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A familiar name will be the next person to lead Williamstown Independent Schools.
Assistant Superintendent Sally Skinner, who has been with the district for 11 years, was selected to replace Superintendent Charles Ed Wilson after his retirement is effective July 1.
The school board met Wednesday, April 8, in closed session before making the unanimous decision.
They called Skinner to offer her a four-year contract with an annual salary of $108,267.
“I was very excited. I think I got a little bit emotional when they called,” Skinner said. “It was such an honor to be selected. It was a good group of candidates. I know historically they’ve gone outside (of the district) so to select one of their own was a great privilege.”
Twenty people applied to replace Wilson, who decided in November to retire after six years with the district.
The district paid the Kentucky School Board Association $8,500 to assist with the search.
Of the 20 applicants, 16 were male and four were female and only one was a current superintendent.
Sixteen were in-state applicants with two coming from Ohio and one each from Maryland and Indiana.
Eight applicants had central office experience, but not as a superintendent while six were principals.
Two others were affiliated with an education organization.
After the applications were in hand, a screening committee consisting of board chair Liz Wagoner, Williamstown Jr./Sr. High Principal Misty Buchanan, teachers Donna Jones and Deana Cummins, cafeteria manager Stephanie Caldwell and parent Bobby Kemper, looked over them, checked references and recommended finalists to the school board.
Skinner, along with Tom Daugherty, assistant superintendent and director of pupil personnel at Rowan County Schools, were the two finalists for the position.
They attended separate “Meet the Candidates” events at the school so faculty, staff and the community could talk with them.
Attendees filled out evaluation forms for each candidate that school board members read before they made their decision.
“With the meet and greets, plus the search committee, plus people calling and e-mailing us, we got a lot of input from the school community,” Wagoner said. “We feel like we made the best decision based on the experience of the candidates as well as the direction we were getting from our stakeholders.”
“We really put our heart and soul into this as we always do to make sure we’re doing the best for the students as well as the community, faculty and staff,” she said. “We feel like we did a good job. We hope we have the support of the community and the school to agree with that.”
Skinner, a 54-year-old Prestonburg native, graduated in 1976 from Eastern Kentucky University, where she also earned her master’s degree.
She worked as a speech language pathologists for 22 years for Pendelton County Schools and then came to Williamstown as an assistant to the superintendent and special education director before her title was changed to assistant superintendent.
“The number one long-term goal is to not just maintain but push forward our academic achievement,” Skinner said about her mission for the district. “We want to continue to raise the bar. In these difficult financial times, we also want to maintain a healthy budget so we have what we need.”
Since the selection, Skinner said she has received lots of positive feedback.
She said she is appreciative of the support she has received and from the knowledge she gained by working with Wilson and former Superintendent Cliff Wallace.
“Both men are absolutely terrific leaders, however, they had a little bit different leadership styles,” Skinner said. “They would admit to that. I would like to the best from the both and put a little but of my own personality twist on that and be as effective as both of them were.”