South Point board names new superintendent

Published 9:41 am Thursday, May 17, 2012

SOUTH POINT — South Point Board of Education members had a heated discussion Monday, which led to the hiring of Mark Christian as the new superintendent. Christian will be the superintendent at the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

Superintendent Ken Cook is retiring after the 2012-2013 school year.

Board member Jackie Tyler made a motion to hire Christian as the new superintendent.

Tyler’s motion called for Christian to work with Cook during the next school year in an attempt to have a smooth transition.

Board members Les York and Terry Blake said they were upset because they were not aware of the motion prior to the meeting.

“I had no idea this was happening,” Blake said. “We do stuff behind each other’s back. It’s back stabbing.

“That’s why we’re screwed up.”

York said he knew nothing about the proposed Christian promotion and the board had no time to discuss the hiring. He wasn’t opposed to the motion and said he would vote for Christian but after they had a discussion. He said he would not vote for Christian if they voted Monday.

The board went ahead with the vote and by a 3-2 margin; Christian was hired as the new superintendent. York and Blake both voted no. Tyler along with board members Tommy Roberts and Rita Vance voted in favor of Christian.

“What I feel happened tonight was totally unprofessional,” York said.

After the vote, the board entered into executive session. Blake did not participate at the beginning of the session but joined shortly after.

“Those three had their minds made up before the meeting,” Blake said.

York skipped the entire session, choosing to stay in his chair.

“They had their mind made up on what they were going to do,” York said. “They had their mind made up on everything. What’s the use in going back there and arguing?”

After the board members came out of executive session, they voted, by a 4-1 margin, in favor of Jayshree Shah becoming the new principal at the high school. Tyler was the only board member who voted against the motion. Shah will replace John Maynard, who became principal at Ironton Elementary School.

Earlier in the evening, Chuck Conley, the parent of a student, addressed the board. about problems with the baseball field on County Road 1. He said there was no scoreboard, the field and restroom were in bad shape.

Cook explained that they had a contactor for the field being built at the high school but he walked off the job. He said that they were in litigation and mediation, and assured Conley that it was a priority.

“The board gave excuses,” Conley said. “They were suppose to build a new field when the high school was built five years ago.” … “We have to quit making excuses, quit saying there is no money. We have to make our kids a priority just like every other school district.”

The board voted toward the end of the meeting to allocate funds to the baseball field once the mediation was over, which should happen when the paper work is signed and accepted, Vance said.