May 1, 2010 by wcobserver
John Karnes Becomes Superintendent
By Susan McCarthy
West Fork-John Karnes will become West Fork’s next superintendent. The West Fork School Board offered Karnes the position following a meeting last Thursday evening.
The school board interviewed four candidates last week to replace Diane Barrett, who has accepted a position as superintendent for the Searcy School District. Karnes has served as West Fork High School principal since 2003 and was employed by Greenland School District as both an elementary and middle school principal. Karnes grew up in Northwest Arkansas and has family ties in West Fork.
“The neat thing about West Fork is that is where my family is from,” said Karnes referring to both his father and Grand-dad who owned thelong-operating Karnes Store in downtown West Fork and Mary and Richard Smith.
“I am thrilled. West Fork is a great community. It has a great school. I’ve got two kids in school here. It feels like home,” Karnes said.
“We feel good about our selection. Mr. Karnes puts a lot of hours in at our school outside of work. He’s got a great work ethic,” said Daryl Quinton, school board member. He added, “We’re excited about the direction he’s going to take us…his knowledge of academic processes and he’s been a part of our accreditation process. He’s shown tremendous growth under Mrs. Barrett and we think he’s ready.”
“He’s very energetic and very prepared. I think he’ll make very good decisions and help us to also make good decisions,” said school board member, Mark Findahl.
Asked what his first priority will be, Karnes said, “Beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is to find my replacement. I’m hoping we’ll find someone to take over where I left off. Bring some new ideas to bring our high school forward.”
Barrett announced her resignation at the end of March; West Fork’s school board set a goal at that time to hire a new superintendent before the end of April. West Fork had 25 applicants for the position.
Karnes position will officially begin on July 1. Applications for high school principal will be accepted through May 10.