Huntsville City School Board to vote on new superintendent

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Jun. 13, 2023 at 9:13 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Huntsville City Schools School Board is poised to announce its new superintendent by the end of the day. The board members will vote on a new leader at its meeting tonight.

In preparation for this decision, the school board launched a month-long application period, after former superintendent Christie Finley announced her retirement.

The district received over 20 applications, according to school board member Ryan Renaud. The applications were consolidated by the Lanier Ford law firm and subsequently reviewed by the board members. From there, they ranked the top five candidates, eventually narrowing down the selection to three finalists: Dr. Clarence Sutton, Jr., Dr. Jermaine Dawson, and Dr. Bren Elliott.

“We wanted someone who would be a strong leader but also very collaborative in their leadership style and approach,” explained Renaud. “It was important for them to surround themselves with confident individuals capable of making similar decisions, ensuring a diverse selection of advisors.”

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting

The three finalists participated in a public interview process last week. Each candidate had separate interviews during which they addressed topics such as transparency, teacher retention, and workplace challenges. Dr. Bren Elliott, representing the Washington D.C. public school district, spoke about prioritizing a collaborative environment. Interim superintendent Dr. Clarence Sutton highlighted his experience in revitalizing a failing magnet school. Dr. Jermaine Dawson, from the Birmingham City Schools district, discussed the successful implementation of a controversial program that yielded positive results.

Renaud emphasized the new superintendent will need to hit the ground running.

“First and foremost, it is crucial to engage with the community and ensure alignment on the implementation of any policy and procedural changes,” said Renaud. “This will require active listening and engagement with both public and private stakeholders to meet the needs of Huntsville City Schools.”

Board members aren’t done yet. They have to review their constituents’ comments following the candidates’ public interviews.

It will culminate at the school board’s meeting on Tuesday evening. It starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Huntsville High School A.V. Room. This pivotal decision will shape the future of Huntsville City Schools as they embark on a new chapter under the guidance of the future leader.

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