The board discussed the recent town hall meeting where citizens spoke about what they wanted to see from the school system.
Board president Tracey Allen said the general consensus was the community wanted good fiscal management, a priority on technology and academics and a new high school.
“Those are the things we need to look at,” she said. “We need to know what our goals are. We need to decide what is best for our system moving forward.”
Renee Riggins is currently serving as the interim superintendent.
Riggins has worked in the city school system for 25 years. She began as a substitute teacher and worked her way up to principal at Mountainview Elementary, before moving to the school system central office. She also served as assistant superintendent.
Board member Steven Marlowe said he believed the best way to evaluate a candidate was to see them do the job. He said Riggins had “come up through the ranks” and possessed the necessary qualities to be superintendent.
“I think there are a lot of people who felt like someone from within the system who understood our system, our city and our community would be advantageous,” he said. “I think those things need to be weighed when we decide what path we are going to take.”
Board member Skip Smithwick said Riggins has done well in her six months as interim superintendent.
“She has earned the respect of her peers at the state department in the short time she has been here,” he said.
Riggins said she planned to serve for another three years within the school system. She said she would respect whatever decision the board made.
Also discussed was whether to hire an outside search firm to find the right applicant. Jennie McGhee said the cost may be worth it, given the amount of time they would have to spend in the hiring process.
Members of the board said the cost of using the firm would be around $5,000.
Attorney Brad Proctor serves as counsel for the BOE. He said that there were no requirements on either posting the job or interviewing multiple applicants for the position.
Marlowe said there is not a timetable for hiring someone.
“I would hope by the next meeting that we have a direction we want to go, whether it’s using the search firm or doing it ourselves,” he said.
The board has planned a meeting next week to discuss the matter further. It is scheduled for Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the city school’s central office. The public is invited to attend.