Source: Grundy County Board of Education
Grundy County Schools netted 13 applicants to replace retiring Director of Schools Jody Hargis.
Officials in the system's central office said the number of applicants jumped by 11 last week, with responses from as far away as Texas and Alaska, while four were from within the county.
Board of Education member Willene Campbell said she was pleasantly surprised by the response.
"I thought it was a good turnout, and I was surprised at how far away applicants came from," Campbell said Monday. "You know, the old saying is the more the merrier."
Campbell said school board members have not yet seen application documents.
"We have a meeting [tonight] to go over them and to see what we've got," she said, adding that she was not sure how the board will want to proceed.
Grundy's school director seat has been the center of controversy in recent years as it shifted from Hargis to former classroom teacher Clay Newsome for about six months in 2010, then back to Hargis as interim director after Newsome was removed from the post, newspaper archives show. State auditors hit Grundy hard in January for a number of findings and accounting problems for fiscal year ending June 2011.
Hargis started work on some of the eight findings in the audit, and other findings will be addressed during the transition to the new director, officials said.
Board member Anita Meeks said during the application period that while officials hope to select a new director this year to work with Hargis through the budget season, he has agreed to stay on until 2013 if the search continues.
Contact staff writer Ben Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6569.