by Benita Fuzzell

Meeting in special called session this morning at 7 a.m., members of the Obion County School Board narrowed their choices from four candidates interviewed Monday and Tuesday of this week, down to two, with those interviews set for July 1 at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Obion County Central High School's Library.

Timothy M. Watkins, currently serving as Principal of McKenzie, Tenn. High School will interview at 6 p.m., followed by an interview at 7 p.m. with Dr. Gary Gibson of Hayesville, N.C. at 7 p.m. Gibson most recently has served as Superintendent of Schools for the Clay County School District in North Carolina.

Both Watkins and Gibson were interviewed by school board members earlier this week, along with Dr. Greg Barclay, the only candidate interviewed currently within the Obion County School System, and Dr. Donald Durley, Principal at Millington Central High School in Millington, Tenn.

School Board Chair Fritz Fussell called the meeting to order at the Board Office this morning, with a full board present, Brian Rainey, Keisha Hooper, Tim Britt, Barry Adams, Jared Poore and Kyle Baggett.

Fussell first told the board he was "impressed with all four candidates interviewed" adding each did a great job in researching the system.

He reminded the board it was at their discretion, whether to vote on a candidate during the meeting, or to entertain the idea of a second interview.

Brian Rainey first made the motion to take the vote immediately, with Barry Adams seconding the motion.

Adams told those present he appreciated each candidate interviewed, as to their abilities to "speak academically" and hoped consideration would equally be given in the areas of athletics, transportation, maintenance, and system-wide, so as to not necessarily focus on the children, as in day to day oversight.

"That's what the teachers do," Adams said, adding someone to oversee the entire system is what he considered as a priority.

Board member Keisha Hooper asked "So, you want to vote and hire right now? No second interview?"

"Right now," Rainey said.

"I prefer to narrow it down and do a second interview. I have a favorite, I think we all do. But I want it to be thorough," board member Tim Britt said.

"I feel the same," board member Jared Poore said.

In regard to the motion and second to vote to hire a candidate during the special called session, Rainey and Adams voted in favor of the motion, with Fussell, Britt, Hooper, Poore and Baggett voting against the motion.

Following the vote, board members were then asked to write down their top two choices as to candidates requested to conduct a second interview, with Watkins receiving five votes, Dr. Gibson, four votes, Dr. Greg Barclay, three votes and Dr. Durley two votes.

The interviews are open to the public, at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. July 1, as well as the immediate convening of the board for a board meeting following the interviews, to determine the candidate which will be offered the position of Director of Schools.