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Candidate list: Broad field of leaders in mix to be next Knox County Schools superintendent

The new superintendent will replace Bob Thomas, who is retiring at the end of the school year.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The 18 candidates in the mix so far to become the next superintendent of Knox County Schools consist of 12 educators from out of state and six men from Tennessee, the list indicates.

The Tennessee School Boards Association, which is helping the Knox County of Board of Education with the search, is expected to recommend finalists at a meeting on Feb. 9. It'll be up to the school board to conduct public interviews with candidates on Feb. 16, 17, and 18.

If the selection process carries on as envisioned, the board could pick a new superintendent on Feb. 22 to replace Bob Thomas.

Several school board members told WBIR's "Inside Tennessee" public affairs program Sunday the pool of finalists could consist of three people -- or maybe grow up to five before the interview time.

It's also possible a couple more names could be added to the list of 18, board members said.

WBIR obtained the list by a public records request. Member Patti Bounds said the TSBA has forwarded the names of people interested in becoming superintendent to board members. They know who is on the list so far, she said.

Among those locally who stand out: Jon Rysewyk, assistant superintendent and chief academic officer for Knox County Schools; Bradley Corum, executive principal, KCS; and Jeff Perry, superintendent of schools in Hamblen County. Perry became superintendent in Hamblen County in 2018 and had announced last summer he planned to leave the job at the end of the school year, according to the Citizen Tribune newspaper.

Many of the out-of-state candidates have executive experience in public education.

Here's what the list shows for them:

  • Christopher Bernier, chief of staff, Clark County, Nev., School District, Las Vegas
  • Gregory Brown, division superintendent, Russell County Public Schools, Lebanon, Va.
  • Jharrett Bryantt, executive officer and assistant superintendent, Houston Independent School District, Houston, Texas
  • Joseph Centamore, deputy superintendent, South Huntington School District, Huntington Station, N.Y.
  • Vincent Colaluca, executive director, Hamilton Clermont Cooperative (Information Technology Center), Loveland, Ohio.
  • Jerry Gibson, superintendent, Galveston Independent School District, Galveston, Texas
  • David Hicks, superintendent, Bremen City Schools, Bremen, Ga.
  • Randy Mahlerwein, assistant superintendent of secondary schools, Mesa Public Schools, Mesa, Ariz.
  • Amy Rex, superintendent, Milton Town School District, Milton, Vt.
  • William Shrum, chief school leadership officer, Henry County Schools, McDonough, Ga.
  • Adam Steel, superintendent, SAU No. 39 - Amherst, Mont Vernon, and Souhegan Cooperative School Districts, Amherst, N.H.
  • John Tucker, superintendent, Camden County Schools, Kingsland, Ga.

Other Tennessee names on the list: James "Chip" Gray, principal, Paris Special School District, Paris, Tenn.; Joseph Miller, physical education teacher, Morgan County Schools, Coalfield, Tenn.; Bobby Wells, teacher, West Valley Middle School, Knox County Schools.

Thomas announced last fall he planned to retire at the end of this school year. He's been with KCS for nearly 50 years. He's been superintendent since spring 2017.

The board has voted to offer a base salary of $250,000, according to board member Evetty Satterfield, who is overseeing the board's three-person search team.

The school system has about 8,000 employees and about 60,000 students, making it the third-largest in the state.

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