Last week, the Metro Nashville School Board received a slate of six candidates for the position of Director of Metro Nashville Public Schools. The slate was selected by Jim Huge, a candidate recruiter hired by the Board. On Thursday, the school board interviewed each of the six. Amy Frogge and Jill Speering unsuccessfully tried to add a seventh candidate because none of the six were female. Of course, none of the six were Asian or Hispanic or gay or transgendered, as far as we know. I don't know about their geographical, religious. political, economic, marital status, involvement with the criminal justice system, or food preference or music preference diversity. With only six candidates you can't cover the full gamut of diversity factors. Also, one doesn't know how diverse was the pool from which the recruiter could pull.
On Friday, the school board narrowed the list to three finalists. Prior to narrowing the list, one of the original six withdrew. His reason for withdrawing was not stated, but speculation is that the antics of Frogge and Speering may have been responsible. School Board Chairman Sharron Gentry expressed her disappointment at the attempts of Frogge and Speering to disrupt the selection process. “It was reminiscent of some of the things from last year,” Gentry said. “I was irritated and very disappointed in our behavior.”
Last year after a long search for a replacement for Jesse Register, the departing Director of Schools, the board was unsuccessful in filling the position. The Board was disappointed in the candidates submitted by the search firm, but ended up offering the position to Williamson County Schools Director Mike Looney who ended up turning down an offer. Many say having such a divided School Board may have made candidate recruitment difficult. After failing to fill the position last year, the Board decided to put off the search until after the mayoral elections.
The decision on Friday to cap the list to only three candidates was not unanimous. Board members Mary Pierce and Elissa Kim dissented. To see The Tennessean's coverage of the issues surrounding the process of narrowing the list to final three candidates, follow this link.
The three final candidates are picture on this page. To view a profile of a candidates click on the candidate's picture.
These candidates will now move on to a second round of interviews. There will be various opportunities for public engagement and input into the search process and one may ask questions to Board members and the candidates.This is a link to the MNPS website were you may Submit your questions and comments in this short online survey.
The Board will host a series of community forums with the finalist candidates May 10-12. The forums will each feature a different candidate for an hour-long interview with parents, teachers and members of the community. The forums will be hosted at Metro middle and high schools around Nashville.
During the forums, a panel of representatives will ask questions of the finalists directly and audience members will submit questions for use by the moderator. Citizens can also submit questions online. A selection of these questions will be drawn at random each night for candidates to answer. Those who attend the forums will be asked to provide feedback for the Board at the end of each forum.
Below is a video of the Board interviewing the candidates.
This is the video of Friday's meeting that narrowed the candidates list to three finalist.