School board member Tiffanie Robinson, right, asks a question as other board members, Karitsa Mosley Jones, left, and Rhonda Thurman, listen to superintendent candidate Stuart Greenberg speak Monday, May 8, 2017 in the superintendent's conference room.
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Jay Greeson

Tuesday was National Teacher Day. It's OK if you missed it, since in this day and age of social media, every day is something.

National Potato Day (Aug. 19), National Puppy Day (March 23), National Snake Day (July 18) and National Pothole Day (Jan. 16) are all actual things somewhere on the interwebs. Side note: Kind of sad we missed the National Pothole Day considering the state of our roads. Alas.

Heck, on Tuesday alone, it was a day for teacher appreciation, a day for national booty pictures and the lost sock memorial day.

But let's forget the national monikers. This should be a countywide day of awareness when it comes to the biggest and most important job in Hamilton County.

There are lots of folks interested in lots of decisions that will be made in coming weeks — from tax-increase whispers to budget concerns about this or that pet project and that general discretionary fund.

That said, there is no bigger decision than who leads the Hamilton County Department of Education.

Simply put, the superintendent search process makes the recent city mayoral election look like the drive-thru decision of whether you want to supersize your value meal.

And with each passing checkmark, we're losing more and more confidence in each level of the decision-making process.

The school board's questions in the first round of the interviews landed somewhere between softballs and nonsensical. The culling process eliminated — in the hidden cusps of emails — Nakia Towns Edwards, the one candidate who should have been among the slam-dunk frontrunners.

And if the whispers are true that some of the folks now at Bonny Oaks pulled off a smear campaign to derail Towns Edwards, well, that's an entirely different issue altogether. We have to remember that this cannot be about keeping jobs as much as finding the right folks to do the job.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger raised the thought that part of the problem with the school system is perception. There's some truth in that.

The county's citizens perceive a major problem in our public schools.


That perception is a reality. Why else would some municipalities be looking to leave? Why else would so many third-graders be struggling to read at their grade level? Why else would so many employers, such as Volkswagen, ask for ways to get qualified potential employees? Why else would so many of the top-shelf candidates who were initially interested in the superintendent job pull out of consideration, including Alan Coverstone, an impressive candidate who withdrew from the process in the last week?

To that point, at least one qualified candidate among the individuals interviewed by the search firm has pulled out of the process because they believe the choice has been made — that the job will go to Interim Superintendent Dr. Kirk Kelly, and all the rest of this is pomp and circumstance. I called it a dog-and-phony show last week, and I pray that's not the case.

Yes, Dr. Kelly is a very nice man, but my dad's a very nice man, too, and I'm 100 percent certain he should not be the school superintendent.

Our school system needs solutions. And the candidates need to be questioned about those solutions rather than the big-picture, pie-in-the-sky waste of time that was Monday's round of interviews.

The system needs new ideas and insight. This is not about change for change's sake. This is about realizing that if you take your car to the same mechanic over and over, and it never gets fixed, at some point you have to find a new mechanic.

We are there, people.

If the school board is worried about the perception of its efforts, the members all should know this: Promoting from within and doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is not the perception of insanity.

It's the definition of it.

Contact Jay Greeson at and 423-757-6343.