Follow the roadmap to success

Published 11:12 pm Friday, October 8, 2010

One of the fundamental principles of success in any professional or business endeavor is simple. Hire people you can trust and then let them do their jobs.

Perhaps that is a lesson new Linden superintendent Tyrone Smith should revisit. Still getting his feet wet and amid plenty of controversy, Smith made a perplexing move earlier this week.

In the wake of well-publicized reports that the new superintendent had neglected to take a drug test on multiple occasions, the Linden City Board of Education had a special called meeting Monday.

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Now, to be clear, the drug test in question was in conjunction with Smith’s use of a vehicle provided by the Linden school system.

Policy dictates all individuals operating such vehicles be subjected to a drug test.

Regardless of why it took so long to finally take the test, Smith was certainly in an awkward position considering the murmurs. Hence, it would seem most appropriate that he tread lightly.

Given the rumors, allegations and whispers, most believed Monday’s called board meeting was set to address the issue in one form or another. It was not. It was something different entirely.

The board meeting was called so Smith could push through a vote to move a volunteer basketball coach from the middle school team to the junior varsity team at the high school. That, on the surface, seems harmless. It would actually have been a good thing had the Linden athletic director needed the move to be made and gotten the swift and thorough support of his superintendent in the process.

Instead, Smith guided this move without consulting his athletic director. Additionally, the decision also was not first brought to Linden High principal Timothy Thurman.

It was something done by a man who is new on the scene, does not know his people and has displayed little concern for stepping on some toes. Smith’s move would even have been acceptable if Thurman and LHS athletic director Andro Williams had exhibited ample reason to doubt their decision-making abilities. But they have not, to my knowledge.

Thurman has guided Linden to multiple academic accolades while Williams has shown himself well more than just a football coach with his ability to re-establish the track team and resuscitate a long-dead volleyball program. Both men have approached their respective roles with vision and purpose. Moreover, they have worked well together.

Smith’s willingness to make such a move without involving the two men most affected by it at the very least upsets the apple cart. And it certainly adds more unflattering strokes to an already uneasy picture of the new superintendent.

While the move itself may seem trivial, Smith’s approach and his lack of communication with the people he already has in place is alarming at best and indicative of things to come at the worst.

The people in the Linden City School system knew it would be hard to make a home run hire after the retirement of former superintendent Scott Collier, but the guy standing in the batter’s box right now is in an 0-2 hole and appears ill-equipped to handle what is coming next.

Jeremy D. Smith is the sports editor of The Demopolis Times.