Selma City School Board appoints new principals

Published 11:26pm Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The two vacant principal positions within the Selma City School System were filled this week, as the board made the announcement of the appointment during Thursday’s school board meeting.

James Pope, who is not a stranger to the Selma City School System as he served as the principal of Knox Elementary School for the past five years, has been hired as the principal of R. B. Hudson Middle School. And while the new principal hired for Selma High School, the Rev. Major W. Burrell, will be a new face in Selma, he is no new comer when it comes to education.

Selma City School Board President Henry Hicks Sr., said even though he had not met Selma High’s new principal, he is confident the hiring committee selected wisely and said, “both of the new principals are going to do a great job.”

A Demopolis-native, Burrell has been in education for 28 years as both a teacher and an administrator, serving as principals in both Greene County and Washington County before coming to Selma High.

Burrell is bi-vocational, and pastors a church in Pratt City, Birmingham. He also served as a captain in the United States Army, where he was part of the rapid deployment force, where he’d have to be ready within a 24-hour period to go anywhere that the United State military is needed if there is a conflict.

Burrell said his military background and passion for education are just two of the things that will help his transition to Selma High a success.

“I believe that we are largely a part of our experiences and backgrounds. The military has taught me about strict regimentation and discipline and honesty and integrity and having good morals. Of course, I believe that everyone needs discipline in life and of course the military gives you an overdose of that,” he said with a laugh, noting the military only reinforced what he was taught from his parents growing up.

“That’s always stuck with me, as well as a ‘don’t give up attitude, failure is not an option,’ and to be ready to handle any task and know that any given day the situation may change, but we’ll over come it.”

Burrell said those are some of the qualities and virtues he hopes to pass on to the students at Selma High.

“[I’m] excited about being here,” he said. “We embrace the challenges that are ahead of us. Bottom line, we’re not on the failing list and we’re sound academically and we’re looking to continue and move forward in a positive direction.”

Pope said he too was excited about his move within the school system to R.B. Hudson, noting he would do whatever is needed for the success of Selma City School System.

“I’m very excited about the move. I’m excited about the community support and the community coming together to make sure all of our students in our district achieve full success,” Pope said.

Pope left his position at Knox Elementary, which is a Torchbearer School to come to R.B. Hudson, and said his goal is to achieve the same things that were done at Knox — acknowledging R.B. Hudson was the only school in the Selma City School System to be classified as a “failing school” by the state for the 2012-2013 school year.

“My goal is always student achievement and student learning,” he said. “Due to the fact that R.B. Hudson was on the failing school list, my goal is to work towards making sure all of our kids are successful. As an educator, that’s my goal — student achievement and student learning.”

The principal position for Knox Elementary is currently vacant.


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