Search underway for superintendent

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 12, 2007


A firm hired to locate candidates for Selma City Schools’ next superintendent has said it would rely on the Internet in part, and spreading the word through various associations, and schools that prepare the professionals to head school systems.

“There’s not a great big ocean of them out there for you to pick from,” said Dr. Byron Nelson of N&P Educational Associates Inc. “We’re finding people are reluctant to move. They are trying to sell themselves, and you’re trying to sell Selma.”

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There are “monumental challenges” for whoever is named to head Selma City Schools, evidenced in the last three months of activity at the Board of Education office.

Dr. Verdell L. Dawson is currently serving as interim superintendent, replacing Dr. James Carter, who some say was “forced out” of his contract in June 2007. Carter resigned, and school board members promptly advertised for a new chief school financial officer.

Tim Parker was hired to replace Bill Porter in that position, but Parker was arrested by FBI agents at his office after two months on the job, having been indicted by a federal grand jury on child pornography charges.

Nelson told board members his firm planned to deliver five applicants. The firm does about six searches a year, Nelson said, and is currently conducting a search for Ozark.

Nelson said they “try to check people out, to see if they can do the job.” He also recommended the board remain neutral on the salary, keeping it negotiable.

Board Member Barbara Stapp-Hiouas recommended the search be concentrated on “bringing someone in from out of state.”

“Since Alabama ranks pretty low in education,” Hiouas said

that someone from outside may “bring a different perspective.”

One of the biggest challenges the new superintendent will have will be an aging high school. (See related story.) An assessment of Selma High School revealed needs totaling millions of dollars.

Some of the problems identified by Volkert & Associates, Inc, are:

& Inadequate site drainage

& Leaky roofs

& Moisture infiltration

& Structural damage

& Outdate classroom furnishings

& Inadequate in technology, lab equipment

& Outdated communications system

& Inadequate fire sprinkler system

& Damaged, non-functioning restrooms.