Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
The Carter County Board of Education had an item on their meeting agenda last week they ended up dropping right from the outset – the resignation of Superintendent of Carter County Schools, Dr. Ronnie Dotson. After amending their agenda to move executive session from the end of the meeting to the beginning, and to remove item 5c related to a superintendent search committee, the board returned to regular session to elect Lisa Ramey Easterling as new chairperson and Rachel Fankell as vice-chair.
Dotson then briefly addressed his decision to stay for another year. He said after discussing the situation with the board they had decided now was not the best time to transition to a new superintendent.
“With just coming back from COVID, and the building projects we have that are pending, in talking with (the board) we decided there might be a better time to transition to new leadership in the district,” Dotson said. “I appreciate their confidence in me, and I will certainly do my very best, as I have for the past ten years.”
Dotson then moved into discussions regarding the thirty day plans for elementary schools, and said he was, “excited to get started on a school year that looks much more normal.”
Following the meeting Dotson elaborated on his decision to stay on for another year.
“It’s been a very hard decision – in deciding to go, you never know when the right time is. So, in talking with board members and several people in our community, they have encouraged us to reconsider.”
One reason is the number of building and improvement projects the school system has in their plans for the coming year.
“Because of the number of things we have going on, with coming back from COVID and the renovations at East Carter High School, the building of a new vocational school, renovating the HVAC systems at both middle schools – there’s just a lot going on right now,” Dotson said.
With that encouragement, he said, he has decided to stay for at least another year. If he decides to go ahead and move on after the end of the next school year, that will still give the board more time to begin the process of searching for a new superintendent.
Because of the way hiring is done and contracts are written, he said, this isn’t the best time of year for the board to begin looking for a new superintendent either.
“Typically, when superintendents resign it’s at the end of the school year,” he said. “Because we did make the decision later in the year, I told them (the board) I would stay until September, to get the new year started.”
He said it was very likely a late start could impact the number of qualified applicants the board could attract.
“I’m sure that would impact it because most everybody has probably already applied for positions that were posted in the spring,” Dotson continued. “And, of course, ours wasn’t (posted), so I want to be fair to the people of Carter County and make sure they have every opportunity to find the best candidates that they can.”
While he won’t completely rule out staying longer, he said this next year will “most likely” be his last.
“I hate to speculate, given that I’ve changed my mind on this one,” Dotson said with a laugh. “But, most likely we’ll stay for one more year.”
In other action the board moved to approve policy and procedure updates, pay period schedules, Grayson Speech Therapy services agreement, orientation and mobility contract, community eligibility provisions, community eligibility provisions, and to acknowledge receipt of reports.
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