Johnson City school board chooses Towne Acres principal for superintendent

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL-TV) – In a unanimous vote Wednesday, Johnson City Board of Education members approved entering into negotiations with Towne Acres Elementary School’s principal for the top job in the school system.

Dr. Steve Barnett got seven votes to become Johnson City Schools next superintendent. Current Superintendent Richard Bales announced his intent to retire later this year.

Board Chairman Tim Belisle said the unanimous vote was unexpected but positive for Barnett, who is principal of Towne Acres, an elementary school in the Johnson City school system.

“He’s a really strong leader, which I think we were all interested in having in our next superintendent,” Belisle said shortly after the vote.

Barnett was one of five finalists for the job. School Board members met Wednesday at noon to narrow down the candidates but on first vote, Barnett was unanimously selected. The decision was then made to approve entering into negotiations with Barnett.

“We will be determining what financial package we would offer him, and then we’ll extend that offer to him,” Belisle said. “Depending on his response, we may have to evaluate whether we need to change that package or not.”

A committee will begin work on the terms of Barnett’s contract, which will be presented to the board at its April 3 meeting.

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