BOE interviews superintendent finalists

Published 3:55 pm Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Butler County Board of Education interviewed two candidates for the permanent position of Butler County Schools superintendent Monday night.

The board met with current interim superintendent Amy Bryan and Crenshaw County Public Schools educator Charles Alford.

Bryan said that serving as interim superintendent has been challenging due to her continued role as federal programs and grants director, but the experience has been a valuable one nonetheless.

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“Probably the best preparation for this job, besides superintendents’ academy, is my experience in various roles from teacher to administrator during my 26 years of working for the school system,” Bryan said.

Despite the inherent challenge in taking on the role, Bryan said that she her confidence in her own ability as well as the support of those around her attracted her to the position the most.

“I knew that I could do the job and that we need someone who has the best interest of our students, schools and community in mind with every decision rather than someone who would use us as a stepping stone for another job,” Bryan said. “I also had tremendous encouragement from many directions.”

Bryan has a number of immediate goals upon her selection as superintendent.

“We must have a strategic plan in place by August,” Bryan said. “We must be preparing now for the district accreditation process to take place in September. We must develop a communication/public relations plan to inform parents and the community about the great things happening and planning for our school system.”

Alford has spent 12 years teaching in the classroom, followed by four years as both assistant principal and as principal in Luverne.

He also has experience in the central office, where he worked in maintenance, transportation, safety, residency, federal programs, career tech and more.

“What I told the board of education that qualifies me is that I’ve been there and done that,” Alford said. “As principal of four years, I’ve taken the graduation rate and improved it. I didn’t take over a failing system — they were already good, and I just capitalized on that and helped bring them up to the 96 percent rate that they’re at.”

The graduation rate is of particular concern to Alford’s future aspirations as superintendent.

“First of all, there’s some room for improvement in the graduation rate, but it’s not a failing system,” Alford said. “You’re not at the bottom of the barrel and about to be taken over by the state — it’s a good system.  And I want to help it become a great system.”

Though not a native to Butler County, Alford added that he understood the importance of homegrown leaders.

“I understand that Mrs. Bryan is very good, and therefore probably the leading candidate, and I would understand that,” Alford said. “But if they give me a chance, I’ll show them.  I’m from this area, and I go to Greenville all the time.  We eat over there and go to Walmart, and I’m in the community.  I’ve already been looking to potentially move over there.  If it works out, I’ll make them happy, is all I can say.”

The Butler County Board of Education will announce the new superintendent on March 20.