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Superintendent search continues

The Ashe County Board of Education will begin interviewing candidates
for the superintendent's position next week.

Originally published: Apr. 17, 2013
Last modified: Apr. 17, 2013

Jesse Campbell

Transparency and honesty are two qualities the Ashe County Board of Education said it is looking for in the next superintendent of Ashe County Schools. 

The BOE is inching closer to finding that next person with the first round of formal candidate interviews scheduled to begin Monday, April 22. 

Former superintendent Donnie Johnson, who served the school system from 1999 to 2009, is currently serving in the interim until the board selects a replacement for Travis Reeves.

Reeves resigned from the school system as schools’ chief effective Dec. 31, 2012. 

Reeves left ACS to take the superintendent position with the Surry County School System. 

Board of education member Polly Jones said the application process officially closed on March 22. The school system received a total of 47 applicants and that field has since been narrowed down to 18, said school board member Lee Beckworth. 

The school board is currently eyeing a July 1 start date for the new superintendent and plan to make an official decision during the June board of education meeting, said Jones. 

When asked which qualities she as a board member was looking for in a new superintendent, Jones said her list is extensive. 

“I want a person who is knowledgeable of school law and school curriculum,” said Jones. “A person who is open and will treat all of our teachers and students with respect and equality. Also, (we want) someone who has a good work ethic and someone who is honest and works well with others. He or she must show a high level of energy.”

While the exact makeup of the pool of candidates remains unknown, Jones confirmed there are some local prospects. 

“We are looking for the best candidate to lead the schools in a positive direction,” added Jones. “Someone who will work with the board and staff and do what’s right for the students.”

As a longstanding member of the school board, Charles King said he is looking for a candidate that has advanced in multiple fields as an educator including experience as a teacher, principal or some other level of administration. 

“We want to see some type of ladder they have climbed,” said King. 

Additionally, King said the board is searching for someone that has proven results as an educator and is experienced with the newly implemented common core curriculum. 

King is not chartering unfamiliar ground. He has sat on previous boards that were tasked with the honor of replacing a departing superintendent. 

As far as educational requirements, King said the board prefers an individual who has at least a Master’s degree in education although it is not required. 

King expects the interview process to wrap up by the beginning of May. 

In searching for the perfect fit for ACS, Beckworth said the board is also valuing input from school employees. 

“We sent out a survey to all 537 employees asking questions about what kind of characteristics they would like to see in a superintendent,” said Beckworth. “Most of the responses we received were sort of what you would expect and what I would want in a superintendent. We want someone with people skills, communication skills and is a good fit for our school system.”

Beckworth said the school system enjoyed a return of 51 percent on the surveys distributed to staff members. 

As ACS is in a rural setting, Beckworth said it would take a specific type of individual to be a compatible fit with the school system and its students. 

“Any time that you hire someone, you want to find the best possible fit,” said Beckworth. “You base that on their application, resume and interview. You try to do the best you can to judge if that type of person fits the school system best.”

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.