BY KARISSA MILLER
Several concerned residents spoke out about the superintendent’s search process at the Iredell-Statesville Board of Education meeting on Monday, Nov. 4.
Former county commissioner and public-education advocate Diane Hamby criticized the board’s plan to handle the search for a new leader in-house. Superintendent Brady Johnson announced that he will no longer be I-SS superintendent when his contract expires on June 30, 2020.
“When I read what you all plan to do to hire a new superintendent, I really had myself a good laugh,” Hamby said. “When I need professional services, I do not attempt to do certain things myself or ask unqualified people to do them.
“I would never think to rewire my house myself or ask my garbage man to do it … I would call a pro so I don’t burn my house down,” she continued.
Hamby encouraged the board to hire a professional firm that is qualified to lead a national superintendent search.
“I implore you to stop thinking you can do a very complicated job in-house and on your own … Iredell County deserves the best possible candidate for superintendent … and to find that person we need the pros who know how to do that,” Hamby said.
The school board should begin the process with an open mind and should thoroughly consider all qualified applicants, she said.
“Right now, the process looks like a bunch of good ol’ boys already making up their minds who they’re going to hire. That’s the rumor out there and it’s only going to get worse,” Hamby said. “Spare us the unnecessary drama. Hire the pros and find us a great superintendent. We are all watching.”
Jean Foster, who is the parent of an I-SS student, also criticized the search process and said the next superintendent will have a major impact on her family.
Foster said she has spent the majority of her career working in human resources and is familiar with hiring people for different roles. She continued by explaining she had a unique perspective, and that there’s a vast difference between hiring someone for her business and hiring an administrator for a public school system.
“The decision to conduct this search in-house speaks to the lack of understanding to what the scope of this search will entail,” Foster told the school board.
She also questioned whether the school board’s attorney and staff have had training on how to evaluate survey information, such as how to remove outliers without also removing critical information.
Foster also speculated that the other possibility is the board isn’t concerned about what the people want in the next superintendent.
“I heard a lot of ‘we need to figure out what we want from the new superintendent’ talk,” she said.
If it’s a lack of understanding, she said the board should let a professional team handle the search.
Choosing to handle the search in-house without assistance of professionals makes residents wonder if the board has already chosen the next superintendent, which “reeks of collusion,” she added.
The Iredell-Statesville school board will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 12, to discuss the process and documentation for the superintendent search. The meeting, which is open to the public, begins at 10 a.m. at the Career Academy and Technical School, 350 Old Murdock Road in Troutman.
Also, during the meeting, the board will discuss a budget resolution.