Archived Story

Changes for education

Published 11:44am Sunday, April 7, 2013

Almost simultaneously, I have found myself at the center of coverage for two very important appointments: a seat on the Alexander City Board of Education and the next superintendent for the Alexander City Schools.

As a graduate of Benjamin Russell High School, an attendee of all the city schools and as the child of two educators – one of which was employed in the Alexander City Schools – I feel honored to be reporting on something that has affected my family and myself for almost my entire life.

I waited in anticipation as Terry Jenkins, representative of the Alabama Association of School Boards, reported to the board Thursday night the six names that had made the cut for the next superintendent.

All of the candidates have impressive resumes and extensive experience in various school systems.

I don’t envy the huge decision the current board members will face after interviewing these candidates, particularly considering that each of these candidates has stated he would be willing to remain in place as the leader of the city schools for 10 years.

That’s a long time for changes in curricula, technology, funding and laws to emerge in our state.

On Friday afternoon, city council members began the process of interviewing candidates for the soon-to-be-open board of education seat. Board member appointments are for five-year terms, with one board member rotating off annually.

The city council will interview four more candidates for the BOE seat on Monday at 5 p.m. in the city hall conference room.

I hope both the board of education and the city council will be able to come to a consensus easily about the best people to serve our school system in those respective capacities.

The city council’s decision on the next board of education member will be put to vote at its next meeting, April 15, and a full story about the candidates’ interviews will be in The Outlook next week.

No matter who the council decides to vote into office, I’d like to say I appreciate the work all of our current and past board members have done. Board members are not compensated for serving in the position and put in countless hours to continuing to improve our system, and I can’t thank all of you enough for what you do and will continue to do.

At the BOE work session Thursday, I mentioned to board president David Sturdivant that The Outlook staff would be happy to aid in filming the interviews with each candidate for superintendent and posting the videos to YouTube along with linking them on

I think it’s incredibly important for any parent, teacher or faculty member to stay informed about each candidate, whether he or she can attend the public interview in person or not.

So keep an eye on The Outlook leading up to the interviews. We’ll be sure to notify everyone of not only the dates and times of the interviews but also when the videos of each interview will be posted.

That is one of The Outlook’s main jobs: helping to inform the public about the hiring of individuals who will be paid with all of our tax dollars and who will make critical decisions about the education of our city’s children.

We also encourage you to share your opinions about our school system – what its strengths are and what you think needs improvement – on our editorial page by submitting letters to the editor and guest columns.

Feel free to contact me at, call me at (256) 234-4281 or stop by the office if you have any questions.

I’m excited for the future of our city and city schools, and I look forward to covering the process every step of the way.

Spears is general manager and managing editor of The Outlook.