It will mark his second time as interim superintendent in five years — as school officials ponder a start to the process of filling the position permanently.
At its regular meeting on Thursday, the Board of Education unanimously voted to appoint Arnold, chief academic officer for elementary education, as interim superintendent when Lyle Ailshie leaves the position Aug. 11 to take a deputy commissioner job with the Tennessee Department of Education. The appointment came after a unanimous vote to release Ailshie before the 60-day notice stipulated in his contract.
“He (Arnold) has filled that role very well in the past,” outgoing BOE President Eric Hyche said in nominating Arnold as interim superintendent, a motion that passed 5-0 after a second by incoming BOE Vice President Karen Reed-Wright. The board appointed Arnold interim in 2012 between the retirement of Richard Kitzmiller and the hiring of Ailshie.
Member Carrie Upshaw said Ailshie has done a great job helping move the school system forward, and while Ailshie’s job is in Nashville, he and his family plan to remain in Kingsport.
“This is home. We do plan to live in Kingsport,” Ailshie said. “I’ll just do some traveling during the week.” His youngest daughter is a rising senior at Dobyns-Bennett High School, and he, his wife and daughter moved from Greeneville in 2012 when he left the superintendent’s job there to head the Kingsport system.
“I hope we have created a compelling vision for the community that will drive excellence for a long time,” Ailshie said. “I will be watching, so we expect world-class things to happen.”
As for the search for Ailshie’s permanent replacement, Hyche said he has attempted to contact three private companies that provide search services and has gotten responses from two: Centerville-based TEAMS Inc., also known as Tennessee Education Management and Services Inc., using Wayne Qualls, which the board used in 2012; and Iowa-based Ray and Associates Inc., which it considered using in 2012. Hyche said proposals would be coming soon.
Hyche said TEAMS charges $6,000 plus expenses. He said he doesn’t know the fees for Ray or the third firm.
Thursday marked Ailshie’s last voting board meeting unless once is called. The board plans a reception for him before the regular July 18 work session but will not meet again in a regular session until Aug. 22.
Among other actions at the meeting, the board unanimously elected Susan Lodal president and Reed-Wright vice president, replacing Hyche and Lodal, respectively. Also, newly re-elected members Upshaw and Hyche were sworn in to their four-year terms by Angie Marshall, deputy city recorder, with Vice Mayor Mike McIntire presenting them Church Circle prints.