The Thomasville City Schools face a series of daunting questions and challenges — and now, it needs a new leader to steer it in the right direction.
Dr. Laine Reichert’s resignation was accepted unanimously Wednesday, the lone item of action, it appears, from a called board meeting. Her resignation went into effect immediately.
The school board met under the intention to discuss the superintendent’s evaluation in executive session. They also had that on their docket before the last regular board meeting, which drew a large crowd of people in support of Harper Elementary School Principal Melvin Hugans.
Hugans was not offered a contract for next year, an action that did not necessitate board approval. So if the superintendent who did not offer him a contact is now gone, where does that leave Hugans, the popular and effective leader of Harper?
That’s only one of the many questions that await the school board.
For one, the school system has began a strategic plan process, which outlines what the system wants to accomplish in the next five years. A facilities plan is due for review next year.
Reichert was familiar with the city school system. After a year-long search to replace the retiring Sabrina Boykins-Everett, the school board hired Reichert and even brought her on a couple of months early from her position as Bacon County schools superintendent. She was given a three-year contract from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2020.
The city school system immediately went about trying to straighten out its finances. It faced a looming deficit of more than $1 million, leading to a tax increase. Some positions that were open were not filled.
There have been other changes in leadership at city schools in the last two years. Two new principals at Thomasville High. A new Scholars Academy director. And now, there is word that the middle school also will be looking for a new leader, not to mention Thomasville High’s band program is in need of a new director after its longtime leader left for the county school system.
The school board might be well served to review some of its policies in the meantime. Those who wish to speak at a school board meeting have to call the superintendent’s office by Thursday prior to that meeting. Under the board’s policy, the public may be given limited time to address the board at regular board meetings. But to be assured to be on the agenda, anyone wishing to bring a specific topic to the board members has to request to be placed on the agenda by 10 a.m. on the Thursday before the regular Tuesday board meeting.
The school board members likely will hear quite a lot from the constituency in the next few weeks and months as it starts to find a new superintendent. The position, according to state records, paid $150,493 — and 32 cents — in fiscal year 2018.
Finding the right fit for the city schools at this juncture is well worth the time and the money.