Jackson Madison County School Board hosted a second night of public meetings to give interested citizens the opportunity to meet and ask questions of the candidate finalists for Director of Schools.
Terence Patterson was in Jackson all day. He visited several schools, meet with central office personnel and later on attended a public meeting to answer questions ranging from "why he should be the candidate chosen" to "what his expectations and relationship would be like with faculty".
Patterson is currently employed in Memphis with the Hyde Family Foundation where he serves as the Education Program Officer.
Patterson told the audience it was his diverse background in finance and law that gave him unique value as a candidate. Board members have indicated they have an interest in non-traditional as well as traditional candidates. Several in the audience felt his dual degrees and experience was a strong plus for the job.
Patterson said his youth and race were both positives. He said he was eager to be a strong role model for African American youth and young men in the community. His youth gives him the needed energy and stamina to do the job and meet the rigorous demands of community involvement, Patterson added.
Patterson is one of two African Americans that are finalists for the job. Verna Ruffin, also an African American, was first to interview. On Wednesday Alan Coverstone, who is white, will interview.
Morris Merriweather is one of many black community members who believe that it is time to hire a black school leader. But Merriweather and others believe that based on history as well as recent events the power is staked against the odds of that happening. Merriweather said this board has two good African American candidates to choose from but he said they had a good man last time who was not selected, in his opinion, because of his race.
The entire evening is open to the public and anyone can ask questions during the 4:00 meeting. The meeting is held in the George Smith Room of City Hall, Downtown Jackson. On Thursday the JMC School Board will have their regular board meeting. On the agenda is superintendent search and possible board action.
Keith Sherley spoke with Jan Boud about the process and the opportunities for the public to have input.
Jackson Downtown Development Director Katie Pace thought the candidates needed to hear more of the positives about Jackson.
Patterson talks about the preparations he made to get ready for his 2nd interview.
Terence Patterson indicated that if he was offered a contract he would need a couple of weeks to consider and make a final decision. He told the board he wanted the time for his wife and family to have input. If he did accept an offer he said he could be available possibly as early as April.
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