The new schools director in Bledsoe County, Tenn., has signed a two-year contract that allows a backup plan should she leave the post or if her contract is not renewed in 2014.
Jennifer L. Terry, the Board of Education's choice to replace outgoing Director Phil Kiper, will take the helm July 1 from her present job as principal of the Bledsoe County Vocational School.
The contract stipulates that if the board doesn't extend her contract or she no longer wants the job, she can return to the vocational school or a comparable post elsewhere in the system, according to officials.
"That was just something that I had requested in case things didn't work out, that I could be placed back into the system because I love working here; here is home," Terry said.
"It took very little negotiating; we worked well together on the contract," she said.
Terry said Kiper has "tried to make the transition very smooth. ... I'm going to rest up a little in June so I'll be ready in July."
Board Vice Chairman Bobby Angel said members wanted to make sure they kept Terry in a supervisory position if the director's gig didn't work out.
The contract "protected both the board and the director and was fair and comparable to surrounding communities of similar size," Angel said.
"I think the board just felt like she's a highly qualified, local individual that had proven herself previously," he said. "Obviously she's a talent that we wanted to make sure we had the ability to retain."
Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...