She was Oak Ridge preschool principal for 12 years and assistant interim superintendent for eight months, and now Marian Phillips has been offered a new job at the University of Tennessee.
She will start at UT on Jan. 7. She will be leaving Oak Ridge shortly after Superintendent Tom Bailey, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Phillips became assistant interim superintendent after Ken Green left in May.
At UT, she will be the director of school-based experiences in the graduate school and a clinical assistant professor. It’s a full-time position, and on Friday, Phillips said she will teach graduate courses in the College of Education.
Her duties in Oak Ridge could be split between Larrissa Henderson, who is now pupil services director, and Donna Farmer, staff development and special projects supervisor. Henderson will be assistant interim superintendent, and Farmer will lead curriculum development and instruction, Phillips said.
She said she tried to delay her start date at UT so she didn’t have to leave in the middle of the school year, but she wasn’t able to.
Phillips has been a classroom teacher and school psychologist in Alabama, and she has been in East Tennessee for 18 years. She has a doctorate from UT. After she received her degree there and before she came to Oak Ridge, she worked for three years in the UT graduate program for interns, where she supervised year-long internships and taught graduate-level courses.
Phillips doesn’t expect the transitions to new top administrators in Oak Ridge, including a new superintendent, to disrupt operations.
“One person doesn’t stop the ship,” she said. “We’ll be fine.”
She called the Oak Ridge school system a great organization with wonderful people.
“I love it dearly, and I want the best for them,” Phillips said.
The Oak Ridge Board of Education has narrowed down its list of superintendent finalists to three candidates, and one of them, Roger Collins, was in town Friday. The other two could tour the city later.
BOE Chair Keys Fillauer said he will recommend during the school board’s meeting on Jan. 7 that former superintendent Bob Smallridge be hired as interim superintendent until a new administrator can be hired.