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Wilson Schools hires new director

By Kimberly Jordan kjordan@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated May 31, 2014 at 12:09 AM

Wilson County Schools has officially hired its new director of schools. The board unanimously approved the contract signed by Donna Wright at its meeting Friday.

Wright, who comes from the Williamson County school system, will begin her service as director of schools July 1. According to Board Chair Don Weathers, Wright’s contract includes a base salary of $155,000 plus incentives. Former director Tim Setterlund was contracted for $165,000 without incentives, Weathers said.

Wright made a brief statement at the meeting Friday.

“I want to say what an honor and a privilege [it is] to serve as your new director of schools. Not only am I looking forward to it, it’s one of those times that we’ve got some really good work ahead of us, hard work, but I’m ready to push those sleeves up and make things happen for our boys and girls.”

In a work session prior to the meeting, a discussion regarding proposed bleachers at West Wilson Middle School was taken up. Some issues arose when the possibility of the middle school receiving excess bleachers from the new Watertown High School caused confusion.

“The question was asked ‘why did you remove our bleachers and take them back to Watertown?’” said board member Ron Britt. “That’s the first I was aware, number one that there were any bleachers there, and secondly I didn’t know they were taken back to Watertown. The answer ended up being that they were ordered for Watertown and that’s why they were at Watertown. There was a difficulty or confusion there.

“From my perspective it was not a situation where somebody had moved bleachers for West Wilson Middle School and then taken them away. That was not what happened, those bleachers were never ordered or designated for West Wilson Middle School.

Weathers said the board had been doing an analysis on whether or not the excess bleachers could be given to the middle school.

“The analysis we’ve had to do over the last few days is to determine according to the way the bond is written for the building of WHS, if the bleachers that were purchased as part of that could be used at another school that is not a high school,” said Weathers. “Mr. [Mike] Jennings came back and said that the wording is such that we could.

Deputy Director of Finance Mickey Hall said the bleachers are suitable for use at West Wilson Middle School and there will be seating for 750 to 800 spectators.

Board member Larry Tomlinson said some emails he had received sounded as though the school had been neglected.

“Since October 2010 to August 2013, Wilson County Board of Education has given $605,000 to West Wilson Middle School for athletic fields. You haven’t been neglected. I want you to have a nice stadium. We’re going to do what we can to help you, but you haven’t been neglected,” said Tomlinson.

West Wilson Middle School Principal Wendell Marlowe told the board he was very appreciative of what the board had done for his school. He said one of the things he intended to do when he came to the school was “to attack an area that dealt with academics as well as athletics. We’ve accomplished more in the last five years concerning athletics that’s been done in the last 30 years there.”

“It was the very first middle school built in Wilson County, and it’s going to be the last middle school to have complete facilities in the county. I’ve said it time and time again that I don’t expect it all to happen at one time, but when the opportunity comes to complete a project I don’t understand why that opportunity’s not taken,” said Marlowe.

During the regular meeting, Britt made a motion to provide the bleachers discussed in the work session and “provide the assembly of those at the earliest date possible.” The motion passed unanimously.

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