In an unexpected turn of events, Dr. Joel Hagood has been named interim superintendent of Walker County Schools following the resignation of Dr. Jason Adkins from the post, effective Thursday, Aug. …
In an unexpected turn of events, Dr. Joel Hagood has been named interim superintendent of Walker County Schools following the resignation of Dr. Jason Adkins from the post, effective Thursday, Aug. 23.
After an executive session and recess that lasted just over one hour at Thursday night's meeting of the Walker County Board of Education, board members and Chairman Brad Ingle returned to announce an agreement had just been reached with Adkins that he would voluntarily resign as superintendent and be moved to a position as administrative officer for the school board.
In a unanimous vote, the school board appointed Hagood as interim superintendent. Hagood defeated Adkins in the June primary for the superintendent's race with 64 percent of the vote, and he will face off against Tanya Guin in the Nov. 6 general election.
Per the agreement, neither Adkins nor the board can provide any information as to why Adkins resigned or why an agreement to prematurely end his term was sought.
The agreement is public record and states, in part, that Adkins' role as administrative officer will be to perform professional services and handle special projects for the board. He will not be provided an office or have regular office hours.
Furthermore, Adkins will receive the same monthly salary he has been receiving through Jan. 1, 2020, and he will continue to receive all benefits provided by the board to employees.
According to the Walker County Board of Education's FY 18 budget, Adkins' annual salary is $165,880.
Adkins will also be paid for his accumulated vacation. If pay raises are approved during the term of employment agreed upon, Adkins will not benefit from such raises.
The agreement also states that the BOE had originally agreed by contract to assign Adkins to a school principal position at the conclusion of his term as superintendent, but he will instead serve as an administrative officer.
In his new role, Adkins may perform work for other parties, if he chooses. Adkins may also resign as administrative officer, but if he does so prior to Jan. 1, 2020, he must be a consultant for the board until Jan. 1, 2020. He would still make the same as his current monthly paycheck if he chose to step down as the administrative officer.
Hagood attended Thursday night's board meeting, and he has been present at all board meetings since winning the June primary. He said he didn't expect the board's appointment, but he was already getting to work Thursday evening.
"I did not see this coming, at all," Hagood told the Daily Mountain Eagle Thursday night. "First of all, I'm honored and humbled that the board put their confidence in me to go ahead and finish out his term."
Hagood said he is hopeful that serving as interim superintendent will give him an advantage in the general election, and he said there are some pressing matters that need immediate consideration by the school board.
"We've got some positions that need to be filled immediately. There's a couple of assistant principal jobs and some others out there that need to be filled, so we'll probably have a called board meeting soon to take care of those. I appreciate the board not filling those tonight," Hagood said.
Walker County BOE attorney Mark Boardman said these type of agreements with outgoing superintendents are not uncommon, and he said it is also not bizarre for a candidate seeking a superintendent's post to be appointed as an interim superintendent.
Adkins had served as superintendent of Walker County Schools since Jan. 1, 2011.