School Board Narrowly Votes to Renew Director’s Contract

By Jacob E. Rosenbaum

In its most recent session, held Monday, September 9, the Fentress County Board of Education chose to extend Director of Schools Mike Jones’ contract for a further two years. Mr. Jones’ current contract did not expire until after the current school year, which means that he will continue to be the Director of Fentress County Schools until the summer of 2022.

Prior to the vote, the board members took part in a discussion of the issue, in which members on both sides expressed their position, and explained their reasoning regarding the issue of the Director’s contract.  The Board also allowed members from the audience, including some teachers, to express their opinions on the matter.There were strong opinions on both sides.

York Elementary teacher Wendy Bradfield addressed the Board and said that a great deal of community concern had been raised concerning this issue, and that, in her experience, the overwhelming majority had indicated to her that it was time for a change in the Director’s position. Board member Karen Cooper responded by offering a brief list of Mr. Jones’ achievements while serving as Director, such as leading the school system in gaining accreditation, which was not previously the case, being chosen as Director of the Year in 2015, building the school system into a level 5 system (the highest level) for a number of years, offering more summer education opportunities for local students such as Fine Arts Camp and STEM Camp, developing an official policy manual (which previously did not exist), installing cameras on all school buses, and completing several projects at numerous school campuses, among other accomplishments. “The school district is improving. I am very grateful to the people who voted me into this position, and I know that they put me here to do what I thought was best for the children, and that is what I intend to do,” Cooper said.

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