Tullahoma City Schools Superintendent Dan Lawson announced last week that he will resign from his position at the end of this calendar year rather than finish out his contract term through June 2019.
In an April 6 letter to the school board provided to The News, Lawson explained his decision to leave early stemmed from a period of reflection on what he wants to do following his time at TCS.
“In the last few months, I have reflected on what I want to do in the next chapter in my life that would be both fulfilling and allow me to add value to the enterprise,” he said.
After discussing the matter with Wayne Qualls, the educational consultant hired by the school board to search for Lawson’s replacement, Lawson said he has accepted a teaching position at Lee University in Cleveland in the school’s college of education.
Lawson’s resignation will be effective on Dec. 31, according to the letter, and he will begin teaching at Lee in January.
“The administration of Lee University has graciously consented to defer my start date until January 2019, thereby providing ample time for an overlap between my administration and that of the superintendent to be employed by the Tullahoma City Schools Board of Education,” Lawson said in the letter.
Lawson said he has appreciated and loved his time at the helm of the Tullahoma school district.
“I have been blessed in a partnership of more than two decades with Tullahoma City Schools that has provided tremendous opportunities for personal and professional growth, as well as deep and abiding friendships,” he said.
“My family has enjoyed tremendous educational, social and economic opportunities in large part based on the love and services provided by our great school system and community.”
Lawson concluded his resignation letter with a hope that whomever the board chooses to succeed him will also experience the same positive environment he did during his tenure here.
“I only hope that the person blessed with the privilege of assuming the leadership mantle with TCS will enjoy the same experience that has been provided me. I will always value the time spent together and will continue to hold each of you in the highest regard.”
Board of Education Chairman Pat Welsh said he was sad to see Lawson go, but grateful for the time he spent here.
“We’re losing a great superintendent that’s given a whole lot of wonderful service to students in our community,” Welsh said.
That Lawson is leaving is not news to the school board, which has been in the midst of a hiring search for the better part of nine months.
When Lawson announced last June that he was not seeking a contract extension or renewal when his current contract expires, the board immediately began looking into ways to search for a new replacement.
That discussion led to the hiring of Qualls, who has conducted the superintendent searches for school systems across the state and beyond. Qualls is currently vetting candidates for the superintendent’s post and will hold a community feedback session at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25 in the Tullahoma High School auditorium.
Qualls established a tentative timeline at a February school board study session, saying he could have a new superintendent in place for the district by “early 2019.”
With Lawson leaving earlier than expected, that deadline will now be pushed up in order to accommodate the more immediate need.
According to Welsh, Lawson’s timeline is “perfect” for the district, as the candidates Qualls has already spoken to regarding the job indicated “January would be a perfect start date.”
“We should have no trouble having somebody hired,” Welsh said.
Erin McCullough may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.