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Superintendent interviews under way

About 4 dozen attend first round

News Staff Writer

The Escambia County Board of Education’s first round of interviews with finalists for the job of Escambia County Superintendent of Education took place Monday night (July 26) in the Flomaton High School auditorium.
The three-part series of two-candidate interview sessions, each conducted by BOE members, was to continue this week, with sessions set for Tuesday (July 27) and Thursday (July 29). Both will be at FHS; each is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Although no member of the general public was allowed to ask questions of the candidates, nearly four dozen people — including several current and retired educators from Atmore — were present for the Monday interviews.
“I thought we had a pretty good turnout,” said Coleman Wallace, who holds the District 7 school board seat. “I saw a few folks from Atmore up here, and it’s good to see they came all this way.”
“We have a few rules we ask everybody to adhere to,” explained the county school board’s attorney, Brooks Garrett, prior to the onset of questioning. “There will be no questions from the audience. The questions will actually be compiled by the school board and will be asked by a staff member.”
The BOE lawyer also asked that the content of Monday’s question-and-answer session not be published by media until after Thursday, since all candidates would be asked the same questions.
The queries were presented to the candidates — Dr. Stephen “Clay” Webber of Albertville and Wade Shipman of Tallassee — by Flomaton High teacher Jerry Aaron, with BOE members tossing in an occasional question.
Both Webber, a principal in the Marshall County school system, and Shipman, retired superintendent of Tallassee City Schools, each remained at a table in the middle of the auditorium stage for one hour and 15 minutes as they fielded a variety of questions.
The other four finalists for superintendent are Escambia County Assistant Superintendent Sandra Reid; Dr. Barbarietta Turner, director of student services in Monroe County; Michele M. McClung, director of teaching, learning and assessment for Mobile County schools; and Gary K. Glass, a principal in the Monroe County system.
The school board’s final decision on a new superintendent to replace John Knott, who is retiring after seven years at the helm of county schools, is expected next week.