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Committee wants unified superintendent by end of year

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Memphis, TN -

The search for the unified school system was once on the fast track, but may have hit a speed bump.

The ad hoc committee in charge of developing the search process spent the last three meetings asking questions and requesting more information, but no official motions have been made about the process.

"The purpose of this committee is just to come up with a proposed timeline and a process for selecting the superintendent, and the committee has not even done the first step," says Committee Member and Unified School Board Member Patrice Robinson.

The committee voted last week to extend their deadline for a finalized proposal to Sept. 30 before the committee dissolved on Oct. 31. Their original deadline was Aug. 31 when the school system technically dissolved.

"Time is important but quality is also important," says Committee Chair Chris Caldwell, "I'm willing to work at the pace of the committee so that all of the members feel like they have the knowledge they have."

While the superintendent search timeline was one of the main bullet points on Thursday's agenda, no votes or motions were made.

"What we did decide this evening is that we're not going to have a real hard date. We're going to remain flexible but we're looking at having someone in place by the end of the year," says Robinson.

A Tennessee School Board Association representative spoke via web conference at the meeting, adding that the school board needs to select the right candidate for superintendent even if that means extending the committee's proposed deadline.

The committee still has to decide on if they will bring in a search firm or consulting firm. At their meeting next week, members say they want to decide on the search being local, regional or nationwide.

With those other decisions still to be made, the committee is adding to that list whether or not to have community meetings. At these meetings, committee members would present the Transition Planning Commission's list of superintendent qualifications to the public. The public would then be able to voice additional qualifications the superintendent should have or if a qualification should be changed.

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