New board members decline to vote

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 18, 2008


The newly appointed board members declined to dive right in on the Selma City Schools issue of hiring a new superintendent.

During their first meeting Thursday night after being appointed by the Selma City Council on Monday, the Rev. Winston Williams, Sylvia Smith and Jane Walker were cautious and sought clarification on the issue at hand.

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Smith voiced her concern after the Rev. Coley Chestnut asked board members to consider voting on Dr. Donald Jefferson to be named superintendent. Chestnut said he felt it was only fair, since the board had two candidates and one of them opted to take another job.

Board member Debra Howard agreed. Jefferson was the only candidate left after Dr. Yvette Richardson accepted a position to lead Russell County Schools. The board had been unsuccessful in naming a new leader following a 4-4 deadlock. Parents had urged city officials to appoint the full slate of 11 board members.

Williams said he did not think the tactics to get them to vote during their first meeting were right.

Board member Dr. Anne Fitts suggested just such. Fitts said she welcomed a workshop and particularly assistance from the Alabama Department of Education, which is offering assistance to the school board in the form of a consultant specializing in governance issues.

School board attorney Katy Campbell suggested the board go back and determine the process to be used in hiring the superintendent.

School board chairman John Williams said they had hoped to have a superintendent by the first of the year. He said Thursday night they are committed to continue with the process.