I’ve followed with much interest the recent hiring process in Lexington for a new superintendent to lead the Fayette County School System.
It is amazing what a departure it is from the process use by our largest school system here, the Whitley County School System, when its Board of Education picked a new superintendent last year.
• In Fayette, applications were poured over in excruciating detail and interviews were conducted. The top three candidates were publicly announced. In Whitley, applications were breezed over with no interviews being conducted at all. A single top candidate was recommended to the school board.
• In Fayette, the “top three” were interviewed and questioned thoroughly by not only school board members, but also THE GENERAL PUBLIC, during a series of open meetings. In Whitley, some backroom discussions were conducted about the single candidate presented and then a decision was made with NO public discussion.
• In Fayette, we at least know the qualifications of two of the candidates who weren’t hired, providing some material for comparison by which the qualifications of the person who was hired can be judged. Sadly, in Whitley, the applications of those who applied but were not hired have been a jealously guarded secret. We have no way to compare the credentials of the person hired with those who weren’t.
These are the facts.
Of course, you can make up your own mind about which process is superior. In my opinion, anyone with a functioning brain would prefer the way Fayette did things.
Are there any guarantee Fayette’s way produced superior results? No. Anyone that has ever done any hiring can tell you that.
Could Whitley’s way, no matter how foolish and silly, have gotten things right in the end? I think that’s highly possible. But it’s a ridiculous, and quite frankly lazy, way to do things.
People deserve a better process. Something they can feel good about. Not another rigged afterthought that is only done to satisfy some absolute minimum legal requirements.
I’d wager in the relatively near future a local school board is going to be faced with having to replace their superintendent. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, it’s Corbin. The superintendent here, Ed McNeel, has been in the position for quite some time and has entertained thoughts of retirems, I am sure. If he leaves, what will Corbin do? I live in Corbin. My daughter, who is four-years-old, will likely graduate from Corbin’s schools. It will affect my family directly.
If the Board of Education here decides to shortchange the process and cloak everything in secrecy, I will be VERY VOCALLY opposed. I would hope others would be as well.
Just as important as hiring the right person is doing it the right way.