Our View: Change is not always easy

Published 1:07 pm Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Leadership change is always a challenge to handle effectively. In business particularly, when an integral piece of a team moves on, it can leave a vacuum of productivity that must be replaced for the health of the organization as a whole.

When Lanett City Schools Superintendent Phillip Johnson announced he was stepping down from his position earlier this year on May 23, the school system was put in this precise position.

Johnson spent 25 years with the school system and 11 as the system superintendent. Replacing that amount of institutional knowledge is never an easy task, and the school system will inevitably need to adjust to a new leadership style when a full-time hire is announced.

The school system has not named a long-term hire for the position, as superintendent searches generally take at least six months, but has named an interim to steer the ship in the meantime. That interim role will fall to Jennifer Boyd, a Lanett native and longtime school system employee.

Boyd has been in the district for the past 17 years as a teacher and principal. She attended Auburn University and received a degree in business management as well as a master’s in business administration from Troy University. Her time as interim superintendent began on July 1, and is not to exceed 180 days as the school system searches for its full-time replacement.

While Boyd knows her current role does not lend itself to sweeping, wholescale change, she also does not plan to simply sit still. We agree she shouldn’t either.

“I don’t want just to hold us in place for 180 days because I am filling in,” Boyd said of her interim role. “That is not where I see myself. Even if it just for 180 days, I am going to do the best job I can within those 180 days to make sure we are taking steps in the right direction.”

Leadership change is always a challenge, but that challenge can be more effectively handled at times when there is a reliable, consistent presence to lead the way for a season. Boyd has been tapped to be that steadying presence over the course of the next six months, and we wish her well in her new venture.

We hope and are confident the Lanett school district will take the time it needs to hire its next leader. This will be a majorly important decision for the future of the school system, and as such should not be taken lightly.