Carter elected to head state school superintendents

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 26, 2003

When Dr. James Carter entered the field of education some 34 years ago, his first love was teaching.

His love of teaching remains intact. But as fate would have it, Carter was to spend nearly all the ensuing years not in teaching but in administration.

His goal &045;&045; preparing students for the future &045;&045; remains the same; only the method of achieving it has changed dramatically.

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The Alabama Association of School Administrators has recognized Carter’s standing in his chosen field by electing him president. His term runs through June 2004.

Said Carter, &uot;It’s quite an honor to have your colleagues from across the state of Alabama have that kind of confidence in you. It’s really humbling.&uot;

Carter has been with Selma City Schools for a total of 19 years, the last 13 as superintendent. Prior to that he served as a principal with Dallas County Schools for 15 years.

Over the years he has witnessed numerous changes in the way schools operate. Among the biggest changes are those involving the mechanisms by which schools are funded and the types of students who fill today’s classrooms.

For better or worse, federal funding &045;&045; as well as the requirements to qualify for that funding &045;&045; has assumed an increasingly important role in school budgets. Carter pointed out that much of the funding schools receive from the state now goes to salaries and benefits.

Carter likened the difference between today’s tech-savvy students and those of even a generation ago to the difference between a three-dimensional object and a two-dimensional object.

Carter said modern education administrators must be versed in a &uot;myriad of subjects&uot; &045;&045; from curriculum design to strategic planning to the ins and outs of ACT and SAT-10 testing.

Being superintendent also means dealing with issues such as school safety and finding ways to communicate more effectively with parents who may have little time or inclination to become involved in their child’s school.

As an administrator, Carter said he much prefers parents who come in, ask questions and become involved in their child’s education to those who remain uninvolved and apathetic.

Said Carter, &uot;We have an open invitation to parents to come and find out what we’re all about. After all, this is their school system.&uot;