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Kingsport superintendent search appears headed into 2018

Rick Wagner • Updated Dec 7, 2017 at 9:24 AM

KINGSPORT — The search for a new Kingsport superintendent of schools, originally launched with a goal of having a new school system head in place by Jan. 1 or thereabouts, might not produce a result until as long as six months later.

According to Board of Education President Susan Lodal, the search using Wayne Qualls of TEAMS Inc. is active and ongoing but appears unlikely to succeed by the end of 2017. The board’s last regular meeting was Tuesday, and no work session or called meeting is scheduled for December.

We originally targeted Jan. 1 for a new superintendent to be in place. The second choice was to have someone on the job by July 1,” Lodal said at Tuesday night’s BOE meeting. “We are learning that the beginning date for the new person will be based on who is chosen and his or her current contract.”

The system’s leaders found themselves in search mode after Lyle Ailshie, who was found through a 2012 search process with Qualls, resigned earlier this year to become a state deputy commissioner of education.

“Kingsport City Schools is in a good position to not be under pressure to make a hasty decision,” Lodal said. “This is due to the capable leadership of interim Superintendent Dr. Dwain Arnold.”

Arnold also served as interim superintendent in 2012, between the retirement of Richard Kitzmiller and the hiring of Ailshie, who was at the helm of the Greeneville school system.

She said the board will continue to do its “due diligence” in locating the best person for the job. 

Because the school system has hired an outside consultant, the identities of the potential superintendents can legally remain under wraps until the board votes in public session to offer the job to a particular one.

“Board members are independently engaged in this process and all evaluation results are communicated to Mr. Qualls. He is keeping a tally as various candidates are considered,” Lodal said. “After we make a final decision on that person by voting at a future school board meeting, we will work through the details of when our new superintendent will step into the leadership position at Kingsport City Schools.”

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