Dr. Verna Ruffin

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School Board Votes Unanimously to Hire Ruffin

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By Clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - After months of searching the Jackson-Madison County School Board finally has mad their choice for the schools top spot.

Less than a week after their visit to Dr. Verna Ruffin's hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Jackson-Madison County School Board unanimously voted to move forward with Verna Ruffin for the position of superintendent.

Seven of the nine members made the trip to Ruffin hometown. Dr. Joe Mayes and Maria Mitchell were unable to go. Board members who made the trip said not one person they met with had anything negative to say about Dr. Ruffin.

Nancy Jernigan a Whitehall pre-K teacher said she was just thankful the position was filled and is confident about Ruffin's potential.
"I think she's going to be a great leader at the lower level school levels because that's where it all starts," she said.

George Neely abstained from voting on the three finalists earlier this month. At the time he said he did not feel any of the candidates were right for the position, after his trip to Tulsa he said he feels very differently.

"I felt like she will be a person everyone will be able to work with and I feel like she will make the right decisions and hopefully move the system forward."

The board also discussed some of the terms of Ruffin's possible three-year contract including when she would start. The proposed contract has her officially beginning July 1. The school board hopes to have her in Jackson much sooner.

The school board has created a sub committee to handle the negotiations of the contract.

Jernigan said teachers in the area are excited about Dr. Ruffin. "She's going to be a great person to work with and be a collaborative leader."

Following vote chairman David Clifft called Dr. Ruffin to give her the news over speakerphone. She says she was very thankful and excited to begin working in Jackson.

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