Hawkins BOE set to interview six director finalists

Jeff Bobo • Sep 17, 2018 at 12:12 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Three current employees, a former principal and school administrators from California and Alabama are among the six director of schools finalists who will be interviewed by the Board of Education next month.

On Thursday evening, search consultant Wayne Qualls presented the BOE with six names, as well as a sealed packet containing their resumes and cover letter essays they were required to write.

Board members will have until Oct. 1 to submit a list of questions they want asked during the Oct. 11-12 interviews, which Qualls will compile into 20 identical questions that will be asked of all six finalists.

The board is seeking a replacement for Steve Starnes, who resigned earlier this year to accept the director of schools position in Greeneville.

Who are the six finalists?

Jim Ailshie, who is currently track and cross country coach at Volunteer High School and has a total of eight years experience as a middle school principal, first at Surgoinsville, then at Rogersville.

Ailshie was a finalist in the director search in 2014 and received a majority vote of 4-3 in favor, but at the time the board was advised that a supermajority, or five votes, was needed to hire a director. When it became clear that fifth vote would not be forthcoming, Ailshie agreed to withdraw, opening the door for Starnes’ appointment.

Thomas Floyd, who has been principal at Cherokee High School since 2015, was also principal at St. Clair Elementary School, was also a head baseball coach in high school and has 12 years’ experience in the classroom.

Greg Sturgill, who has been Hawkins County Schools attendance supervisor since 2014, completed the 2014 Prospective Superintendent Academy, is the current president of the East Tennessee Attendance Supervisor Association and has experience in multiple athletic coaching roles.

Patrick Fraley, who is principal at Greeneville High School, which ranks 23rd best in Tennessee by U.S. News and has an average ACT of 21.3. Fraley is also a former principal of Cherokee High School, a former high school head football coach and worked in Hawkins County’s central office.

Matt Hixon, who has been assistant director for six years sin San Jacinto, Calif., which has 10,000 students. Qualls said Hixon is known for his recruitment of teachers, a technology expert, has experience as a principal, and he has five children between the ages of 10 and 16 whom he wants to raise in a rural setting like Hawkins County.

Thomas Sisk, who has been superintendent of Limestone County Schools in Alabama for six years. He has a doctorate in numismatics (coins and currency) in addition to an Ed.S. in education, was one of 300 recipients of the National Superintendent Certifications, earned the Alabama State Legislative Award for five years and led Limestone to “Top Distinction for Career Training.”

Schedule for interviews

All candidate interviews are open to the public at the Bus Shop.

The schedule for Thursday, Oct. 11 is: 5-6 p.m., Thomas Floyd; 6:15-7:15, Jim Ailshie; and 7:30-8:30 Matt Hixon.

The schedule for Friday, Oct. 12 is: 5-6 p.m., Patrick Fraley; 6:15-7:15 p.m., Thomas Sisk; and 7:30-8:30, Greg Sturgill.

Qualls will ask the questions and board members will score each of the answers on a scale of 1-5, with a maximum score of 100.