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Board Votes To Offer Mike Looney Metro Schools Director Job

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Posted at 10:38 PM, Jul 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-15 17:39:19-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Metro Nashville Public School board has voted to officially extend an offer to Dr. Mike Looney to become their next director of schools.

Dr. Looney has been working as the director of Williamson County Schools for the last six years.

The vote was made at a school board meeting Thursday evening. The board first voted 8-1 to make the offer, and then voted unanimously on the contract.

 

 

 

Tyese Hunter was the lone board member to vote against Dr. Looney.  While she said she supports him, she said she preferred one of the other finalists, Dr. Angela Huff from Cobb County, Georgia.

"One of the things we said we wanted in a director was diversity," said Hunter.  "We wanted someone who had experience in a district similar to ours.  Those are things she brought that he didn't bring."

The contract on the table is 4 years, with an annual salary of $285,000.  It also includes 25 days paid leave, a car and a cell phone.  The Metro Schools director is usually expected to live within Davidson County, but Dr. Looney would be allowed to continue to live in Williamson County for this school year to allow his child to finish high school. He would then be required to move into the county in June.  The contract begins on September 1st.

Dr. Looney beat out four other candidates for the job, during a months long process that included multiple interviews and community forums.  Metro board members said he impressed them with his specific ideas on how to improve the district.

"He referenced several times research and things that have worked in his district and other parts of the country," said Sharon Dixon Gentry, MNPS Board Chair.  "We need a fresh look at the challenges we are facing.  We can't keep doing what we are doing."

In an effort to keep Dr. Looney in Williamson County, the school board there has voted to extend his contract to June 2019. They also voted to approve some additional incentives – including a 5 percent raise, a $30,000 retention bonus if he stays until next July, along with extra vacation and sick days.

Thursday Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson proposed increasing his salary to $250,000 in hopes of keeping him.

Despite the late offer, Gentry said she feels confident Dr. Looney will accept the job, and felt he would make a decision Friday.

Dr. Looney would succeed former Director of Schools Jesse Register, who retired on June 30.