The Cleveland City School Board on Thursday afternoon approved a process for replacing Dr. Martin Ringstaff, district director since 2011.
Tennessee Schools Boards Association (TSBA) Executive Director Tammy Grissom attended the meeting to assist in planning the search for a new director. The board worked with TSBA five years ago in the selection of Dr. Ringstaff.
“I commend the board for moving on with the process in order to find the best person to lead the school district,” said Ms. Grissom.
To begin the meeting, the board members looked at the criteria they used in their search five years ago. They used a brochure to outline this criteria and determined which aspects of the criteria they desired to keep or revise.
One such characteristic they debated included whether or not they needed to require their ideal candidate to have a doctorate degree. The board stated that while they preferred finalists to hold a doctorate degree, it was not a deal breaker for them.
The board also revised the rule regarding required years of previous experience, increasing the three-year requirement to a minimum of five years.
“We can be picky, but we have to be sure to not exclude good candidates,” said Dawn Robinson, chairperson.
They also described key characteristics they look for in their applicants, including problem-solving skills, the ability to be proactive, and passion for the position.
Following the approval of the criteria for applicants, the board moved on to discussing the timeline of hiring a new director.
They decided on a deadline of April 15 for applications, which would allow time for TSBA to screen and review candidates. On May 2, Ms. Grissom will return to a meeting with the board to present the top applicants.
Interviews will the finalists will occur in the beginning of May and will include multiple components, such as introducing candidates to the Cleveland community in meetings with the City Council, business leaders, and teachers. This allows the candidate to experience Cleveland first-hand and determine if they are a fit for Cleveland City Schools.
“We want to sell Cleveland to our candidates and show them that Cleveland is a great place to live,” said Ms. Robinson.
Board members will also visit the candidates’ home towns in the interview process, as this allows them to ask questions about the candidates from people who know them from their own communities.
A final decision will be made the last week in May and the board will offer a contract at that time to their top candidate.
Dr. Ringstaff was fired after he recently admitted to sending sexual message to a woman other than his wife.
The meeting closed with an accepted motion to approve the timeline.
For more information about the Cleveland City School Board of Education, visit www.clevelandschools.org/domain/232.