ROGERSVILLE - The Rogersville Board of Education will hire a new director of schools next month, but board members were in agreement Tuesday that they'll never replace Ravan Krickbaum.
Addressing a boardroom filled with faculty, staff, family and friends, Krickbaum announced her retirement Tuesday evening to take effect June 30. She has served as Rogersville's director of schools since 1993 and has worked in education in Hawkins County since 1972.
Most of her 35-year career has been spent at Rogersville City School.
There were a few hankies out drying moist eyes as Krickbaum thanked everyone in the room for their part in making RCS one of Tennessee's most successful schools with regard to academic performance.
She'd been discussing the possibility of retirement with her family for the past year and decided it was time.
"Michelangelo was asked how do you as a painter know when your painting is finished," Krickbaum said. "His reply was it is finished when it fulfills the intent of the artist. I guess that sums up what I would say about bringing this career to an end. I had always wanted to be sensitive to the time when you have achieved your vision and your goals, and it is that time."
Current board members Dan Brooks, Frank Testerman and Reed Matney were on the board that appointed Krickbaum in 1993 along with former members David Britton and Mary Kilpatrick. Krickbaum said she had big dreams for the system at that time - some better than others.
One dream was to be the first school with its own fast food restaurant, which she admits "would be very much out of sync in the present time."
But she said her Board of Education, which now includes Joyce Simon and Eddie Terry, gave her the opportunity to dream big dreams and gave her the flexibility to explore those dreams.
"When you dream dreams, you also have to put some feet to those dreams, and you have to come up with an intelligible plan for putting all those ideas into practice," Krickbaum said. "Any time in the past 15 years that I have come to this board with anything that was reasonable, they have supported it. You all (teachers and staff) are evidence of their belief in the education of the students who attend Rogersville City School.
"This Board of Education empowered me to be the leader of the best school in the state of Tennessee, and that has been my privilege. That is not just words from me. We have data to back that up."
The board knew they'd be there all night if they allowed every person in the audience to express a sentiment about Krickbaum. Testerman joked that everyone can make a tape, and the board will let her listen to it.
But there was no stopping a few people from expressing their feelings about their director.
"The services you've provided with regard to the city school and the accomplishments you've had are not replaceable," Testerman said. "As we go on we're going to hire a director of schools, but we're not going to replace Ravan Krickbaum. You're an asset, you've always been an asset, and I'm going to miss you."
Testerman joked, "I don't look forward to going through the process of hiring a new director, and my life would be simpler if you'd just wait until I got off the board. We probably can just reject this (resignation)."
The board will be accepting applications for the new director beginning today until May 7 at 2 p.m. The board will review applications and select candidates to be interviewed on May 8 and will interview candidates on May 22.
A special called meeting is set for May 29 to select the new director, who will begin working June 4 and take over as director July 2.