Knox County Board of Education narrows down superintendent candidate pool

The Knox County Board of Education continued to narrow down its superintendent search Friday morning by interviewing the two remaining candidates.
Decision Rests with School Board
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 4:43 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2022 at 5:10 PM EST
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Knox County Board of Education

Knox County Board of Education meets to select the new superintendent. More:

Posted by WVLT on Tuesday, February 22, 2022

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Knox County Board of Education continued to narrow down its superintendent search Friday morning by interviewing the two remaining candidates.

The two candidates are current Bradley County Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash and an internal candidate already part of Knox County Schools: current Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jon Rysewyk.

The two candidates presented reasons for why they are the correct choice for the job at the meeting, then were interviewed by members of the board. Dr. Cash emphasized fostering a community and focusing on students.

“My integrity will not allow me to budge on what is right for kids,” Cash said. “I think decisions have to be based always on what’s in the best interest of the student that sits in the classroom. If it’s not in the best interest of the student we need to back up and find out how we need to maneuver that road so that we’re meeting their needs.”

Dr. Cash also previously held and attended workshops to help her community mission, she said. Dr. Cash also spoke emotionally about how she wants to improve the school system for students, mentioning time spent at Austin-East Magnet High School.

“My heart is for kids and it’s for all kids,” she said. “When I left Austin-East I knew I’m there for the kids.”

The Knoxville Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People backed Dr. Cash, saying she met the criteria more closely than Dr. Rysewyk.

“The Knoxville Branch recommends that the Knox County Board of Education hire Dr. Cash as our next superintendent,” a release stated. The NCAAP stated that Dr. Cash’s biggest weakness appeared to be her experience at Bradley County Schools, saying it was less diverse and smaller than KCS.

The full release can be read below:

Dr. Rysewyk had his own set of credentials, including taking the graduation rate at Fulton High School from 43.6% to around 80%. He wants to focus on building a support structure for students by using smart staffing strategies.

“I’m the person who’s situated best through relationships, through experience in the district, through the relationship I have with our school leaders, from someone who’s been through our system, And has had their students in our system,” he said.

Dr. Rysewyk also said he would be ready to go from day one. “I would be able to hit the ground running day one when Mr. Thomas retires. Knowing this, I know being the guy on the inside is kind of like ok do you have the vision to be able to look into where we are and be objective about it. And I would tell you that if you look at my track record, I’ve been objective everywhere I’ve gone,” he said.

The board is set to pick the next superintendent on Tuesday night at 5 p.m. during its special-called meeting.

The next superintendent would begin July 1.

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