The Laurens District 55 school board does not yet know who the next superintendent will be, but the odds are likely that they know him.
Tuesday’s “called” meeting was almost all executive session, and that session was likely about choosing a successor to Dr. Stephen Peters. It was not a regular meeting. It was special. The next regular meeting is Monday, January 27.
After emerging from the most weighty of “personnel matters,” the board voted to choose the next superintendent from within. This means the board thinks qualified administrators abound in the district and the process can be speeded up without the red tape of advertising the opening and opening it up to outside applications. Promoting from within is legally admissible without formal requirements.
The vote is reversible, and two board members, Seat 2’s Cathy Little and Seat 4’s Mark Earle, dissented. Voting in favor were chairman Robby Bell (Seat 7), Seat 1’s Terri Martin, Seat 3’s Barbara Beeks, Seat 5’s Anthony Carpenter and Seat 6’s Susan Ware.
“I do find it wise to at least draw from a pool of [outside] candidates,” Little said.
Earle added, “I think we need a stronger pool of candidates. I disagree with the process we’re approving.”
A little under his breath, Carpenter said, “And I agree with that process.”
Four others did, as well, seconds later when the vote was taken.
Bell said the board had no role to take in the hiring of a successor to Chris Liner as head football coach at Laurens District High School. That is a matter for Peters, who is leaving on June 30, and principal Tina Faulkner to decide, using whatever process they deem appropriate.
The executive session took more than an hour of deliberations before the board voted to replace Peters from among those already employed in District 55.
Peters announced on November 25, 2019, that he would be leaving after four years at the helm of the district.