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School district should name superintendent finalists

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By The Staff

 

The Taylor County Board of Education is getting its superintendent search underway, as it was announced Monday night that 12 candidates had placed their names into the mix to be the leader of the district.

The process is just in the early stages, and a superintendent is not expected to be announced until the beginning of June. There is still a lot to be discussed and evaluated moving forward, but one thing the board should keep in mind as this process unfolds is transparency.

Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t to say the board hasn’t been transparent with the community or the news media.

Board members and Tim Eaton, the Kentucky School Board official whom the board contracted with to assist in the search, have gone out of their way to answer questions and provide valuable information pertaining to the process, and have done so willingly.

However, in our opinion, it would be best if the board would consider taking an added step of transparency by releasing the names of finalists when the process reaches that point.

Mr. Eaton and the board have stated their reasoning as to why they think that would not be a good idea, and we can certainly see the logic behind their reasoning. It is absolutely understandable.

They contend that it would not be a good idea to release the names of finalists for the job because only one person can be hired, and the others will have to go back to their current jobs with the fact that they were a finalist for another job openly publicized.

It makes sense. We can understand that this would be problematic in that those individuals could feel a sense of embarrassment or could cause tension with their current employer.

However, many other school districts are taking that added step of transparency and offering the public and media representatives an opportunity to meet the finalists in a public forum where the candidates will answer questions and be available. Bardstown and Nelson County have each released the names of finalists for their open superintendent positions, as did Bullitt County and other nearby districts.

This provides the opportunity for students, parents, school employees, business partners, and other stakeholders in the community to offer their input on which individual would be best suited for a position that holds a great deal of influence in the community, and ultimately is paid for by tax-paying citizens.

The superintendent of a school district is arguably one of the most recognized individuals in a community. They make many important decisions and their leadership can have a major impact on the future direction of a school district.

We believe that by allowing the stakeholders of the district the opportunity to be aware of  the finalists for this position, it increases public trust and allows those individuals who greatly care about the school district the opportunity to feel like they are involved with a decision that will affect so many.

It was said Monday night that the biggest decision a school board will ever make is hiring a superintendent, and we completely agree. It is a major decision, and we certainly do not envy the board members tasked with this decision.

Ultimately, they will choose the individual they feel is best suited for the position, and there will be a lot of deliberation that goes into that decision. Adding another layer of transparency to this process would be a positive, in our opinion, and something the board members should heavily consider.