By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
With the search for the Cullman County Board of Education’s first appointed superintendent set to kick off in just a few weeks, outgoing superintendent Billy Coleman is requesting a waiver from the state to make sure the transition is as seamless as possible.
Coleman, who was elected in 2010, has been a strong advocate for changing to an appointed superintendent system. To allow the board to hire his successor during the optimal hiring time between school years, he previously announced plans to retire on July 1, 2014 — though his elected term does not technically end until December 31, 2014.
Because of that technicality, officials believe they may have to hire the next superintendent on an interim basis to finish out what would have been Coleman’s term — unless they receive a waiver from the state. Coleman said he hopes to have the matter resolved soon.
“We’re working on getting that so this isn’t an interim position the first year, and it can just be a regular contract for the next superintendent,” Coleman said.
Though there is still a lot of work to be done, school board president Chris Carter said the board is excited about what the transition means for the long-term success of the system.
“We’re excited about getting it going, for sure, and we think it will be great for the school system for years to come,” he said. “It will help take politics out of the equation and open up the door for a lot of candidates, even outside our system. This is something the board wants, and we think it will absolutely be the best move for the system.”
Under the tentative timeline, the county board plans to conduct a week-long online community survey about which traits the county would like to see in Coleman’s successor during January, 2014. The Alabama Association of School Boards will also conduct community engagement meetings to meet with the public and school employees on January 14, 2014.
The AASB will then take a week and a half to study the results, with plans to deliver a final report to the board on January 28, 2014. The board will then finalize the selection criteria on February 4, 2014.
Following those processes, the position will officially be advertised from approximately February 7 until March 21, 2014.
The AASB team will then spend approximately two weeks screening and vetting candidates, with a list of five candidates delivered to the board on April 3, 2014.
The board will then conduct interviews with the five candidates in mid-April, and spend the period from April 21 until May 2, 2014 to check references and conduct site visits.
Board members hope to announce a candidate between May 2-14, 2014, while also negotiating a final contract with the selection.
The new superintendent would then start on July 1, 2014, matching up with Coleman’s planned retirement date.
Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 134.