(WBIR) The Knox County Board of Education voted Monday night to extend Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre's contract an additional year as part of his annual performance review. His contract will run through the end of 2017.
The 8-1 vote came after a five-hour long meeting during which nearly 50 people spoke for or against the extension of the superintendent's contract. Knox County board member Mike McMillan was the only no vote.
"You know I'm glad that the board has extended my contract for another year, but I think the important part is that it's been a good important dialogue," McIntyre said.
More Information: Dr. McIntyre's Contract
A noticeable difference between Monday night's meeting and other BOE meeting over the last two months was that plenty of speakers stood in support of Dr. McIntyre.
Supporters included KPD Chief David Rausch, Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones, and District Attorney Randy Nichols. They argued McIntyre has done a good job of keeping students safe. Other supporters, including Buzz Thomas president of the Great Schools Partnership, said the proof of Dr. McIntyre's success can been seen in the test scores.
"Jim is an incredibly talented superintendent compared to the many superintendents I've worked with across the state in my work and across the nation," said Thomas.
Chief Rausch said he has worked closely with Dr. McIntyre over the last year in regard to school safety.
More Information: Knox County School Board Narrative Evaluation
"It's clear when you look at the whole picture, you see a man dedicated to children and students, teachers and administrators of this district.
Teachers also stood up to express the same frustrations they've been focusing on for months now. They argued the evaluations, observations and standardized testing are just too much.
Before Monday night's vote, teacher Mark Taylor warned the board an extension of McIntyre's contract could increase the level of animosity between some teachers and officials in the Andrew Johnson building.
More Information: Superintendent's Evaluation Memorandum
"The reality is teachers are going to see an outcome of extending McIntyre's contract as the board ignoring the issues," he said. "Just ignoring how teachers feel and totally taking direction from the top down."
But, the vote still ended in McIntyre's favor. Another teacher, Lynn Schneider, said the vote may mark a time for Knox County Schools to move together as one.
"At this point, I honestly just think that we just have to work together and move forward," she said.
McIntyre taught at an alternative high school in 1992. Some teachers say that's not enough classroom experience to serve as superintendent, especially as new Common Core standards take effect statewide. They said they would have more confidence in McIntyre's leadership and decisions if he spent more time teaching in a classroom.
PREVIOUS STORY: Knox Co. superintendent's classroom experience in focus
Despite the controversy, many Board of Education members are supporting Dr. McIntyre's leadership, saying he's a good administrator who gets results.
Last Monday, the Knoxville Focus published its poll, conducted through recent robocalls, asking people if they were "aware that Knox County Superintendent of Schools Dr. James McIntyre has only one year of classroom teaching experience." According to the poll, more than 72% of the people who responded said "no."
But Dr. McIntyre is standing by his one year of teaching.
"My time in a classroom was an extremely important and formative experience for me," said McIntyre at last Tuesday's board of education meeting. "I feel like it gave me an understanding and appreciation for the work of instruction."
He said while his skill set doesn't always mirror that of a classroom teacher, his job is to lead the district.
School board member Karen Carson, who voted to hire Dr. McIntyre more than five years ago, said teachers are overwhelmed by the rapid changes due to Common Core, so they're looking to vent their frustrations on someone.
10News compared superintendents' resumes from the 15 largest school districts in Tennessee. Dr. McIntyre's one year in the classroom ranks him 14th in the group. But the superintendent of Tennessee's largest school district, Shelby County, has no teaching experience.
Dr. McIntyre currently makes $222,800 a year, gets $800 per month for travel expenses, and has almost five weeks of paid vacation. At Monday's meeting, Dr. McIntyre declined to accept his contractually defined salary increase for the 2013-2014 year. He asked that the money, which totals $5,570, go toward the creation of a Teacher Appreciation Fund. Dr. McIntyre has declined a raise each of the last 5 years.