Huntsville City School BOE announces three finalists for superintendent role

WAFF 48's Romario Gardner reporting
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 6:14 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A new chapter for Huntsville City Schools is on the horizon as the Board of Education has announced the three finalists to become the next superintendent.

This comes after current superintendent Christie Finely announced her retirement in March after serving in the school system for 20 years.

District 4 BOE Member Ryan Renaud and District 3 BOE Member Andrea Alvarez say Christie Finley set a high bar in her past 5 years as superintendent. The two say there are key characteristics that they are looking for when it comes to the next leader and they are taking the selection process seriously.

“This board has been really blessed with a great opportunity,” said Renaud, “I know that transition can be frightening and overwhelming for some at times, but I think that the scope and sphere of education are ever evolving in this Huntsville community.”

Renaud believes leadership is key and is looking for someone who is collaborative and will empower the people who serve under them.

Alvarez says she hopes the next superintendent focuses on issuing more policy, culture and consistency. She also hopes that the next superintendent emphasizes safety to keep students and staff from potential harm.

The process started with 20 candidates and on Tuesday the following three candidates were selected:

Dr. Clarence Sutton Jr.
Dr. Clarence Sutton Jr.(HCS)
  • Dr. Clarence Sutton Jr. - Current Interim Superintendent of Huntsville City Schools
Dr. Jermaine Dawson
Dr. Jermaine Dawson(HCS)
  • Dr. Jermaine Dawson - Chief Academic & Accountability Officer of Birmingham City Schools
Dr. Bren Elliot
Dr. Bren Elliot(HCS)
  • Dr. Bren Elliot - Chief of School Improvement & Supports of D.C. Public Schools

Board president Carlos Matthews said the ideal candidate will be a leader with the foresight to advance education in Huntsville.

“Our school system is growing and times are changing in the state of Alabama about how education is being done,” said Matthews, “So in order to keep up with that we need to have a vision of where we’re going to go and how we’re going to improve our school system from top to bottom.”

He believes parents should continue to stay involved in the process because it will affect their children the most.

“The individual that you put in this position is going to make a lot of decisions for education for our students and for our future,” said Matthews, “So these students that are in these halls and will be in these halls in the future will sit behind what this superintendent does and drive our workforce for producing the next generation of our students.”

The finalists will be interviewed by the Board of Education on Thursday. The new superintendent will vote on the next superintendent on June 13.

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