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School Transition Committee invites educational consultant to its meetings

By Bill ShortFlag City Logo

The Millington School Transition Committee invited an educational consultant to its meeting this week to receive input regarding the search for the city’s first school superintendent.
Dr. Wayne Qualls, owner of TEAMS Inc., met with the committee last night in the Executive Conference Room of the Harvell Civic Center.
Alderman Mike Caruthers, the committee’s chairman, said Qualls wanted to have a “question-and-answer session” and “get some guidance” from the school board candidates, who were also invited to the meeting. He described him as a “heavy hitter” in the educational field.
Prior to starting his consulting firm, Qualls served as principal of Centerville Elementary School, superintendent of the Hickman County School System, Tennessee assistant commissioner as well as commissioner of education and executive vice chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents.
At Caruthers’ request, Qualls submitted a proposed employment contract to assist the school board in the search for a superintendent. It is currently being reviewed by City Attorney Charles Perkins.
If everything is “amenable,” Caruthers said, and everyone likes “what’s going on,” the proposed contract will be presented for approval at the Nov. 4 meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
At the committee’s Oct. 17 meeting, he said it needed some guidance from the school board candidates regarding the superintendent search. The candidates said they would like the search  to begin.
Interim City Manager Mike Chesney, a committee member, said a professional “search firm” can provide the “networking, continuity and knowledge of the industry” that is needed for the search. Caruthers noted that Qualls submitted a proposal the day before that listed the services he would offer.
Louise Kennon, an uncontested candidate for Position 5 on the school board, said it must seek professional expertise to find the person it needs.
Cecilia “C. J.” Haley, a candidate for Position 2, acknowledged that the board will have “a big job” ahead of it to find “the right person.”
Greg Ritter, an uncontested candidate for Position 1, said the superintendent does not necessarily have to be a “Millington person,” but someone who is familiar with the “uniqueness” of the community.
Don Holsinger, a candidate for Position 7, said that if Qualls is hired, he should look for someone from West Tennessee.
For stability, Caruthers said, the board needs to get a “good superintendent” who will be in that position for a long time.
Noting that there is no “recovery time” if the board makes a “mistake,” committee member Ron Williams said it needs to do “the very best” it possibly can.
In response to a question by Ritter, Perkins said the board cannot hire a superintendent until after the election results are certified on Dec. 1.
After the board is sworn in, Caruthers said, it should get together, elect a chairman and determine a regular meeting date and time. Then, it should start interviewing superintendent applicants, with the hope that it can hire someone by “the middle of December.”

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