By Patrick McCreless
The Cullman County School system has given much to Billy Coleman and now he wants to give something back.
Coleman, who is a retired West Point High School principal, announced his candidacy for Cullman County superintendent at the county Republican Party breakfast Saturday.
“I love the Cullman County school system,” Coleman said. “I worked in it for the majority of my educational career and I would love to be able to serve the system in this capacity.”
The election for county superintendent will not be held until November 2010. The position is currently held by democrat Hank Allen.
Coleman said if elected, he plans to insure the school system is a service to the public.
“I would see that position (superintendent) as a position of service,” Coleman said. “The administration level ... the central office employees are there to serve the schools. They need to be more like servants.”
Coleman said communication and positive thinking would also play a large role in his administration.
“Communication and listening would be a big part of what I’d be about,” he said. “And I’m going to be totally positive about everything. And I believe in honesty and integrity. I won’t compromise on those things.”
Though retired, Coleman currently coaches football at Brewer High School.
“That’s what I love to do,” he said.
Coleman began his 25-year education career in 1983 as a teacher at Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City. After several years, he came to West Point to be a teacher and a football coach. He later left to teach at another school, but eventually came back to West Point, where he worked as the principal for eight years.
Coleman was acknowledged for his administration skills in 1999 when he was chosen as Alabama’s administrator of the year.
“It had to do with the things I went through after the burning of the school,” Coleman said.
A large section of West Point High School was destroyed by fire in 1996. Students were required to attend class in portable classrooms for more than two years until a new school was constructed.
To date, Coleman has written two Christian-oriented books during his spare time.
“Both books are Christian inspiration books through the eyes of an educator,” Coleman said.
For the last 30 years, Coleman has been married to his wife Shireen, who is the principal at West Point Elementary. He has two sons, one of whom is an architect while the other is a teacher.
“I’d also like to mention Tim Garner ... he was a high school senior who moved in with us when he had a tough situation in his life,” Coleman said. “He’s really been an important part of the family and been like a son.”
Like his other son and wife, Garner is now a teacher. Coleman said his sister-in-law is a teacher as well.
“We’re just an education family,” he said.
‰ Patrick McCreless can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.
By Patrick McCreless