Knox County BOE names new leadership, holds off on test scores vote

Oct. 5, 2016: The Knox County Board of Education is asking the Teacher Advisory Committee to weigh in on whether test data should be used to measure student and teacher performance.

The Knox County Schools Board of Education named Patti Bounds board chair and Amber Rountree vice chair during its meeting Wednesday. 

The board held its first reorganization vote at its September meeting, but postponed the decision after two tied results. 

In September, the votes were tied 4-4 between board members Terry Hill and Mike McMillan. 

Prior to Wednesday's meeting, McMillan submitted a letter to the board withdrawing his name from consideration. McMillan was not present at Monday's board work session or Wednesday's regular meeting due to health reasons. 

On Wednesday, Hill also removed her name from consideration. Board member Tony Norman then nominated Bounds, and she was named chair by acclamation.

Hill and Norman were then nominated for vice chair.

After a 4-4 tied vote, Hill withdrew her name from consideration again. 

Amber Rountree was then nominated for consideration, and selected with a 5-3 vote over Norman. 

Another important discussion Wednesday night was a resolution asking that the district not have test scores from Questar, the district's new testing vendor, used in teacher and student performance evaluations this year.

Before a board vote was taken, board member Gloria Deathridge used personal privilege to press pause on the issue and asking that the Teacher Advisory Committee give the board feedback on what teachers think about the issue.

"I decided to take personal privilege, because I've been hearing teachers on both sides,” Deathridge said after the meeting.

The Teacher Advisory Committee meets later this month and the school board will discuss the resolution in November.

PREVIOUS: BOE talks testing data, teacher evals, student grades

"I thought the board tonight did something that made a lot of sense. They’re going to ask our Teacher Advisory Committee for input,” said interim superintendent Buzz Thomas.

A vote for the resolution would block the scores from Questar - a brand-new testing vendor - from being applied to how Knox County students are graded - and how Knox County teachers are evaluated.

This move comes after issues developed last year with TN Ready testing - which prompted a state-approved waiver last school year.

"I think people are watching us across the state and i think we need to get it right we need to have a good reason for making the decision that we make,” said Deathridge.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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