Holdway, an education veteran of almost 30 years, was present at the meeting and after a vote to install her as the interim director, talked to the audience.
“I was excited the day I started teaching, and I’m still excited,” she said. “All I want is what’s best for our children.”
Holdway was appointed as the result of a controversial decision by the school board to terminate the contract of Dr. Eddie Shoffner during Tuesday’s monthly board meeting. Shoffner has since hired an attorney and is making plans to file a lawsuit against the board.
“It’s not an easy thing when you have change,” said Holdway on Saturday. “But I assure you I won’t make a decision without praying first and I will consult others as well. I won’t do it by myself. I want to do what’s right by the county.”
Dave Chesney, chairman of the board, and board members Dr. Roy Ellis, Tim Duncan and Bill Turner voted to appoint Holdway as interim director while Sam Owens and Dot Patterson abstained. Michelle Huddleston was not present at the meeting.
Owens claims the meeting wasn’t legal and violated the state’s Open Meetings Law.
"Connie Holdway is a great person," Owens told WATE-TV in an interview after the meeting. "I don't oppose to her being interim director, but the state law was not followed in setting up these meetings and doing the announcement; therefore, it is an illegal meeting."
Owens accused school board chair Dave Chesney and others of deliberating over the phone and not giving the public adequate notice of Saturday's meeting. He said the whole process violated the state's Open Meetings Act. Owens said it was clear that the majority of the school board had already decided what was going to happen before the meeting started.
"You can appoint someone to an interim position without discussing it openly and in front of the public," Ellis told WATE-TV. He added that the meeting was legal and that no deals were made in secret or behind closed doors.
"Number one, you have to ask if you would do this, and she was asked if she would and if she would consider it. And she said she would, and that was what it was about today," said Ellis.
Despite the controversy regarding her appointment, Holdway is optimistic.
“Education will continue to go on,” Holdway told the audience. “I’m humbled and I thank you.”
She was sworn into office by Chancellor Billy Joe White.
The next meeting of the board will be Thursday, September 16, at SMMS beginning at 7 p.m.