecting your main candidates is their personality and their communication skills,” said Qualls. “You also need someone who understands rural communities.”

Qualls said that the Board would probably get a lot of local applicants but with his help they could also get applicants from other parts of the state, and maybe even from other states.

“I’ve only had one Board who hired someone who was both from out of state and was from a big city. The man was from Los Angeles and he’s been there for several years now.”

He informed the board that they would still be in full control of all decisions. Qualls would be responsible for advertising the position, screening the candidates and setting up one on one interviews with Board members if the members wished to do so. Basically, the Board members could be as hands on as they wished to be or they could choose to let Qualls do the majority of the work for screening candidates and applications.

Qualls said the board could expect the process to take anywhere from 60 to 90 days at a flat fee of $7,000.

After hearing from Qualls, the board discussed whether or not to hire someone to help them screen for candidates and which qualities they were looking for in a new director.

When discussing whether or not to hire someone to help with the process of hiring, one thing was made clear. The Board wished to be very hands on in the process of searching for new candidates.

However, there was not only one organization who could assist the board in searching for their new Director of Schools. The Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) also has a representative who deals with searching for applicants. The Board decided to hold another workshop 30 minutes before their February School Board Meeting.

The board mainly referred to Board Policy 5.802 which details the duties of the Director of Schools. The policy described the Director’s qualifications as “a professional educator’s license, a master’s degree in education or higher, three years of successful experience in school administration, and such other qualifications as the board deems desirable.”

The scope of responsibility is listed as “The management responsibilities of the director of schools shall extend to all activities of the district, to all phases of the educational program, to all aspects of the financial operation, to all facility management, and to the conduct of such other duties as may be assigned by the board. The director of schools may delegate these duties together with appropriate authority but may not delegate nor relinquish ultimate responsibility for results or any portion of accountability.”

Board member Jack Holt suggested allowing teachers to weigh in on the subject too. The other board members agreed and decided to discuss and announce their decisions at the workshop scheduled for Tuesday, February 8, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. in the board meeting room.


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