Hamilton Southeastern board picks preferred superintendent applicant


Hamilton Southeastern Schools Board of Trustees members have chosen which applicant they want to hire as the new HSE superintendent but won’t identify who that is until after a public hearing on the proposed contract.

During the board’s regular Jan. 24 meeting, Board President Juanita Albright gave an update on the process.

“We’ve been clear in our commitment to transparency in this process,” she said, noting that the public hearing on the contract will be announced in the next few days. “While the name of the final candidate will not be made public as part of the contract review public process, we anticipate that we’ll announce the final candidate shortly after the process closes.”

Albright said a vote to approve the candidate and the contract will take place during a subsequent public meeting.

Former HSE Superintendent Yvonne Stokes, the first Black woman to lead the district, resigned in mid-September with one year remaining in her contract. She and the board negotiated a separation agreement that paid Stokes her full salary for the final year of her contract, along with some benefits.

Matt Kegley, who had been assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, was appointed interim superintendent while the board started the hiring process for a new permanent superintendent. The board has interviewed five applicants in the past few weeks, all taking place in executive session.

Also during the Jan. 24 meeting, the board had a first reading on a new policy regarding weapons in schools. Director of Staff and Student Services Ryan Taylor told the board that the district has not previously had a policy regarding weapons.

“Now, I don’t want you to think we’ve had the wild-wild West out there,” he said. “It’s very clear in state statute what the definitions of weapons are — firearms, knives — and the restrictions on school property. So that has not changed. We’ve addressed (it) historically through our student handbooks, through employment handbook, we have signage and such, but what we did lack … was that we didn’t have a statement from the district regarding that, and it’s pretty common that districts around the state do have a statement.”

Taylor said the proposed policy largely mirrors state statutes regarding weapons in schools. The policy states that nobody other than law enforcement officers and security personnel are allowed to carry weapons on school property. Some exceptions are allowed for employees and visitors who keep weapons locked out of sight in their vehicles.

The policy will come back to the board for a second reading and vote.

The next regular HSE Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 14 at the HSE Central Office,13485 Cumberland Rd.