School board turns to external search

Mar. 25, 2013 @ 08:20 PM

The search — a nationwide one — is on for the next superintendent of Lee County Schools.

The Lee County Board of Education held a special a meeting Monday night to discuss issues related to the superintendent search now that current superintendent Jeff Moss' contract has been approved by his new employers in Beaufort County, S.C. Exactly a week prior to this meeting, Moss had instructed the local school board to go about searching for his replacement, and at the time, board members went back and forth in the public meeting over whether to review internal applications or jump straight into a national search.

Fast forward to this Monday, and the board immediately went into closed session with Moss and board attorney Jimmy Love Sr. to discuss information not subject to North Carolina public records law — which includes personnel and legal issues.

It's unclear what was said in the closed meeting, which lasted close to 90 minutes, and after the board came out it immediately adjourned with no public comments, vote or anything else that would indicate what — or who — was discussed. After the meeting, board Chairman Lynn Smith only said that he'd been ordered to initiate an external search for the county's next leader, and that four companies have so far offered their services.

He said no further meetings have been planned until the board's regularly scheduled April 9 meeting, at 6 p.m. in the group's chambers at Lee County High School, at which time Smith said he expects the board to vote on which search company to hire.

After that, he said, there's no way of filling in the expected timeline until a new superintendent is hired. Moss has previously said that about three months elapsed between the date he applied to the South Carolina position and the date he was approved; the search that brought him to Lee County in early 2009 took about six months.

Both of the firms involved in those two searches have reached out to the board, Smith said last Monday, in addition to two others. He said this Monday that those four are still the only ones involved, and that discussion about which one to hire will occur in closed session during the April 9 meeting. The vote will occur in open session, after which the company chosen will get to work finding potential matches for the board to review.