By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
An announcement Thursday let people know, and Monday will make it official — Kelly Sprinkles will take the helm of Knox County Schools as their new superintendent after a special-called meeting by the board of education.
Sprinkles, currently the principal for Knox County Middle School, was one of six applicants who made the final cut during the decision process.
Board chair Carla Jordan briefly explained the process for selecting a new superintendent to replace Walter Hulett, who unexpectedly retired at the end of the last school year.
Jordan said 24 people applied for the position, and that those applications were sent to the screening committee.
The screening committee’s members are Sam Watts, BOE vice-chair and board representative, Charles Hill, principal representative, Elizabeth Jean Bingham and Lee Edward Campbell, certified employee representatives, Dallas Mills Jr., classified employee representative, and David Barnard, parent representative.
Jordan explained of those 24 applicants, six “finalists” were chosen to interview.
“The board has met and negotiated contracts with the leading candidate,” Jordan said just prior to the announcement.
Then the announcement was made — and a hearty round of applause was heard from approximately 30 attendees at the meeting.
Board member Dexter Smith motioned to approve the hire, with a second from Board member Merrill Smith.
The decision was unanimous.
According to a press release from the school system, Sprinkles has been a part of the school system for 20 years. He was a science teacher at Boone Elementary for five years, then served as principal at Dewitt Elementary from 1998 to 2001, Jesse D. Lay Elementary from 2001-06, and at KCMS since 2006.
Board members also unanimously agreed to keep Interim Superintendent Ralph Hoskins on for 45 days “in a consulting role.”
“We created this position to help along the transition with the new superintendent,” Merrill Smith said.
Merrill Smith motioned to approve keeping Hoskins on staff for that time, with a second from Board member Charles Merida.
Jordan said that Sprinkles’ contract will be made available for viewing online.
Sprinkles briefly addressed the board after the announcement, thanking them for the decision.
“This is my home and I’m looking forward to working with our staff and community to make our school system the best,” Sprinkles said.