Former superintendent Bob Smallridge could temporarily lead the Oak Ridge school system starting in January.
On Wednesday, Oak Ridge Board of Education Chairman Keys Fillauer said he will recommend hiring Smallridge during a Jan. 7 meeting.
Tom Bailey, the current superintendent, is retiring at the end of the year, and the board hasn’t hired a replacement yet.
“We felt like we needed someone driving the ship,” Fillauer said of his proposal to recommend hiring Smallridge as interim superintendent until Bailey’s replacement is hired and starts working in Oak Ridge.
Fillauer said the three remaining finalists—Neyland Clark, Roger Collins, and Dan Lawson—all have different potential start dates.
The school system could briefly be without a superintendent, Fillauer said. But in the meantime, Oak Ridge Assistant Superintendent Marian Phillips will “guide the boat.”
Collins, one of the superintendent candidates, will be in Oak Ridge from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce for a “meet and greet” with local leaders. Collins is superintendent of Nelson County Public Schools in Lovingston, Va.
Clark, who is superintendent of South Harrison Community Schools in Corydon, Ind., and Lawson, superintendent of Tullahoma City Schools in Tullahoma, Tenn., could visit Oak Ridge later.
Fillauer said the school board is trying to find a superintendent that fits Oak Ridge and not be concerned about the time needed to hire the right person.
He said Smallridge has served as interim superintendent in Campbell County and Clinton city schools and was last superintendent in Oak Ridge about 14 years ago.
Bailey has been Oak Ridge superintendent since 2002.