PHOTO: Jason Golden, Williamson County Schools’ current deputy superintendent, will take over as interim superintendent on May 21 and may become permanent superintendent soon thereafter. / Photo courtesy Williamson County Schools
By JOHN McBRYDE
In the decision to select a Williamson County Schools superintendent to replace Mike Looney, members of the district’s Board of Education seem to agree a national search is not necessary and that the person for the job is already on board.
By a consensus at the school board’s work session Thursday night, members agreed they would vote at the full school board meeting Monday night to enter into negotiations with interim Superintendent Jason Golden to permanently take over for Looney, whose last day in his current position is Monday. Looney is leaving to become superintendent of Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, where he’ll start his new job June 17.
Golden, who began his work in WCS in April 2006 and has served as deputy superintendent since July 2012, was selected for the interim position at a special-called board meeting May 6.
The district received results Thursday from a survey it had sent to parents, teachers and others in the community that asked participants to identify qualities they would like in selecting a new superintendent. Board members pointed out that Golden met most, if not all, of those qualities.
“Jason does qualify for every one of these questions asked, and most importantly, the cabinet members, this board, our principals and teachers know Jason,” said Dan Cash of District 2. “They have dealt with him for years. This man has walked alongside Dr. Looney and has done a fantastic job mentoring and raising people up through the ranks.”
“I don’t really care to bring in somebody that doesn’t know the culture like Jason does, that doesn’t’ know the staff like Jason does.”
Cash was referring to the concept of a national search, which no one advocated for Thursday. In fact, Nancy Garrett of District 12 pointed out research she had done recently on national searches. She said they take an average of three months to complete and are 50% effective. Ironically, the district where Looney is heading, Fulton County Schools, has conducted national searches numerous times since 2008. In that time, it has had four permanent superintendents and four interim superintendents.
“It’s just so clear and very exciting, I believe, that we have someone in Jason Golden who is not only already so well-respected by the board, by the cabinet and the people who work with him, but he brings the knowledge and the ability to slide seamlessly into this position,” said Candy Emerson, 8th District. “I’m very excited. I feel like we’re standing on a very promising place in terms of where we can go.”
If the board does indeed approve Monday night to enter negotiations with Golden, those will take some time. There will likely be special-called meetings for the community to meet and interact with Golden.
Monday’s board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be held in the auditorium of the Williamson County Administrative Complex.