“I think people across the state recognize he is a great leader,” Board member Troy Weathers said. “We appreciate your dedication not just to this board but to the children of Bradley County, and that’s what makes a difference in education, long term, is people like you.”
Board member Christy Critchfield said she talked to the director not only from a board standpoint, but also discussed concerns from the view of a mother of three children in the school system.
Critchfield said when she has mentioned concerns, “He is always more than willing to talk to me, educate me on the things I don’t know … and I appreciate that very, very much. And he doesn’t treat me like a board member but like a concerned mom.”
The Bradley County Board of Education also voted to extend the director’s three-year contract by an additional year.
Board member Vickie Beaty questioned the board’s policy of annually voting to add another year to the contract. Beaty said her comments did not reflect her opinion of McDaniel. Instead, she said she was speaking in general terms.
She said she felt the practice tied future boards to paying out a contract even if they dismissed the director of schools.
“This is a business decision we make tonight and it could affect the school budget,” Beaty said.
Weathers pointed out extending the contract is a protection against a board that would merely want to get rid of a director without legitimate grounds to do so. If a director is dismissed for poor performance, the rest of the contract does not have to be paid, according to Weathers.
“A lot of school boards would like to have him [McDaniel],” Weathers said.
“I believe that it is a business issue and I don’t want to lose him,” board member Richard Baker said.
Beaty and board chairman Charlie Rose voted against adding a year to the contract. Board member David Kelley was absent.
McDaniel has recently received two awards, the leadership award from Tennessee Coordinated School Health and the award for Southeast Tennessee District Superintendent of the Year.