Reed hunts new job in Sylacauga

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Dr. Mike Reed, Butler County School superintendent, continued his search for other employment as he visited Sylacauga for an interview on Monday night with the school system there.

Reed most recently interviewed with the Phenix City School System, but withdrew his name from consideration.

Reed has served as superintendent in Butler County for the last five years and prior to that spent 32 years as an educator and superintendent in Mississippi.

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The format of the interview had the system’s five board members asking questions of the three candidates following a formal board interview.

Reed told those at the meeting that employee morale is important to him and that he takes care of that by addressing the little things such as saying &uot;thank you&uot; to employees for doing a good job or sending notes telling to keep up the good work, according to a report in Tuesday’s Daily Home.

&uot;Another way is for a school superintendent to be accessible to employees and listen to them,&uot; he said.

As for instructional program evaluation, Reed said a superintendent must be in the system’s buildings on a regular basis.

&uot;You need to see what’s going on, get input from teachers, look at and analyze test data,&uot; he said. &uot;I believe in management by walking around in schools. I will go into a classroom, but first I let a teacher know I’m coming. I don’t want to interrupt her teaching. From these, I will make the necessary recommendations.&uot;

On how a superintendent and board should get along, Reed said an open and honest relationship is required.

&uot;My cards will always be on the table. I will let you know,&uot; Reed said. &uot;I’m the executive secretary of the board. You establish policy and let me carry it out. The board is a policy-making body. The superintendent sees it is carried out. I’m not a politician. I’m an educator and the educational leader of the school system.&uot;

The Daily Home reported also Reed wants an informal evaluation performed monthly leading up to an annual evaluation.

&uot;I would want an annual evaluation in writing where you make recommendations for goals that you want me to improve in,&uot; he added.

Reed said his view of the community is that schools belong to the citizens.

&uot;They pay the bills and I like to see as many people get involved in schools as possible,&uot; he said. &uot;I have a district meeting with 25 parents once a month. I want their input. I do the same thing with community leaders. If you want to talk kids and schools, tell me the time and place. I’ll be there.&uot;

The Daily Home also reported that an audience member, Nichols-Lawson Middle School Principal Nathan Brown asked Reed why he applied for the job and if he planned on staying around. He compared Sylacauga’s school system to the last one he served with while in Mississippi.

&uot;Because of the school district’s reputation,&uot; he said. &uot;That’s what attracted me to Sylacauga – your foundation, your good test scores and parental involvement are all similar to the school systems I was with in Mississippi. My wife and I came up the past two Sundays and rode around. This is a beautiful place to live. If my health holds up I want to work until I’m 67 or 70. I’ll turn 57 this month.&uot;

Butler County Board of Education President Joanne Peak said Reed is free to do as he pleases but she felt this was not the right time for him to move on.

&uot;My opinion is that he has the right to make his own decisions,&uot; Peak said Tuesday afternoon. &uot;We would be able to go on without him, but this might not be the most opportune time financially for this to happen.&uot;

Also, on Tuesday, The Greenville Advocate attempted to reach Reed at his home.

A family member said he was out of town at a meeting in Tuscaloosa.

According to records supplied by Reed’s office at 215 Administrative Drive, he is paid $97,000 per year as superintendent. He is a 12- month employee.

According to the superintendent’s job description, his salary, additional benefits, vacation entitlements and other leave is determined by the board.

The board also funds the superintendent’s travel &uot;to the extent necessary to assure that he/she actively participates in professional development activities and professional organizations …&uot;

This is the second time in recent months that Reed has interviewed for a superintendent’s position in another system. However, he withdrew his name from the pool of candidates.

Reed said after he withdrew his name from the Phenix City position that he would continue to work for Butler County’s children.

&uot;I will keep going with the Butler County School System and work for the best of the children of Butler County,&uot; Reed said in a December interview. &uot;My job is to have the best that Butler County can and provide for the kids.&uot;

He did say in December if another worthy opportunity came up, he would pursue it.

Other Butler County BOE members could not be reached for comment.