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Interviews for school post placed on hold

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
The interviewing phase in the search for a new Hartselle school superintendent probably won't begin until after the Christmas holidays.
On a recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Lee Hartsell at the school board's last meeting, the board voted unanimously to adjourn its Nov. 18 meeting until Dec. 9. It was agreed that the meeting should be devoted to a discussion and determination of the procedures to be used in the interview process as well as to decide how many and which ones of the 13 candidates will be interviewed.
Ronnie Abercrombie, chairman, had previously expressed the hope that interviewing could begin in early December and be completed by the end of the year. The possibility of meeting again as early as this week was ruled out because of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and the first week in December fell by the wayside because of a statewide meeting of school board members.
Following the meeting, Abercrombie said it is doubtful that the interviews will begin before the first of the New Year.
The board received a detailed report from a 10-member committee it appointed earlier to screen, evaluate and rank candidates for the superintendent's position. A notebook containing candidate resumes, copies of the committee's written work and a list of candidates in ranked order, was presented to each board member.
Frank Parker, chairman, reported that the committee took its job seriously and worked well together.
He pointed out that committee members did not know who the candidates were until November 2, two days after the application deadline. They reviewed the applications individually and used a model based on a military scoring system to rank them one to 10, with 10 being the highest possible score. At no point in the process were they aware of scores that were given by other committee members. They also were asked to remove themselves from scoring the application of a relative or someone about whom they did not feel comfortable for any reason.
Committee members checked a minimum of three and no more than four references on each candidate, using the same 10 questions. All references checkout out satisfactorily, Parker said
Parker pointed out that he received a request two days earlier to remove the name of Anita Buckley Commander from consideration.
The ranked list of candidates has Janet Irons Harris, principal of Huntsville High School, in the No. #1 position. William Michael Reed, Butler County superintendent, is second and Crestline Elementary School Principal Dr. Joe Walters is third.
The superintendent's position will become vacant March 1, 2005 with the retirement of Dr. Hartsell. However, he will remain on the payroll until July 1, 2005, because of accrued leave time.