Both finalists, Charlotte Britton and Ray Hatfield, are currently employed as Central Office supervisors within the Hawkins County school system.
Britton is federal projects director and Title One supervisor and has 33 years of experience in education. Britton was Tennessee Supervisor of the Year in 2005, is a member of the Tennessee Staff Development Council, and coordinated the Hawkins County Schools comprehensive school improvement plan.
Hatfield is technology supervisor with 15 years of education experience. Hatfield oversees all computer, Internet and instructional software programs within the district.
Board Chairman Robert Stidham told the Times-News the board received five strong applicants who would make good replacements for Director of Schools Clayton Armstrong, who retires as of July 1. He said it's unfortunate that the board can only pick one.
"We set out the requirements for the position, and only two of the applicants met those requirements," Stidham said. "They're basically the same requirements we had in place four years ago when we hired Mr. Armstrong. I believe a requirement that slipped up the other applicants was the valid superintendent's license issued by the state.
"That's not to say that the other three applicants wouldn't make good superintendents, but we established these guidelines, and in fairness we really needed to stick to them."
The other applicants who were eliminated from contention were: Jim Hageman, who is Hawkins County middle school supervisor and coordinator of building projects with 37 years of experience in education; Gay Graybeal, who is principal at St. Clair Elementary School with 37 years of education experience; and Robert Vick, who is an elementary school principal in the Jefferson County school system.
The BOE met in workshop session last Thursday and narrowed the list to two candidates following a lengthy discussion.
The Hawkins County director of schools requirements and qualifications as posted by the school district state: "At least 10 years of experience in teaching and school administration, and earned master's degree with a major in educational administration - Ph.D. or Ed.D. preferred, have a valid superintendent's license issued by the state Board of Education, and such alternatives to the above qualifications as the board may find appropriate or acceptable."
"The board had quite a bit of discussion about what is a valid superintendent's license," Armstrong said Tuesday. "There is an endorsement on a license, Code 90, which requires some specific coursework. It deals with school and community relations, school finance, school law and similar coursework.
"Upon reviewing the applications, only two of the candidates had the superintendent's endorsement Code 90, so the board narrowed the field down to two who will be interviewed."
Both interviews are scheduled for March 13 beginning at 9 a.m. at the bus garage boardroom. The BOE flipped a coin, and Hatfield will be interviewed first for approximately 45 minutes, followed by Britton for 45 minutes.
A special called meeting has been scheduled for March 15, at which time the BOE will name the new director.
That "director-elect" will begin working with Armstrong at the beginning of April and will take over as director on July 1.