- Your News
By BRIAN JUSTICE
With Dr. Dan Lawson’s decision to move on, the Board of Education is contracting with the Tennessee School Boards Association to lead the effort in finding a replacement for the Tullahoma City Schools director who has been at the helm nearly 16 years.
The board approved this past week to enter into an $8,500 contract with the association to manage the process to handle advertising, field applications, screen candidates, check references and provide other services related to finding a replacement to fill the position that will become vacant as Lawson’s contract expires on June 30, 2013.
School Board Chairman Pat Welsh summed up the process.
“We want to conduct community meetings and have the candidates meet with teachers, government officials, parent-teacher organizations and with the different and various groups before there’s any kind of a final decision to see what kind of person we need,” he said. “We need to evaluate the school system’s status and find out what we can do better.”
Welsh said input will be gathered to determine such issues as whether applicants will be required to have a doctorate degree.
“There’s all kinds of questions, and there will probably be a regional and a national search,” he said. “We want to get feedback from the various organizations so we can make the best decision.”
Welsh said that in the next week or so a timeline will be established to start the replacement process, leading up to when the selection will be made.
He said with Lawson’s contract expiring and his tenure in Tullahoma ending next year, plans are to have the decision made no later that the first part of May 2013.
He said the Board of Education and those involved in the replacement process will have their work cut out to replace Lawson.
“It won’t we easy,” Welsh said. “He’s been here 16 years, and he is really well versed in our system and is very well-known throughout the state.”
Information provided from the state School Boards Association says that the replacement process will involve conducting up to 10 meetings with community groups and reporting the results to the School Board.
Association staff will also conduct interviews with School Board members to find out what they are seeking in the candidates.
Lawson announced earlier this month that he will not seek an extension to his contract when it comes to an end.
In a letter to chairman Welsh, Lawson explained his reasons for planning to move on.
“As my contract to provide leadership draws to a conclusion in June of 2013, I do not anticipate or expect a contract extension,” he said. “I understand that it is important to begin the process of identifying the needs of the board and community and that the selection process of the new superintendent should begin with all deliberate speed.
“I will be happy to assist in your work however you choose, and will be equally happy to step away and serve in a capacity more behind the scenes.”
Lawson, a native of Missouri, has overseen major renovation projects at Tullahoma High School, East Middle School, Robert E. Lee Elementary School and Wilkins Stadium, and the construction of new West Middle and East Lincoln schools.
Lawson said he plans to pursue employment opportunities aligned with his “specific skill set.”
In August 2011, board members voted in a 4-3 split decision to renew Lawson’s contract, despite of an 80 percent approval rating in his evaluation. Only six of the seven board members turned in evaluations.
Voting to renew his contract were Welsh, Vickie Shelton, Linda Thoma and Daryl Welch. In opposition were Sharon Vance, Teresa Lawson and John Manis, who did not turn in a written evaluation.