State Superintendent of Education speaks to Rotary Club

Published 4:45 am Wednesday, October 18, 2023

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Alabama Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey spoke to the Selma Rotary Club on Monday.

A crowd at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church heard Mackey discuss current and former educators at Selma City Schools and Dallas County Schools.

Mackey praised the hard work and dedication of District 5 State Board Representative Dr. Tonya Chestnut, whose area includes Dallas County, along with Autauga, Bullock, Choctaw, Clarke, Elmore, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Sumter, Washington, and Willcox counties.

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“I did not know her momma was a teacher at Knoxville Elementary School,” Mackey said. “She’s in a big District and puts a lot of miles on her car. She does a good job in District 5.”

Chestnut, who introduced Mackey to the audience, returned the compliment, saying he has a passion for helping children secure a bright future.

Mackey also recalled having lunch with Donald Jefferson in Selma.

“I met Donald Jefferson when he was Selma City Schools Superintendent,” Mackey said. “But I could never finish eating lunch with Jefferson. We were in the Golden Ranch Restaurant one time, and we couldn’t finish eating because people always came up to talk to him.”

Mackey took a serious approach to discussing education with the audience, which included Superintendents Dr. Zickeyous Byrd of Selma City Schools and Anthony Sampson of Dallas County Schools. Select students from Selma High, Southside, Keith, and Dallas County also attended the event.

“Every choice you make either opens a door or closes a door,” Mackey said. “Commit yourself, then apply yourself, and you’ll make it, “Stay engaged in schools and bring others along with you.”

Married with three adult sons, Mackey continued to stress the importance of education. Mackey is a former Science Teacher and Elementary School Principal.

“Our motto is, every child, every chance, every day,” Mackey said. “Our mission is to make sure students set goals and get an education, but students must make their own choices.”

Mackey said that three career fields are the future for students: high-tech digital, manufacturing, and agriculture.

He also encouraged students to take math more seriously in the future.

“We’re going to get 900 math coaches in schools’ kindergarten through fifth grade [classes] in the state,” Mackey said. “A lot of jobs will have a lot of math in them.’