Interviews set to begin for AD posts at Hilton Head High, Whale Branch

May 19, 2011 

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Interviews for the athletics director position at two Beaufort County high schools will begin Friday -- and they will be held concurrently.

The same six-person committee will interview four to six candidates each for the AD openings at Hilton Head High and Whale Branch High with the intent to make decisions before the end of the school year, said Jackie Rosswurm, the Beaufort County School District's human resources chief.

Each principal -- Hilton Head High's Amanda O'Nan and Whale Branch's Priscilla Drake -- selected candidates to interview from a large pool of online applicants. Hilton Head High has advertised its AD opening on the district website since May 4, when Lew Kent announced his resignation from the position after three years on the job.

Whale Branch has had a vacancy since Oct. 29, when Robert Luckadoo abruptly quit his post, saying the job was not the one he signed up to do. A search committee at Whale Branch held interviews in December to replace Luckadoo, and even narrowed the search to three finalists, but the school will start from scratch Friday, Rosswurm said.

"We decided at that time -- I was part of the interview team -- that they were not prepared, from the people they interviewed, to make a selection," Rosswurm said.

Friday's six-person interview committee will include Drake, O'Nan, two district officials and two community members. Each principal will select one of the community members, Rosswurm said.

O'Nan opted not to reveal her selections for interviews. Drake could not be reached for comment.

Each principal reviewed applicants for their specific job postings, and they both received a list of more applicants from a generic posting with a "to be determined" location that was added to the website on Feb. 16, O'Nan said.

"There were a whole lot of applicants to choose from," O'Nan said. "There were a lot of great qualities from all over the country."

No matter which job they prefer, the candidates will interview in front of the same committee Friday, though Rosswurm acknowledged that many of the candidates may only be interested in one of the two positions, not both.

Rosswurm said the district considers an AD opening to be equivalent to that of an assistant principal, and it therefore prefers to stick to a uniform policy.

Three years ago, when Hilton Head High hired Kent to replace Greg Elliott, it formed its own search committee before making a recommendation to the district.

"What we've tried to in the last three or four years is do our selections in a uniform way," Rosswurm said. "That's all we're doing here. There's no reason other than try to make sure we're using the same process for the same employee groups."

It is unclear whether the initial finalists from the Whale Branch search are among those to be interviewed this time. The three finalists from the initial search included Whale Branch boys basketball coach Linc Lyles, St. John's football coach James Waring and James Stokes, head football coach at Estill and former head football coach at Battery Creek and Jasper County high schools.

Lyles, who interviewed in December and has his administrative certification, said Thursday he was told after interviewing a decision could be made by the end of the school year or early summer, but that he had received no additional information.

"This time, I haven't gotten any kind of call or anything like that," Lyles said. "The last conversation I had was that I want to be at Whale Branch for life. ... That's really where we left it, as far as with me in the picture."

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