County Commissioner Tim Boyd said Wednesday that the next county school superintendent needs to carry out a house cleaning of top staff, including Assistant Supt. Lee McDade.
Saying the next school leader should be more of a business manage than an educator, he said the superintendent should look at eliminating some of the top 40 positions in the central office.
Of Asst. Supt. McDade, he said, "His name came up five times in the report about the Gatlinburg rape.
"He is part of the mismanagement of the Durham School bus fiasco, and he's making excuses why we don't need to bring in another company.
Commissioner Boyd said, "His track record all the way back to Lookout Valley is bad."
Sabrena Smedley, who called a meeting of the commission's education committee just prior to meeting with consultants tasked with finding a new superintendent, agreed that "it has to be someone with a vision for change and who will shake things up."
She also said she wants to see "someone with a proven track record" with a school system similar to Hamilton County's.
Greg Martin, who recently went from the school board to the commission, said he would like to see incentive pay offered the new superintendent.
Commissioner Boyd agreed, but said he does not believe that can legally be done unless the law is changed.
Commissioner Boyd said a part of the school problems in the past has been educators on the board. He said educators on the board gave high marks to former Supt. Rick Smith, while non-educators had much lower marks.
He said the philosophy of the educators is "Don't rock the boat. Keep our jobs."
Commissioners also said it is important that the county schools come up with a priority list on school projects and do a much better job of maintaining facilities.
Commissioner Turner said a central problem is a lack of discipline in the schools, making it difficult for teachers to teach.
She added, "I also see a lack of focus" by school officials on solving such problems as low reading and math scores.