Carter school board picks Kevin Ward for interim director spot

John Thompson • Apr 20, 2012 at 6:17 AM

ELIZABETHTON — The Carter County Board of Education unanimously elected Kevin Ward to be the interim director of the school system for the period from July 1 until June 30, 2013.

The motion to appoint Ward to the position was made by Jerry McMahan and the motion was accepted by acclamation.

Ward has been serving as assistant director under Director Shirley Ellis for the past two years. The board voted 5-3 in February to go in another direction when Ellis’ employment contract expires at the end of June.

Board member Keith Church asked when the search for a new director would begin. The consensus was the search should be under way in January, giving the board time to thoroughly review the candidates.

Board member Daniel Holder said Ellis and Ward have worked well together and there should be a smooth transition.

Ward did not speak about his elevation during the meeting, but later he said he did not want to have the spotlight on him while Ellis is still the director. He said he is looking forward to working with Ellis during the transition and said the u p c o m i n g budget work “is the most difficult I have seen in my career.”

The school system is facing a loss of revenue next year because of a decline of 100 students in the average daily membership calculations. At the same time, the school system is anticipating more than $1 million in new expenses.

In other matters, the board approved the bid for a new public address system for Little Milligan Elementary School. The bid was $10,253.

The board also approved the purchase of material for new bathrooms at Valley Forge Elementary School. Facilities supervisor Phillip Nave said the materials will cost $48,422. The work will be done by members of Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church, which neighbors the school.

During her report to the board, Ellis said Little Milligan Elementary Principal J.R. Campbell has been recognized as one of the most effective of Tennessee’s nearly 1,400 elementary and middle school principals.

Ellis said Campbell will attend a ceremony at the Tennessee Supreme Court on May 14 in which he and the other 17 principals will receive Education Consumers’ Foundation Value Added Assessment Awards, with values between $1,000 and $3,000. Ellis said Gov. Bill Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Speaker of the House Beth Harwell have been invited to make the presentations.

Ellis said there will also be a local awards banquet to honor all students, freshmen through seniors, who achieved a 4.0 grade point average.

Ellis said the banquet is provided by Steve and Ashley Grindstaff of Grindstaff Ford. It will be held at Johnson City’s Holiday Inn and the dinner will include 141 students, 25 school level administrators and counselors, eight central office staff and members of the school board. Additionally, each student will be presented a medal for their superior academic achievement.

She thanked the Grindstaffs for their generosity and kindness.

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