If everything goes according to plan, the Jefferson County Board of Education may hire a new superintendent before its students take off for the Thanksgiving holiday break.
That word came from board President Oscar Mann as the board officially began the process of selecting a replacement for Craig Pouncey, who resigned last month to take the president’s job at Coastal Alabama Community College in Bay Minette.
The board voted in a special meeting Thursday to advertise the vacancy as required by state law, by physically posting the notice at each school and workplace in the system, and posting a notice on the Alabama State Department of Education’s website, which also links to the county system’s website.
The notice must be posted for 30 days; the deadline for submitting applications is 4 p.m. on Nov. 17. The board has its regular November meeting four days later and could vote on a permanent superintendent at that time. That would be well within the 180 days a school board is allowed to operate under an interim superintendent.
The board voted unanimously, with one member absent, to handle the search in-house. Applications will go to the Bishop, Colvin, Johnson and Kent law firm, which will check to make sure applicants meet the requirements advertised, and the board will choose among applicants OK’d by the firm.
Melissa Burkett McKie will supervise the process for Bishop Colvin. She said her staff would likely require from five to 15 billable hours for the job, with a total estimated cost of $2,500. “I can’t imagine it would take more than 20 hours,” McKie said.
That cost came in well under the $6,000 minimum estimate given by the Alabama Association of School Boards for a full search process. “That is not in the best interest of the board, financially,” Mann said.
JefCoEd used the AASB for the superintendent’s search that ended with the hiring of Stephen Nowlin to replace longtime superintendent Phil Hammonds. When Nowlin was dismissed less than two years later, the board conducted its own search, choosing Pouncey.
Deputy Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin was named interim superintendent upon Pouncey’s resignation. Gonsoulin has not said publicly whether he will apply to become the next superintendent.
The JefCoEd board’s next regular meeting is Oct. 24.