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September 17, 2013

CCBOE holds 1st work session for appointed superintendent plan

The Cullman County Board of Education held its first work session in regards to appointing a new superintendent recently, and hopes to finalize an official timeline later this month.

At the request of the school board, the Alabama Legislature passed a bill earlier this year changing the superintendent’s position from elected to appointed. The change means that current superintendent Billy Coleman will be the last one ever elected, and once his term ends, the board will have to select and appoint a new superintendent.

The board recently met with the Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB) to discuss the logistics of a superintendent search, which will be the first-ever for the county board. The AASB offers services to assist in selecting candidates during a search.

Board member James Thompson, who advocated for the change along with the rest of the board after being elected earlier this term, said officials are now working to finalize a search and succession timeline for next year.

“We’re going to work with the AASB and use them as a contractor to do the search,” he said.  “We’re looking at the timeline right now, and that’s something we’ll discuss more at our Thursday night meeting. But, the timeline is coming together.”

Current superintendent Coleman has been a proponent of the change ever since he was elected, and has previously said he would like the new superintendent to take over before the start of the subsequent school year.

Thompson said the formal search will probably start in early 2014, with a hire made at some point in the following months.

“We’ll do a southeastern search, and they will put out the feelers and do their interviews, then come back to the board with five final candidates,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he believes the transition will be in the best interest of the school system, and hopefully allow for more qualified candidates to rise to the forefront in the future.

“One of the things that’s great about it is, this is really something Mr. Coleman wanted to accomplish, as well,” he said. “I’m glad to see it come to fruition, especially after we tried to get it accomplished a year or so ago, and it didn’t get through. I think this is a great thing for our system in the long run.”

When asked if the board has considered potential pay for the new superintendent, Thompson said that topic will be addressed soon in subsequent work sessions.

“That’s a bridge we’ll cross when we come to it,” he said.

Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.

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