Ridenour named interim

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By Jennifer Caldwell

Sharon Ridenour was greeted with a rousing ovation as she took her place next to chairman Mike Orick at Tuesday night’s board of education meeting.

After a nomination by board member Rector Miller the group voted unanimously to name Ridenour interim director in the wake of former director Dr. Michael Martin’s abrupt departure from the system Friday.

While Ridenour may be new to the director’s chair she is no stranger to education.

A 41- year veteran of the county’s school system, Ridenour said she began her career teaching business education at LaFollette High School.

 Prior to her appointment to interim director spot Ridenour served as the career and technical education supervisor.

“It’s been a whirlwind for the last few days,” Ridenour said of the recent activity at the central office. 

But despite the chaos created by the alleged activity of Martin and Karen Bundren, former federal programs director, Ridenour said she is ready to return the focus back to education.

“Our test scores have improved and our teacher and students are doing a great job,” the interim director said.  “Now we need to place the emphasis on continuing to make strides.”

No time frame has been set for hiring replacing Martin. 

Orick informed his colleagues that in coming days board attorney Dail Cantrell would conduct a workshop schooling them on the steps needed to initiate the hiring process.

In the event that Ridenour is not chosen to fill the permanent role of director of schools, the motion by Miller made it clear that she would be returned to her previous post at the same rate of pay.