The Knox County Board of Education voted to approve the two finalists in the search for Knox County superintendent Wednesday night.

Dale Lynch, superintendent of Hamblen County Schools, and Bob Thomas, assistant superintendent of Knox County Schools, will continue in the process for the position. 

The board will interview Lynch and Thomas on March 6, and the community will have an opportunity to meet the candidates at 5 p.m. March 7 at West High School.

"I'm looking forward to hearing from the candidates their specific ideas about how they can improve our district, and then, of course, on Tuesday hearing community feedback," said Amber Rountree, chair of the superintendent search committee. 

At Wednesday night's board meeting, board member Terry Hill made a motion to amend the superintendent finalists to include Jon Rysewyk as a third candidate. Rysewyk is currently interim chief academic officer for Knox County Schools. 

Hill's motion failed in a 4-5 vote. 

"We very much hope that Dr. Rysewyk will continue in his current role whenever we hire our new superintendent," Rountree said. "We would really be doing well in Knox County if we had a new superintendent and let Jon stay in his current role." 

The board will vote on the superintendent in a special called meeting at 3 p.m. March 20. 

The board also voted Wednesday to approve on first reading changes to the middle and high school dress code regarding the length of skirts, dresses and shorts. The length has previously been measured at the fingertip, but the board is looking at a change to make it mid-thigh length. 

"Mid-thigh covers all of your bases," said Sydney Rowell, the student representative to the Knox County Board of Education. "It doesn't matter what body type, how tall, how short you are." 

The meeting wrapped up with the public forum focusing on staff cuts at Austin-East High School, West High School and others across the district. 

A newsletter sent to parents of students at West High School said the district is cutting two administrative positions at the school.

"Our kids need these adults in the building to love on them and to support them in their careers and in their lives," said Laura Davis, a social studies teacher at West High School.

A district spokesperson said staff changes are made every year, and they are based on a staffing formula, as well as enrollment numbers.