School Board selects Don Odom as Director of Schools
By JAMES EVANS
The Board will now enter into contract negotiations with Mr. Odom as the final stage in the selection process.
In addition to Odom, there were three other finalists who were interviewed extensively last week by the School Board: Paula Barnes, assistant superintendent for Human Resources and Student Services for Rutherford County Schools; Dr. Stan Curtis, director of Transportation, Maintenance and Custodial Services for Cheatham County Schools; and Dr. Donna Wright, assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for Knox County Schools.
“We had four good candidates but we had two, that in my mind, were outstanding,” said Board member Donald Jernigan, referring to Mr. Odom and Ms. Barnes. “The two top candidates were right here with us and I just thought that said so much about the Rutherford County school system. And that made me so proud and honored to be a part of it. The outcome was very outstanding and I was very pleased.”
Odom humbly accepted the responsibility.
“I am honored that the Board would express the confidence in me to head up this school system. My heart is here; your heart is here,” Odom said, addressing the Board after the vote. “We have a high achieving school district. It’s not a one-person accomplishment for Rutherford County to be where we are. It’s a lot of people working together.”
Mr. Odom, who currently serves as the district’s assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, is a lifelong resident of Rutherford County and has spent his entire education career with Rutherford County Schools. A graduate of Lascassas School, Mr. Odom earned his bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degrees from Middle Tennessee State University.
He began his career in education as a math and reading teacher at Kittrell School and later moved to Oakland High School as a math teacher and department chair. He was named the principal of Smyrna Elementary School in 1975 before becoming the first principal of David Youree Elementary School in 1976, a position he held for 22 years.
Mr. Odom moved to the central office as the district’s attendance coordinator in 1998 before being named to his current position overseeing the district’s instruction department in 2003. During his time as an assistant superintendent, the district has achieved several significant academic achievements, including maintaining some of the highest scores and rankings in Tennessee.
Current Director of Schools Harry Gill will retire on June 30, 2012 after serving with distinction in the position for the past nine years.