Director hire was top of Clay school board agenda

February 8, 2012
By THOMAS P. WEAVER
HORIZON Editor
CELINA-The Clay County School Board will convene here Thursday night with hiring a new schools director at the top of their agenda, but if tomorrow night’s meeting plays out like the last one doing so may be easier said than done.
Multiple rounds of voting two weeks ago led to no end as the board became deadlocked between a pair of finalists–current system transportation and CTE director Jerry Strong and Sparta, TN elementary school principal Craig Lynn.
Voting began with the board considering a final four of candidates, two of which–Champ Langford and Anna Ruth Locke–were eliminated in the first two votes taken.
Board members were then left with the choice of either Strong or Lynn, but after two voting rounds neither received the required seven of 10 votes to become the new leader of eduction here.
As reported in the HORIZON last week, Strong garnered a consistent five votes coming from board chairman David West, fellow District 3 board member Todd Lynn, District 5 representatives Nathan Sherrell and Jerry Eads, and senior District 4 board member Dick Roberts.
Board members Heather Hammock (District 4), Veda Hix (District 2), and Annette Smith (District 1) gave their support to Lynn in the first final-round vote, but the remaining pair of board members would not declare their allegiance.
Senior District 2 board member Russell Cherry and vice-chairman Anthony Smith from District 1 both passed on the first vote. Another vote with the same results followed, and the decision was then tabled to tomorrow night.
The meeting is set to begin at 6 p.m. in the board room at the school system’s central office located here at 520 Brown Street.
Board members began their search for a new leader late last year when current schools director Donnie Cherry announced his retirement effective June 30, 2012 after serving as a Clay County educator for nearly 40 years.
Minutes after Cherry’s announcement, the board made plans to advertise the opening and set January 6 as a deadline for applications. They then cut the list of applicants to the final five earlier last month and scheduled interviews, where the aforementioned four candidates were interviewed.
See next week’s HORIZON for complete coverage of the board’s second try to hire a new director of schools and future editions for updates on this ongoing story.