FORREST CITY (Times-Herald) - The Forrest City School Board is in the process of evaluating interim
superintendent Joye Hughes, and the results of that evaluation will
determine if Hughes will continue as an interim, be named superintendent
or if the search for a superintendent is reopened, according to board
president Joey Astin.
The process of finding a new superintendent began nearly a year ago
when former superintendent Dr. Jerry Woods announced in March he was
leaving the district at the end of the 2011-12 school year. Woods had
been superintendent since the 2008-09 school year.
Woods' announcement prompted the board to begin a search for a
replacement. The board met several times concerning the search,
outlining how they would go about advertising the position and the
qualities they were looking for in candidates. That search resulted in
16 people applying for the job, with one from as far away as Alaska.
Hughes, who was the deputy superintendent at the time, did not submit an application for the position.
During a called school board meeting in May, the board narrowed the
applicants down to five before Astin announced that the group had
decided not to interview any of the five remaining candidates.
At that time, Astin suggested that Hughes be appointed the interim
immediately, which was unanimously approved. It was also unanimously
approved to provide Hughes a $10,000 stipend to her contract for as long
as she served as interim.
Regarding the applicants, Astin said that while they were all
qualified, they did not "fit our needs at this time." Astin cited
Hughes' familiarity with the district among the reasons for choosing
"We're fortunate that we do have Joye," Astin said at the time.
"She's familiar with the district, she's familiar with the staff and our
financial situation. In concert with the board, I think moving forward
right now, it appears to be the best fit for us."
During the discussions at that time, board member Larry Jayroe asked
if the superintendent selection process would be reopened. Astin said
then that he felt it might be reopened in "December or January."
Contacted this week for an update on the superintendent search, Astin
said there had been no problems with Hughes' performance since she took
over, but said it had been discussed by the board to reevaluate the
superintendent search either in late 2012 or early 2013.
"We were going to review evaluations done by each board member this
week during the called meeting we had set for (today), but we have moved
that meeting to Monday, Feb. 4," said Astin, who stated that the
reviews would be discussed in executive session since the issue concerns
personnel. "By this week, we should have all of the evaluations done.
"My desire is for the board to complete its evaluation process and
then discuss where we would like to go from there," Astin said.
Any vote held regarding the superintendent matter will have to be
held in open session per the Arkansas Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.