In a special called meeting Thursday evening, Oct. 25, Johnson, former superintnendent, Cherokee County Schools and current physical educationt eacher at Centre Elementary School, was one of eight candidates who interviewed for the position. The other candidates were Amy Kelly who has 16 years experience in both pre and post secondary education; Stephen Ingram, who teaches at Cherokee County High School; Wes Neyman, assistant principal at Spring Garden School; Mandy Caldwell, who works in administration in a Georgia School System; Stephanie West, assistant principal at Gaylesville School; Rashida Dupree, a kindergarten teacher at Centre Elementary School and Kyle Jones who teaches in a Georgia School system.
“Some of you were fortunate enough to be at the interviews we held Thursday night,” said said Dr. Wood during the Oct. 25 meeting.
“Since being charged with the responsibility of being superintendent for the transition period until our new administration arrives, we felt like we were in need of a principal at Centre Elementary School and I did not take that responsibility lightly.
“I spent a full day at Centre Elementary School on Tuesday listening to parents, grandparents, teachers and support personnel.
“I did not entertain any names but I phrased my questions to everyone that I spoke to and listened to in the form of what are you looking for in a leader.
“There are no perfect leaders but what would be the top five things you would be looking for in a leader, what leadership style and characteristics?”
“And then I asked what are your concerns for Centre Elementary School and where would you like to see it go?” said Dr. Wood.
“And I had a good turnout. I would say I spent a lot of time on the phone with people, I spent a lot of time with emails and I spent a lot of time just listenting to people talk and they had a lot of good input.”
“I looked for trends,” said Dr. Wood.
“I looked for what was it that Centre Elementary School was looking for, and you have this in your board packet.”
“The very first thing Centre Elementary School was looking for in a principal was someone who loves children,” said Dr. Wood.
“Someone who is not afraid for the children to come up and hug them, someone who is kid friendly, someone who is putting the kids first.
“That was their first and foremost thing I heard across the board.
“I also heard someone who is visible.
“They want someone who doesn’t lead from behind a desk, someone who is out and about that can call the kids by name, who will be in the teachers’ classrooms.”
“They also want someone who wil be supportive of them, who will listen to them. who will have their back, but someone who is not afraid if they have to make a decision to make a decision, some one who doesn’t seek confrontation but is not afraid of confrontation,” said Dr. Wood.
“They desire a leader who will listen to their concerns, that is open, and approachable.
“And they want somebody that has the knowledge, experience and skills necessary to lead them to a higher level.”
“After I listended to all of that, I also attended the candidate forum,” noted Dr. Wood.
“And I listened to the candidates who are running for office and one of the specific questions, at the AEA Forum was ‘What is going to be your procedure for hiring practices?’
“And the majority of every one of them said ‘I would hire based on qualifications and experience and if you had apples to apples on paper, then I would hire from within.’”
“I took all of that information and I don’t know how many of you were there to hear the interview questions, but I formulated what I considered to be a very tough interview,” said Dr. Wood.
“All of my interviews are behavioral interviews.
“I want to know are you able to handle situations, are you able as a leader to step up and be the person you need to be in that position, so I felt like they were very thorough questions. I was the only one that had privilege to those questions and for those of you who made it through the entire night, you may have gotten tired of those questions, but I do feel like it was a very thorough interview. And I ranked those once I was finished.
“And I put a lot of time and thought and a lot of deliberation into my decision and after careful consideration, I feel like at this time that without reservation, I recommend Mr. Brian Johnson for the principal position at Centre Elementary,” said Dr. Wood.
The board, upon Dr. Wood’s recommendation, then approved a 3.8-year contract for Johnson.
“I chose that specifically, because I do not want to see Centre Elementary School end up in a position where they are without a principal in the middle of the year,” said Dr. Wood.
The board also approved the retirement of Tammy Fleming as a guidance counselor at Sand Rock School, effective Jan. 1, 2013. Fleming has 30 years of service with the Cherokee County School System.
In other personnel action, the board:
-Approved the resignation of Cathy May as an elementary teacher at Cedar Bluff School.
-Approved postings for a guidance counselor position at Sand Rock School, an elementary teacher at Cedar Bluff School and an in school suspension with possible coaching responsibilities (posting retroactive to Oct. 29, 2012) at Centre Middle School.
-Approved the support placement of Pam Johnson as a special education paraprofessional/bus aide-county wide.