Little Rock school intrigue UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Little Rock school intrigue UPDATE

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2011 at 4:33 PM

What's this? A notice of a special Little Rock School Board meeting at 5 p.m. today for "discussion of the superintendent search"?

I didn't receive the required two-hour notice of this meeting. Update: I'm assured lack of notice to me was an email problem on my end. Intrigue continues anyway.

My tipster claims this relates specifically to candidates selected for interviews as finalists for superintendent, specifically to unhappiness among some members about the split vote to include former deputy superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh on the interview list.

Gee, I hope this isn't true and that they haven't waited for people (such as Board President Melanie Fox) to be out of town to pull a fast one.

UPDATE: With five members present (Fox and Greg Adams absent), the Board voted after a brief executive session to add Irving Hamer, a deputy superintendent in Memphis, to the list of finalists. The Board will now interview four candidates next week. Hamer, who was NOT one of three finalists recommended by a search firm, was dropped last week and Hattabaugh was added after Hamer didn't respond with affirmation of his interest in the job following a Board vote that included him. Charles Armstrong, who was in the 4-3 majority that included Hattabaugh and dropped Hamer, asked for reconsideration at Tuesday's meeting. The meeting was called by Michael Nellums, because of "miscommunication" between the search consultant and Hamer. He said Hamer had indicated an interest in the job the night before the board vote, but word didn't reach the board.

In the end, Nellums and Katherine Mitchell voted against the motion. Not, Nellums said, because he wanted Hattabaugh to be dropped and Hamer added. He said he merely wanted the list of finalists limited to three. Mitchell wanted Hattabaugh dropped; agw said he wasn't qualified.

We'll see. The interviews begin next week.

CLARIFICATION: The original finalists recommended by the search firm were Hattabaugh, a superintendent in Illinois and an educator in Washington. After a secret Board session, the Board decided to interview Hamer and the candidates from Illinois and Washington. When Hamer didn't respond, the Board voted to restore Hattabaugh to the list. He's made clear his interest in the job. He's a good candidate. He appears to face some obstacles.

I caught most of the action on my iPhone tonight, but I can't recommend it.

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