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MCCSC School Board Says No Consultant Has Been Hired

Monroe County Community School Corporation School Board officials say they have not taken any action towards replacing retiring Superintendent J.T. Coopman.

J. T. Coopman

Photo: WTIU News

Dr. Coopman says his decision to retire is largely driven by concerns over the poor health of his wife.

Last week, the board met with Indiana University Educational Leadership Professor Emeritus Ronald Barnes.  Barnes is also on the board of directors for educational consulting firm BWP & Associates.  A group which recruits candidates for districts looking to fill administrative positions.  The company was involved in the appointment of Doctor Coopman.

However, at last night’s MCCSC Board of Trustees meeting, board members told the public that the corporation has not hired any consultants, and met with Barnes only as a preliminary to exploring search options.

Board President Jeannine Butler says the board has not had sufficient time to respond to Doctor Coopman’s retirement decision.

“He gave us information two weeks ago that he was retiring.” says Butler. “That’s not a lot of lead time.”

The decision to meet with Barnes in a closed door executive session elicited a number of comments from the public questioning the transparency of the search process.   Board member Sue Wanzer says she understands the concerns, adding she hopes the process can be conducted in a way that satisfies everyone’s desire for input.

“Even if we’re allowed by law to meet in executive session.” says Wanzer, “I think there’s many times when we should open it up.  Invite the public in, even if it is a more difficult process.”

Butler says the board plans to appoint an interim superintendent before Dr. Coopman leaves office at the end of December.  The board will be meeting with a group of school administrators next month to discuss the possibility of temporarily filling the position with a committee, which would include all MCCSC principals and the directors of Elementary and Secondary Education.  While some board members…  like Wanzer… say they are open to the idea.  Others… like Butler… say filling an administrative position with a 25-person committee is unrealistic.

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