- Cullman, Alabama

September 30, 2013

County schools set timeline for appointed superintendent search

By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — With plans to appoint a new superintendent next year, the Cullman County Board of Education has approved a timeline for exactly when the search will begin and end.

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 in the modern era.

The board approved a $8,500 contract with the AASB for services to assist in vetting and selecting candidates during the search. The AASB will also handle the survey and community engagement phases, as well as provide assistance during the selection and interview process.

Coleman recently announced his early retirement for July 1, 2014, in an effort to allow the board to hire his successor during the optimal search time of summer. Coleman’s term was originally supposed to run until the end of the calendar year, though he and the board agreed it would be beneficial to have the new superintendent in place for the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

Under the tentative timeline, the county board plans to conduct an online community survey about which traits the county would like to see in Coleman’s successor from January 6-19, 2014. The AASB will conduct community engagement meetings to meet with the public on January 16, 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 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 from April 14-18, 2014, and spend the period from April 21 until May 2, 2014 to check references and conduct site visits.

Board members hope to announced 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.

The process will be almost identical to Cullman City Schools’ recent search for Dr. Jan Harris’ replacement, which ended with the hiring of new superintendent Dr. Doreen Griffeth.

* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.