Wanted: Interim superintendent to bring stability, leadership to Hamilton County schools

Superintendent Rick Smith listens to audience questions after a presentation in which he laid out his plans for what additional funding could bring at Brainerd High School on April 28, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Smith gave the same presentation at other public high schools across Hamilton County.

We cant afford to be status quo here.

The Hamilton County school district's next leader needs to bring stability and provide the foundation for a permanent leader capable of transforming the school system into one of the best in the South.

That's the view of some education advocates and school board members, who are considering what comes next after Superintendent Rick Smith requested the school board buy out his contract in the wake of the alleged rape of an Ooltewah High School freshman.

Smith's court testimony in the alleged rape and assault of the 15-year-old student is set for Feb. 15. Afterward, the school board is expected to vote to buy out his contract and name an interim superintendent, though some elected officials have questioned privately whether Smith should be fired for cause for failing to report the attack to authorities.

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