Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview, chairman of the House Urban and Rural Development Committee on Friday got Gov. Kay Ivey’s signature on a resolution calling on the Alabama State Board of Education to use every means at its disposal to hire the right superintendent. / Tribune file photo
MONTGOMERY – On Friday afternoon, Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview, chairman of the House Urban and Rural Development Committee got Gov. Kay Ivey’s signature on a resolution calling on the Alabama State Board of Education to use every means at its disposal to hire the right superintendent. Shedd called the choice of a new education chief “the most important decision that will be made in Montgomery this year.”
The state superintendent office has been the subject of controversy since the resignation of Tommy Bice in 2016 during a federal investigation into Alabama’s claimed graduation rates. Leading replacement candidate Craig Pouncey was passed over in favor of Michael Sentance due to an ethics complaint. After the complaint, filed by a board member, was found to be false, Sentance quit and Pouncey filed suit. Dr. Ed Richardson currently serves as interim superintendent.
Shedd’s resolution, introduced as House Joint Resolution 27 and enacted as Act 2018-342, reads:
URGING THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO SEARCH NATIONWIDE FOR THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR THE ALABAMA 10 SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION.
WHEREAS, the best foundation for a strong and effective system of education is strong leadership with clear goals and the means to obtain those goals; currently, the Alabama State Board of Education is seeking to fill the position of the Superintendent of the State Board of Education; and WHEREAS, it is incumbent upon the State Board of Education to fill the open position with proven leadership that can lead the board and the state in efforts to improve the quality of education in Alabama; and
WHEREAS, the State Board of Education should implement measures to broaden the search to fill this important position with a proven leader who has the vision and skill to develop a strategy, to assemble an effective team, and to apply effective programs and procedures to move Alabama to the top in education; and
WHEREAS, improving the quality of education throughout Alabama should be the guiding force in this search for new leadership for the State Board of Education; the identification and recruitment of strong, proven leadership is necessary for Alabama to move forward in its education system; now therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, BOTH HOUSES THEREOF CONCURRING, That the State Board of Education is urged to search nationwide for the most highly qualified person to serve as the Superintendent of the State Board of Education and perform the search and recruitment by any means necessary; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be provided to the Alabama State Board of Education so that they are informed of our expectations regarding this matter and our firm determination to support new leadership in implementing goals for improving education in Alabama.
Afterward the resolution was signed, Shedd issued the following statement:
State Representative Randall Shedd, R-Cullman, today expressed his thanks to Gov. Kay Ivey for signing a resolution sponsored by members of the House Urban and Rural Development Committee.
That resolution urges members of the State Board of Education to conduct a nationwide search for a new superintendent of the Department of Education.
"We're asking those members to find us a Nick Saban/Gus Malzahn caliber superintendent. Simply put, we want the best in the nation," said Shedd, chairman of the committee.
The resolution states that "improving the quality of education throughout Alabama should be the guiding force in this search for new leadership for the State Board of Education" and that the search and recruitment for the most highly qualified person to be superintendent should be done "by any means necessary."
"We want Alabama's education system to be at the top,” said Shedd.
In addition to Shedd, the resolution was sponsored by Representatives David Standridge, R-Hayden; Danny Crawford, R-Athens; Rich Wingo, R-Tuscaloosa; Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville; Prince Chestnut, D-Selma; Bob Fincher, R-Woodland; Ralph Howard, D-Greensboro; and Margie Wilcox, R-Mobile.
Friday, March 23, was the deadline for applications for the position.
Late Friday afternoon, Shedd told The Tribune, “We’re encouraging them to get the best; so if the applicants they have’s not the best, we hope they’ll start over, you know, and do whatever it takes. Just like we do with our football coaches, let’s get the best we can get; bring education up to the top in the state, as well.
“This is probably the most important decision that will be made in Montgomery this year, and our committee–the Urban and Rural Development Committee–made this a priority, and of course the House and Senate passed it. And we think that this selection is crucial to urban and rural Alabama, so we’re trying to bring awareness to it.”
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