The Alcoa Board of Education is preferring to stay close to home in selecting a new director of schools for the system.
From a pool of five who made it to the interview portion, two veteran educators were chosen as finalist Tuesday to succeed retiring Alcoa City Schools Director Tom Shamblin, one from the Blount County school system and one from the Maryville City system.
Dr. Brian Bell, assistant director of Blount County Schools, and Rick Wilson, principal of John Sevier Elementary School, were the top two candidates selected in the first round of balloting at Tuesday’s meeting.
Each board member was asked to name his or her top two choices. Bell got the vote of all five, and Wilson got four votes.
Nancy Meador, executive principal at Metro Nashville’s Madison Middle School, got one vote.
Clifford Davis, principal at Knoxville’s South-Doyle High School, and Lynn Seifert, principal at Silver Creek High School in Hailey, Idaho, did not garner any votes. The five were selected from 28 initial candidates for the job.
Tom Shamblin, retiring Alcoa schools director, administered the election of the two “candidates of focus” to replace him in a job that pays just short of $100,000 a year.
The search process continues, according to board Chairman Steve Marsh, with further interviews of the two remaining candidates in hopes of naming a new director in the next couple of months.
Both Bell and Wilson are well-respected educators and administrators in Blount County.
Bell, 46, has spent 21 years with Blount County Schools, just over half of that time as a teacher of world history. Officials say he is an essential part of the system’s administration and is known as a go-to guy when questions or issues arise.
Wilson, 53, has 21 years of classroom experience in Carter County and had been designated principal of the new Coulter Grove Intermediate School, which is scheduled to open next year. He has been instrumental in the planning for the school but gave up those duties when he became a candidate for the Alcoa job.
The Alcoa school system comprises a high school, middle school and an elementary school.