Three have applied for director's job

Friday, January 8, 2010

Halfway through the 45-day posting period, three people have applied for the director of schools job that is open in Marshall County. The deadline for applications is Jan. 29.

None of the applicants - so far - is from Marshall County. Last time the County searched for a new director, in late winter 2008, the school board specifically decided to exclude local candidates from the search. This time there is no such restriction, and local names being mentioned include Dr. Patsey Thomas, director of coordinated school health, and Dean Delk, principal of Chapel Hill Elementary. Of course, the present interim director, Roy Dukes, would also be a popular candidate if he chose to apply. Perhaps the locals are waiting until the last minute to put their names in the race.

Human resources supervisor Mitchell Byrd confirms that the applicants, as of Wednesday, are Spurgeon Banyard, Alexis Seymore, and Eugene Johnson.

Banyard has been here before; he was runner-up when Dr. Stan Curtis was the winner.

Banyard started a new job in Alabama this school year - he became principal of the A. H. Parker High School in Birmingham. This school of 915 students was called "historic but ailing" in an article by Marie Leech in the Birmingham News.

"Just two months into the school year," Leech wrote in October, "Banyard's reform efforts have led to a swift transformation. His recipe for success can be summed up in three words: structure, order, discipline."

Seymore has been superintendent of the Dawson Springs (Ky.) Independent School District for the last six years. Dawson Springs, Seymore's hometown, has a population of 3,100, and the whole district has just 700 students, divided between a K-6 elementary school and a 7-12 junior/senior high school.

Seymore has over 15 years' teaching experience, and also had a job in industry, working for Phillips Petroleum in Atlanta. In addition, she served on the school board of a neighboring school system for seven years.

A Google search for the third candidate, Dr. Eugene Johnson, revealed only that he is the current principal of Miller Perry Elementary School, a K-5 school with 622 students, in a suburb of Kingsport, Tenn. (Sullivan County School District.)