The office of county superintendent of public instruction was abolished in 1992, and in its place is a director of schools (who may also be referred to as "superintendent"), who is appointed by the local board of education and is considered an employee of the board. T.C.A. § 49-2-301.
School superintendents who were elected by the people or appointed by the county legislative body were required to have (1) a teacher's license with a principal and/or supervisor endorsement, (2) a master's degree in educational administration, and (3) five years teaching and administrative experience. T.C.A. §§ 49-2-301(a)(2), 49-2- 301(i). A director of schools appointed by the local board of education is required only to have a baccalaureate degree. T.C.A. § 49-2-301(i).
The numerous duties of this position are described in T.C.A. § 49-2-301 and are summarized in part below:
- Insure that laws relating to education are faithfully executed;
- Attend all meetings of the school board and serve on its executive committee;
- Keep records of meetings, actions, and financial transactions of the school board;
- Issue, within 10 days, all warrants authorized by the board;
- Make recommendations to the board, although the director of schools may not vote;
- Supervise and visit the schools;
- Enforce the regulations of the commissioner of education regarding courses of study and systems of pupil promotion;
- Sign certificates and diplomas;
- Recommend teachers eligible for tenure to the school board;
- Recommend salaries for teachers;
- Employ school principals under written contract (T.C.A. § 49-2-303);
- Assign teachers and educational assistants to specific schools;
- Keep on file all teachers' licenses and contracts of teachers and other employees;
- Prepare and submit attendance reports;
- Prepare full quarterly financial reports and monitor school spending;
- Prepare and submit a school budget;
- File a copy of the approved school budget with the commissioner of education within ten days after its adoption by the county legislative body;
- Furnish a list of teachers and salaries to commissioner of education;
- Approve access to personnel files when necessary;
- Employ, transfer, suspend, non-renew and dismiss all personnel within the approved budget and applicable statutes and board policies, rules and regulations, contracts and negotiated agreements; and
- Submit a report to the General Assembly by January 1 each year relative to the number of students in alternative schools.
The director of schools is a full-time position. It is a misdemeanor for the director to enter into any other contract with the board of education, to take any additional compensation from it, or to act as principal or teacher in any school; a director who violates this provision must be dismissed from the position. T.C.A. § 49-2-301(c). A director of schools is ineligible to serve as a member of the county legislative body; however, this prohibition does not apply to a director of schools who was serving as a member of the county legislative body on June 18, 2005. T.C.A. § 5-5-102(c)(2).