Good news at WCCS

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 30, 2007

Two-year college chancellor Bradley Byrne was given a key to the city by Mayor James Perkins Jr. Perkins said it was symbolic, but it meant something too.

We hope Byrne keeps that key handy. We hope he puts that key on his key ring and becomes a regular presence in our community. But, he won’t need to use the key here because our door is always open to the head of Alabama’s two-year colleges.

Byrne visited this week on his tour of Alabama’s 27 community colleges. He said he wanted to visit every place the two-year system provides instruction within his first six months on the job. Gov. Bob Riley appointed Byrne on May 27.

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The school head that has fired the state system’s financial officer for improprieties is talking about requiring background checks and drug tests for the state’s 11,000 employees of the two-year college system.

Byrne said you don’t have to be smart to figure out we need to do that, saying secondary education already has such standards in place.

While Byrne was in Selma, Dr. James Mitchell hosted a sit-down luncheon with the area’s government, business and civic leaders. He also met with the WCCS faculty and staff, opening up for Q&A.

Jim Hodo, representing the Selma-Dallas Economic Development Authority, acknowledged our efforts to foster an atmosphere conducive to economic development.

Sen. Hank Sanders told those in attendance that Byrne has “an excellent mind.” Sanders served in the Senate with Byrne, and said Byrne would read every word in proposed legislation.

It was also refreshing to know Mitchell is a man Byrne picks up the phone to call and talk about issues. Their relationship is good for the Black Belt, and good for Wallace Community College Selma.

As WCCS grows and expands its programs, one would imagine it could only help having the chancellor as a sounding board.

Byrne said he was impressed with WCCS. We are too, and hope the school’s growth meets the educational challenges and needs of the community. So far it is, and there are plans to expand the welding and allied health areas of the college.

Mitchell has been good for WCCS and the community is impressed with his attempt to provide “seamless education.” We are also impressed with who his friends are, especially the chancellor.