Salary and other contract details are to be finalized within the next couple of weeks.
Sorrells was appointed as temporary head of Polk County Schools on Aug. 3 - three days before schools opened for the 2004-05 term. Since that time, board members said, he has proven himself a capable leader and has earned the full confidence of the board.
“I have worked with him many years,” board member Bettie Faye Lewis said. “He has a vested interest in this community.”
Lewis’ motion to call a halt to the superintendent search and extend the job permanently to Sorrells was met with applause from the teachers and school administrators in attendance.
Sorrells also was complimented by other board members. In addition, several board members expressed an urge to “move ahead” in this new year.
The need for a permanent superintendent was seen as one hurdle that had to be overcome before the board could proceed with other tasks ahead, including a proposed school sales tax to fund new school construction.
Board members also expressed reluctance, in recent meetings, to go through a repeat of last year’s lengthy and disappointing superintendent search.
After paying a $6,500 fee to the Georgia School Board Association to help conduct the search, the board whittled 18 applicants down to three finalists last summer. The job was offered to William L. Capeheart of Kentucky. He reportedly expressed his intention to take the job and his selection was reported publicly. However, Capeheart turned down the position.
Sorrells has served in an interim capacity for more than five months. He took over the school system’s reins from Dr. Jean Rhoades, who has since moved on to a new job with the Georgia Board of Education.
The superintendent position was formerly held by Dr. Billy Pack, who vacated the spot in December 2003 to take a job in Alabama.
Tuesday’s action required another vote to set set aside its normal non-voting rule for public input sessions.
That decision also allowed the board to take care of other personnel matters. Among them, the board elected a new chairman and vice chairman.
Tuesday’s meeting was the first with four newly-installed board members: Jerry Baldwin, John Stone, Bobby Brooks and Andy Fairel.
As part of the reorganization for a new year, board chairman Ricky Lundy stepped down. Harold Wingfield was elected as chairman and Baldwin was elected vice chairman for 2005.