McCracken County School District closer to hiring new superintendent

MCCRACKEN COUNTY– The McCracken County Superintendent screening committee is confident there’s only one person for the job.

“The one we are bringing to the board is an extremely strong candidate,” school board member Kelly Walker said. “And we are very unified about that and we felt comfortable bringing just one.”

New board chairman Chris Taylor said he is not worried that only one person was recommended.

“Their tears when they were telling the stories of this candidate — just about his life, his experience that he has — it was a very uplifting moment,” Taylor said.

The committee had 13 applications. The last superintendent search had 20. Taylor said he can’t say for sure that former superintendent Brian Harper’s resignation and sexual misconduct investigations into McCracken County High School resulted in fewer applicants.

Board member Steve Shelby — who resigned as board chairman Thursday — said media coverage is a factor. “The media and the negative publicity has hurt our numbers of applicants in my opinion. As you said we had 20-something last time. Now we have 13,” Shelby said.

Despite the change in chairmanship, Shelby said the board stands united.

“We go upstairs and listen to the search committee, and we pick a great superintendent,” Shelby said. “And just because two may disagree on this and three may agree on that, we are going for a 5-0 on this new superintendent.”

Three members voted against the recommendation of the screening committee last time.

The Kentucky School Board Association is being paid $6,000 to guide the screening committee made up of teachers, parents and administrators through the process.

The school board does not have to accept the recommendation of of the screening committee. They did not take the recommendations when hiring the former superintendent Brian Harper. Harper resigned in the midst of a Kentucky State Police investigation into misuse of funds.

I asked what’s different this time.

“They’re united, their willingness to talk to us tonight, everyone of them were willing to talk to us tonight,” said Taylor.

“Well, from my perspective as a board member, we are moving forward, and this committee is extremely unified, and we are very excited about this candidate we presented tonight,” said Walker.

Taylor said it’s a new day.

“This is a fresh start, absolutely, for McCracken County,” he said.

The board expects to name a new superintendent of school by May 16.