CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

September 23, 2013

Holding true to his word


The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — County schools superintendent Billy Coleman’s decision to set a retirement date is an unselfish act not often seen in politics.

Coleman, who was elected by popular vote, will leave office July 1, 2014, and will go down in the history books as the last elected superintendent of local county schools. His reasoning for retiring early from the post is to allow the school board to move forward with hiring an appointed superintendent during the optimal hiring time of summer.

Some observers of local politics thought Coleman was going to throw his hat into the ring to become the first appointed superintendent, and he likely would stand a good chance of getting the nod because of his recent success and leadership skills on behalf of the school system.

Nonetheless, that was never Coleman’s intent. He was also not looking for some immediate springboard into another political office, although some of his supporters would be glad to see him carry his work ethic and values into higher office.

As superintendent, Coleman successfully lobbied state officials to outright gain control of valuable property that could mean additional financial security for the school system. He also conducted public meetings to win support for an increased sales tax to benefit county schools. In holding those meetings, he went to great lengths to provide a detailed plan on how the revenue would be used. Voters agreed.

Coleman has maintained all along that serving as superintendent was simply to help provide better schools for area students. In politics, high ideas are often doubted. But in this case the straight-forward approach to the job by Coleman has been refreshing.

While Coleman has no plans for another political office at this time, he should think ahead later on and not put his brand of hard-working integrity on the shelf.