After six years in Macon County, Superintendent Dr. Dan Brigman sat with members of the Macon County Board of Education for the last time during Monday night's regularly scheduled board meeting.
Dr. Brigman, who has served as superintendent since 2006, will assume his new position in Catawba County as their superintendent on July 1.
On behalf of the board, School Board Chair Tommy Cabe presented Dr. Brigman with a plaque Monday night recognizing his dedication and service to the students and school system.
“Thank you Dr. Brigman for everything that you have done for the students in Macon County,” said Cabe. “I came to the board right before Dr. Brigman and under his leadership this board has been able to make great strides for public education in our community.”
Board member Tommy Baldwin also commended Dr. Brigman on his leadership and dedication to Macon County. “All the work and accomplishments this board has experienced over the last year is because of you,” said Baldwin. “You administered the decisions that we have made and I thank you for everything you have done.”
After the meeting was over Dr. Brigman addressed the board to show his gratitude for their service during his tenure. “It has truly been an honor to serve the students, staff and stakeholders in the Macon County School System over the past six years,” said Brigman. “I feel very confident in the leadership of Dr. Jim Duncan as he comes to the table to serve as interim superintendent as well as faith and confidence in this Board of Education as you pursue your next system leader.”
Dr. Brigman highlighted the accomplishments of the board while he served as superintendent. “As a result of a strong leadership team and this board of education's commitment to continuous improvement, you have many areas of celebration throughout this school system including more than $45 million in which you have secured and invested in capital improvements to facilities in the district, which have impacted every school in the district,” said Brigman. “You have lead the development and implementation of Macon Early College which offers students a unique opportunity to secure a high school diploma and up to an Associate's degree... and one of the biggest areas of celebration, you have provided tremendous leadership and effective governance through one of the most challenging economic times we have faced in public education and the nation as we have navigated through the tough economic recession,” he continued. “Your commitment to the children of the county and the strong partnership you have sustained with ourcounty commissioners have resulted in no personnel lay-offs and improved operational efficiency for this district.”
Dr. Jim Duncan of Otto, will serve as interim superintendent while the board of education searches for Dr. Brigman's replacement. Dr. Duncan, who moved to Macon County in January 2007, has 43 years of experience in the education field. He served as the Superintendent for Wilson County, Tenn., schools from 2000-2006 before retiring. While working in Wilson County, Dr. Duncan served as the Chief Executive Officer of the school system and provided oversight and leadership for 13,000 students in 20 different schools and managed 1,550 staff members.
Monday night the board unanimously voted to hire the North Carolina School Board Association (NCSBA) to assist Macon County in hiring the next superintendent. NCSBA, who was the same organization that first assisted Macon County in the hiring of Dr. Brigman in 2006, worked with Catawba County in their superintendent search which lead to Dr. Brigman's resignation with Macon County and relocation to Catawba County.
Macon County contracted with NCSBA at a cost of $14,000 plus all travel expenses for NCSBA to attend monthly school board meetings during the search process as well as expenses for potential candidates that will occur during the interviewing process. Leanne Winner with the NCSBA reported to the board that expenses should not exceed $20,000.
Board member Jim Breedlove asked Winner if NCSBA could begin by concentrating their search in Region 8, which would result in a local search. Winner informed Breedlove that would limit the opportunity to have the optimum number of potential candidates and may prolong the application process, which as it stands, is expected to take six months with the new superintendent becoming effective as early as January 1.
In addition to hiring NCSBA, the board also voted on application questions which are intended to best guide the board in its decision regarding the next superintendent. The questions selected by the board for applicants ask for detailed examples of the applicants' educational leadership in teaching and learning, financial planning and school system budgets, personnel relations including performance evaluations and goal setting and monitoring achievement.
The board also noted that it was important to focus on the applicants' opinion of community relationships because of the small unique community that the Macon County School system has with the diverse geographical locations of Franklin, Nantahala and Highlands.