01-31-2013 Jackson, TN – Jackson Madison County School Board votes unanimously to offer a 3-year employment contract to Tulsa OK Assistant Superintendent Verna Ruffin.
If accepted Ruffin will be only the second female and the first African American to hold the job of Jackson Madison County Director of Schools.
After the board narrowed the search from three to one candidate then seven of the nine school board members traveled to Tulsa for an exploratory trip of Ruffin's current hometown. Board members interviewed professional colleagues, supervisors, sub-ordinates, and community members, all of whom have had the opportunity to work with Ruffin. The interviews were all arranged by Ruffin with input from JMCS board members as to who they would like to meet.
Upon returning, board members all had glowing compliments about Verna Ruffin. They described the information gathered from the trip as highly complimentary and without exception not one person had a negative opinion or could even name a fault of the candidate.
According to board members, the people they interviewed described Ms Ruffin as a “strong leader”, “someone who would lead you to water and you would want to drink”, “will make decisions but also get input from staff”, “no nonsense leader”, having a “passion for education”.
Members said the reception they received in Tulsa was warm and friendly, district leaders “went the extra mile” to see to it that the board had all they needed and were taken care, according to board chair David Clifft.
After some discussion about the trip and details of interviews Clifft proposed a motion to offer Verna Ruffin a contract and ask the board, if they approved, to make a motion.
The motion read:
“Employ Verna Ruffin as our superintendent of schools (also known as director of schools), effective July 1, 2013 for a term of three years ending June 30, 2016, contingent on development of an employment contract approved by six or more members of this board and subsequently accepted by Ms. Ruffin”
Motion – Jeffery Head, Second – Joe Mays, Unanimously Approved
Board member Maria Mitchell was one of two board members who did not make the trip. After the meeting Mitchell talked about how the report from those members who visited Tulsa affected her decision
George Neely was the only board member not to vote for a candidate in the search. Neely did participate in the visit. He came back convinced to support Ruffin
A committee will prepare a proposed employment contract and will begin employment negotiations.
The board will meet again February 12, for the regular session with their work session falling on the Monday before at 6:00.
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