The top candidates for director of Fayetteville City Schools are being interviewed this week.

In a work session last week, members of the Fayetteville City Board of Education narrowed the list of candidates, selecting the top six to undergo interviews as the process continues toward naming a successor for Dr. Janine Wilson by Aug. 1.

Wilson, who has served as director of city schools for the past 10 years, announced in January that she would retire at the end of this calendar year, Dec. 31.

The top six include two local candidates, Rujena Dotson, educational supervisor for the system, and Dr. Bridgette Jones, principal of Ralph Askins Elementary. Rounding out the field of hopefuls are Dr. Myles Hebrard, supervisor of special education, Oak Ridge Schools; Bill W. Hopkins, Jr., superintendent of schools, Morgan County Schools, Decatur, Ala.; Dr. David Martin, superintendent of the Tennessee School for the Blind; and Dr. Beverly Miller, director of instruction, Maury County Schools.

All total, eight candidates had applied for the position, said Jeff Whitmore, chairman of the city school board, as the work session got underway, noting that the deadline had been extended to April 27. Officials met in a virtual session under Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order 16 issued in March, authorizing all governing bodies to meet electronically during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interviews were scheduled to occur Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

Track bid accepted

In the school board’s regular session, held just after the work session, officials accepted a bid of $91,750 for repairs to the track at Fayetteville High School. The bid was submitted by Lincoln Paving.

The board opted not to accept an alternate bid for additional $15,000 to have the track stripped.

Wilson explained that she was not recommending stripping since the school does not have a track program; however, she said the repairs to the track itself needed to be done – “It’s dangerous at this point,” she said. “Considering, too that the community uses the track, I think it’s a wise choice for the repairs to be made.

Emergency resolution

The Fayetteville City School Board also approved an emergency resolution, adopting, revising and suspending several board policies in order to comply with the governor’s recommendations and Tennessee State Board of Education’s rules and policies for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

Public Chapter 652, signed by Lee, removes the requirement for TCAP testing and allowed the State Board of Education to promulgate necessary rules to address issues created by COVID-19. Those changes made by the state conflicted with the local board’s policies.

Board members praised the efforts of their teachers, administrators, and supervisors in how they’ve responded in the wake of the pandemic, saying they’ve put the wellbeing of students and parents before their own as they’ve worked through the crisis.

“Our folks have done a very good job of getting in contact with students and their parents, giving direction, and serving their needs from day one,” said Whitmore. “I can’t tell you how impressed I’ve been with their response.”

Other business

Additionally, the board approved a budget amendment of $11,500 in legal services’ expense related to the system’s appeal of the TSSAA’s decision last fall on a FHS player’s eligibility to play football over a busing issue.

In discussion, it was noted that the system would not be opening the its summer FAST program this year due to COVID-19.

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