“The stakes are much higher. You can have one process that doesn’t go well. I think if you have a second process that doesn’t go well, you lose complete and total confidence of a community and of candidates,” says Shannon Hunt, president and CEO of the Nashville Public Education Foundation. “Everybody gets a do-over; I don’t think many people get multiple do-overs. But I also think everyone is very aware of that.”
It seemed too good to be true. After six months of talking to search firms, gathering feedback and weighing candidates — a contentious process that brought little satisfaction and much scrutiny — the Metro Nashville Public Schools board miraculously found itself in blissful near-agreement. An ideal candidate for schools director, Williamson County superintendent Mike Looney, had materialized almost overnight, and a whirlwind courtship had ensued, casting aside all other contenders. When the board members heard his answer, they were expecting a “yes” that was almost a formality.
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