KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The list of candidates for the Knox County Superintendent position has narrowed to two. Knox County’s Superintendent Search Committee said they will recommend Bob Thomas and Dale Lynch to the Knox County School Board Wednesday night.
“The cream sort of rose to the top would be the expression I would use,” said Vice Chair of the Knox County School Board and Chair of the Superintendent Search Committee, Amber Rountree.
The search for superintendent began last fall with 24 applicants from across the country. That number was narrowed down to six and on now two.
Thomas has served as an assistant superintendent for Knox County Schools since 1990. He serves as the chair of Knox County Schools administrative team for the Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act and executive director for the Distinguished Professionals Education Institute.
Lynch is the current superintendent of Hamblen County Schools. He previously served as a teacher and later assistant principal at Jonesborough Middle School in Washington County, and as assistant director of schools and later director of schools in Elizabethton, Tennessee.
Keeping public dollars local and managing the county school board’s budget were two of the main reasons Thomas and Lynch were chosen.
“You know what you see is what you get with Bob. He is compassionate and will lead people in the right direction and I think Susan mentioned that he would be someone who would be able to bring some healing to our district,” said Rountree. “I think what appealed to the committee about Dr. Lynch is that he does have a very extensive experience as a school superintendent so managing budget is not strange to him.”
Rountree says over the past few years the district has seen a lot of change in leadership as well as standards, and that the right candidate should have a sense of balance between guidance but also independence — where educators can feel supported to make the best decision for kids, and that may not look the same across Knox County’s district.
“It’s really important that we are all together and can support the next leader and make sure that we are all moving together to make our district the best in the south,” said Rountree. “We have a difficult decision ahead but we are very blessed to have two wonderful candidates.”