LEBANON — Bo Yates had a long list of supporters at the Lebanon Community Schools meeting Thursday night, including four members of the school board, which, after a brief executive session, named him the district's new superintendent with a 4-1 vote.
From residents who knew Yates from before he could walk to current teachers and parents, endorsements poured in for nearly an hour, citing his love of the district, transparency and conviction. Stories were told of Yates’ work with high school students, his dedication to the buildings in which he served as administrator and his ability to made teachers feel heard.
“He says what he’s going to do and he does it,” said Lebanon High School teacher Eric Frazier. “You may not always like what you hear. I’ve asked him for a couple of things and didn’t get it because he said it wasn’t what was best for students. That’s how he makes his decisions, based on what’s best for students.”
Sarah Haley, a teacher at Lebanon's Riverview Elementary School, said Yates held teachers accountable and pushed students to try harder. “We all know he’s a very spiffy dresser, but I’ve seen him out in the parking lots picking up trash and spreading barkdust. I feel like we finally have a leader.”
Board chair Tom Oliver emerged from the executive session noting the search process that he said consumed most of the school year. “We have had a series of board meetings, community input, community forums and input from staff,” he said. "We were fortunate to have a fantastic pool of candidates and great finalists, it’s a good thing but also makes it a very difficult process.”
Yates, who is a Lebanon High School graduate and has served as an administrator for the district since 2004 and interim superintendent since last July, declined to comment on his hiring.