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Prolonged superintendent search causes controversy

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 10:22 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2021 at 10:59 PM CDT
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BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - As the Blytheville School Board continues its search for the next superintendent, parents have become frustrated and fed up with how long it’s taking.

Nakia Webb, a parent, and alumna of the school said she has never seen a superintendent process cause controversy.

“I’ve never heard of a problem as such, never seen it on the news, never heard my family or mother or parent discussing it,” Webb said.

While Webb has not attended any school meetings, she has gotten reports from other district parents saying there has been some “scolding going on” during the meetings from the board.

When the search first began in July, the school board reported they had 11 superintendent candidates.

The board narrowed their selection down to two candidates, Dr. Zrano Bowles and Dr. Gabriel Jackson, who both were qualified for the position, per the job posting Region 8 News received from Interim Superintendent Jennifer Blankenship on Oct. 5.

The board selected Dr. Bowles with a 4-3 vote, but he later declined the offer.

Blankenship told Region 8 News the board is struggling to select a superintendent due to “strong opinions.”

“I think if they would just go back to the drawing board and review those things in their qualifications and just look at it and talk to each other, I think they would be able to come to an agreement,” Blankenship said.

Board member Carlony Lewis declined to comment on camera, but she later released a statement saying, in short:

“Anyone who has ever served or (is) serving on a board knows that it is not healthy if members do not ask questions. If all members are “yes people” then there is no need for a board. I have watched our school system deteriorate over the past years with declining enrollment, academic and financial distress. Our children deserve so much better,” Lewis said.

The school board has not announced any details on their next steps for selecting a superintendent.

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