Search for Alabama School Head Down to 4 Candidates

Courtney Williams's picture
Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Alabama State Board of Education has narrowed its choices for the next state schools superintendent down to four. On Tuesday they selected the four from a pool of applicants whose size disappointed some board members.

But board members, including Gov. Robert Bentley, the president of the BOE, said they were satisfied with the applicants who will be brought in for interviews.

"Having read through and studied the resumes, I think we have some good qualified candidates, and I think the four we're interviewing on paper look like good candidates," Bentley said after the meeting.

Seven men applied for the job after a nationwide search conducted by the National Association of State Boards of Education. Eighteen people expressed interest in the job, according to Brenda Welburn, executive director of NASBE, who attended the meeting.

"I think this is just an anomaly of a year for these kinds of positions," Welburn said after the meeting, saying the turnover in state houses following the 2010 elections, and the corresponding turnover in state education staffs. "Our normal pool of candidates come from deputies, but they're new in their current positions because they've got new chiefs . . . I think it was kind of the perfect storm."

Welburn said 20 applicants "was a gold mine."

The BOE members voted to select four for interviews:

* Thomas Bice, Alabama deputy state superintendent of education for instruction;

* Mark Bounds, a deputy schools superintendent for the South Carolina State Department of Education;

* Byron V. Garrett, a consultant and former CEO of the National Parent-Teacher Association;

* Warren Craig Pouncey, deputy state superintendent of education for administrative and financial services.

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