Did board of education complete an exhaustive search?

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By Susan Sharp

Did board of education complete an exhaustive search?


Before I begin let me offer two disclaimers.

The first is I think Donny Poston is a fine, Christian man. My next disclaimer is my children attend the Christian Academy of Campbell County.

That being said the Campbell County Board of Education didn’t appear to conduct a truly exhaustive search in its quest for the next director of schools.

Aside from its restrictive stance in not allowing anyone from outside the county to vie for the position, it virtually ignored the credentials of the other two applicants.

Dr. Eunice Reynolds had a resume that was as varied as it was exceptional.  Her background ran the gamut. If it has occurred in the education field, this woman was there for it.

The other candidate, Sharon Ridenour was handed a mess last fall when she was appointed as interim director. She admirably took those reins. In the meantime Ridenour has done what she can to restore the public’s trust in the county’s educational system. Not only has she accomplished that task; Ridenour knows more about educational technology than anyone else in this school system.

However, the qualities that Ridenour and Reynolds possess didn’t appear to be what the board of education was looking for.

I watched the men seated around the table during two of the interviews. When questions were asked about technology, class scheduling and philosophy the attention of the group waned some. But when the questions about the speed in which board members would be notified of a problem and if any changes would be made at central office were tossed out- their ears perked up.

As I said, I like and respect Donnie Poston. Through the years, he worked closely with my father. He has a number of good qualities. In fact I am sure he will do the job he has been hired to do and will put all of his heart in it.

My disappointment lies with board of education and the direction it chose to take.

The board had the opportunity to change this system- to move it forward.  Instead, I believe that is not what the members wanted.

Am I saying the board made the decision to hire the person it felt comfortable with? Yes.

I believe if Reynolds had been selected, she would have challenged the board- and the students- to rise to levels some elected representatives secretly felt were unattainable. Furthermore, her first priority would have been the students, not the needs of the board.

Had Ridenour gotten the job she would have also pushed everyone to not only meet but also exceed any benchmark put down. She also would have done it her way using the skills she has acquired during her career. She too would have focused on the students- not the board.

It saddens me to say these things. The current school board does have a few levelheaded, progressive thinkers currently serving on it. Overall, though, I think the majority of them are longing for the “good ole days” when teachers didn’t have to worry about tenure and directors were superintendents.