Board member: ‘Low odds for success’ if Metro Schools director hired now

Will Pinkston

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Even though four finalists have been named, the search for a new Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) director seems all jumbled up and may start over entirely at this point.

On Tuesday, in a statement to News 2, school board member Will Pinkston said, “Given the chaos of the past couple of weeks, and given the questions about the integrity of the search and the leadership of the board, the most responsible decision right now is to simply slow down the process and make a selection this fall in consultation with the new mayor.”

The statement continued, “It’s better to do this right than to do it fast. I’m concerned that any director hired in the current situation would have low odds for success.”

On Monday, after the board meeting where the four finalists were announced, Pinkston was just slightly less blunt about his dissatisfaction with the search firm hired to find the leader of 86,000 Metro students.

“I think its very clear the search firm has favorites on this list, and the search has been designed to give them a tremendous amount of power and control, and that is something we may need to revisit,” Pinkston said Monday.

All this follows a heavily critical letter to school board member Amy Frogge from acknowledged mayoral front-runner Bill Freeman.

He said the board “has more work to do in an effort to ensure that indeed a clear and fair search process is conducted.”

Freeman cited the slate of candidates announced and the board’s June 30 reversal of appointing an interim schools director as reasons to “delay the selection of Director of Schools until after a new mayor and Metro Council have been elected.”

Also questioning the process is Metro Nashville Education President-elect Erick Huth.

“The quick timeline is something that might be designed to rush someboy in without doing much vetting,” the teacher representative told News 2. “It seems fairly strange process at this point.”

Huth was also critical of charter school advocate and finalist John Covington after critical news stories surfaced about his jobs elsewhere.

“Mr. Covington on the other hand, seems to have a trail of scandal running behind him where he goes.”

This comes as the four finalists are slated to be interview in two eight-hour sessions Thursday and Friday.

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