By Carolyn Bahm
The Bartlett school board is now negotiating the superintendent’s salary and benefits with its chosen candidate, Bartlett resident David Stephens.
At a Dec. 20 special-called meeting, board members unanimously voted to offer the job to Stephens, who currently serves as Deputy Superintendent for Shelby County Schools (SCS).
School board members mentioned the other two candidates’ good qualities but reserved the highest praise for Stephens and his vision for the district.
Board member Bryan Woodruff said, “I found his responses to be not just reassuring but inspiring.”
Stephens’ identification as a “connector” and his understanding of the school district’s needs for a successful and quick launch also resounded with board member David Cook. “His answers were comforting. I felt at ease, thinking he could be our superintendent. He knows far more than any of the five of us, and that makes me feel good.”
Audience applause erupted multiple times during Stephens’ Dec. 19 interview, and two citizens testified on his behalf. Stephens himself said the job is his “dream job.”
If negotiations are successful, Stephens said he could begin work full-time early in January.
His 26-year career in public education began as a teacher and includes 14 years of leadership experience (assistant principal, principal, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Chief of Staff, and Deputy Superintendent). He is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership and policy at the University of Memphis and has completed all work except for his dissertation. He earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville and a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Memphis. Stephens and his wife of 25 years, Cheri, have two children. Click to download his biography and résumé.
Previously, board members said the salary package has been initially budgeted at $140,000 to $160,000.
The other two candidates for Bartlett superintendent were Dr. David Hill, director of academic operations for the Diocese of Memphis Catholic Schools, and Wayne Honeycutt, education consultant and former director of Loudon County Schools.
Bartlett’s school board members agreed that Hill is accomplished and educated but lacking in practical superintendent-level experience. They said Honeycutt has the years of experience and conducted an impressive interview, but he lacks familiarity with this district and does not have the deep network of contacts that Stephens has.
To see the latest announcements from the Bartlett City Schools Board of Education, visit the board’s website at bartlettschools.org.