Jacob Sorells appointed director of schools

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Marshall County Board of Education looked within to find the next Director of Schools.

The board voted on Monday to appoint Deputy Director of Schools Jacob Sorrells to replace Jackie Abernathy, who gave notice of her retirement at last month's board meeting.

"I'll work hard for the board, the staff, the students, and the taxpayers of Marshall County to make us the best we can be," said Sorrells.

Sorrells is a former principal at Marshall County High School who returned to the district as deputy director in 2013.

When asked, Abernathy offered a strong statement in support of Sorrells.

"I think he's very prepared," Abernathy told the board. "You ask me if I think he's ready? Absolutely I think he's ready."

The board agreed with a 6-3 vote in favor of making the appointment.

"I feel that we are fortunate having someone who has, in some ways, been trained to take over that position," said board member Kristen Gold."I personally believe that we have an assistant director who is prepared to step into the role of director, which is a huge advantage for us."

Board members cited the importance of a smooth transition and a continuation of positive momentum within the district as reasons to hire from within. A protracted search would also leave a new director out of the budget process for the upcoming year.

John Dippold, Sherry McCormick, and Susan Hunter voted against the resolution to make the appointment at the meeting.

"I don't feel comfortable rushing into a decision," said Hunter. "This is the biggest decision we can make."

The consensus among the three opposed was that the position should be posted and that there was enough time available for the board to consider a hire more carefully.

Citing the three other director searches that she has been involved in as a school board member, Gold said, " I'd hate to go through the process just to go through the process, when we have a qualified candidate already."

The board had three different courses of action available to fill the position. They could make an appointment, post the position and interview candidates, or use a third party to conduct a search.

The board did not consider a third party search due to the added cost of that process as well as the time required. According to state law, boards cannot hire a director 45 days prior to an election. Five school board seats are on the August 4 ballot, which would require a mid-June decision on the position at the very latest.

The board approved entering into contract negotiations with Sorrells and have called a special meeting for April 28 to finalize the arrangements.