White, Jackson chosen for BOE’s top spots



News Staff Writer

During a lengthy but relatively uneventful meeting held last Tuesday in Atmore, members of the Escambia County Board of Education selected new officers and authorized spending of more than $1 million for various educational materials, communications equipment and facility upgrades and repairs.

More than 50 spectators — most of them teachers, program directors, administrators and other school system employees — attended the meeting, which was the first BOE session since October 12, when the board voted 4-3 not to renew the contract of Superintendent of Education Michele McClung, who was conducting her first meeting in the presence of her parents.

Since then, a board member — District 6’s Sherry Digmon — has been indicted by a county grand jury on an alleged ethics violation and has been served notice by the grand jury and District Attorney Steve Billy that they intend to have her removed from office.

There was no mention of the dissension that has existed among board members since the October 12 meeting, although public commentary was offered and expected. Nobody in the sizable crowd signed up to speak.

Held until the end of the meeting was the selection of new officers for the upcoming year.

Loumeek White (District 5) was elected president by a 4-3 vote (Digmon, White, District 1’s Kevin Hoomes and District 4’s Cindy Jackson in favor). Jackson was then nominated as vice-president, and the same 4-3 vote kept her in the vice-president’s position.

The board approved the spending of more than $1 million, roughly one-third of that ($294,445.45) from Phase 3 of federal Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. Those funds must be spent by September 30, 2024.

Also, Cynthia Wilson of the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts reported that state auditors had rendered an unmodified opinion that the school system’s books were mostly in order at the end of FY2022. The only negative findings involved the publishing of revenues and expenditures, which was done several months after the books were closed, and that some bank accounts were not reconciled to the system’s cash account.

In other business, the BOE:

*Bid farewell to Jamie Burkett, the system’s Tech Coordinator, who is in his 20th year with the system. Burkett accepted a position at Coastal Alabama Community College.

*Announced that Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth had awarded a $1 million K-12 capital grant that will be used in the rebuilding of the W.S. Neal High auditorium, and another grant that will be used to put a playground on the campus of A.C. Moore Elementary School.

*Approved an overnight trip for the Escambia County High School basketball team to play in the Big Orange Tournament in Hoover, December 28-30.

*Approval of $1,000 supplements for each of the county’s special education teachers and speech therapists. Half will be paid in December, the other half next May. 3.

*Approved a pay-out within two years of existing sign-on bonuses for identified special education, math, and science teachers contracted to receive the supplement paid out of Title II funds.

*Approved termination of teacher sign-on bonus with the exception of state identified hard-to-staff schools.

*Approval of federal funding for the Homeless, EL, Foster Care, and Consolidated applications.

*Approved amendment to the 2023-2024 Salary Schedule’s supplement page.

*Heard from CSFO Rochelle Richardson that the board’s unrestricted fund balance at October 2023 was $15,640,946.83. That is equivalent to 4.25 months of operations.

*Approved an agreement with The Learning Tree, Inc. for special education consultation services in applied behavior analysis for the contract period beginning November 1, 2023, and ending October 31, 2024. No cost was provided.

*Approved a contract with Brainspring for Orton-Gillingham professional development in the amount of $23,440.00 (ESSER 3).

*Approved renewal of SchoolsPLP contract for virtual school and credit recovery in the amount of $92,200 (Title I).

*Approved the purchase and installation of the following from KAM Technologies: Intercom & VoIP Upgrade at AC Moore Elementary School in the amount of $50,685.37 and Cisco Wall Mount IP phones for Escambia County Schools in the amount of $38,213.35 (ESSER 3).

*Approved adopted and implementation of an Emergency Operation Plan with NSide School Safety Platform for all schools and administration offices within the district. No cost amount was listed.

*Accepted a bid from Darden Communications Consultants, Inc. in the amount of $81,090.75 for the purchase of radios for all buses and schools in Escambia County (School Safety Grant).

*Approved a contract with Uniti Fiber for 1-Year License and Support for wireless access to control the network at district and local schools in the amount of $61,610.45 (Technology funds)

*Approved a contract with Walker Construction & Consulting Services for roof and truss repairs at Pollard McCall Junior High School in the amount of $67,974.00. (Insurance claim).

*Approved a contract with Walker Construction & Consulting Services for storm shelter doors and repairs at W.S. Neal High School in the amount of $225,500.

*Purchased property located at 0 Virginia Street, East Brewton, in the amount of $15,000 (local funds). The board will also pay the $450 appraisal fee.

*Purchased property located at 829 Andrew Jackson Street, East Brewton, in the amount of $115,000. (Local funds, BOE pays $450 appraisal fee.)

*Approved entering into an easement with Alabama Power for power lines on Board-owned property at Escambia County High School.

*Approved a contract with SchoolinSites to provide district and local school websites, support, and web posting for one year in the amount of $29,425.00 (Title I).

*Approved a contract with Discovery Education to provide Discovery EducationStreaming ($30,600) and Stem Connect and Coding ($24,000) from ESSER 3 funds.

*Approved a contract with Frontline Education for Frontline Central Solution and Applicant Tracking in the amount of $17,914.56. (No fund source was listed.)

*Approved the purchase of math manipulatives for grades K-5 from Savvas in the amount of $69,506.73 (ESSER 3).

*Approved a service agreement with The Flippen Group, LLC for Capturing Kids’ Hearts Leadership Blueprint Recharged and Capturing Kids’ Hearts Recharged professional development in the amount of $28,000. (ESSER 3).

*Approved a services agreement with Say It Sow LLC for speech language services compensated at $80 per hour effective December 4, 2023, through May 22, 2024. No estimate of total cost was provided.

*Approved a contract with Bailey Education Group for special education support and coaching in the amount of $30,000. (ESSER 3).

*Approved the purchase of two 2023 Ford F150 crew cab trucks for the maintenance department from Stivers Ford in Montgomery, from the state bid contract, in the amount of $37,908.00 each. (Amended amount — the board previously approved the purchase for $33,938 each).

*Announced that the board’s December meeting will take place on Thursday, December 14, at 4 p.m. in the Brewton Central Office. The group will undergo whole board training prior to the meeting from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


The board approved the following personnel recommendations by the superintendent.

Abbreviations used:

Escambia County Board of Education – ECBOE

A.C. Moore Pre-K School – ACMPS

Huxford Elementary School – HES

Rachel Patterson Elementary School – RPES

Escambia County Middle School – ECMS

Escambia County High School – ECHS

Flomaton Elementary School – FES

Flomaton High School – FHS

Pollard McCall Junior High School – PMJHS

W.S. Neal Elementary School – WSNES

W.S. Neal Middle School –  WSNMS

W.S. Neal High School – WSNHS

Turtle Point Science Center – TPSC

Escambia County Alternative School – ECAS

Escambia Career Readiness Center – ECRC

Atmore Bus Shop – ABS

Brewton Bus Shop – BBS


1. Brian Stallworth, teacher, RPES, effective Jan. 1, 2024

2. Ricky G. Uptagrafft, teacher, WSNES, effective Dec. 15, 2023


1. Jamie Burkett, technology coordinator, ECBOE, effective Nov. 30, 2023

2. Lashay McCarthy, CNP worker, ECMS, effective Aug. 22, 2023

3. Roland Hall, teacher, ECHS, effective Nov. 1, 2023

4. Sharon Brown, academic interventionist, HES, effective Oct. 28, 2023

5. Ashlyn Ward, custodian, WSNES, effective Nov. 17, 2023

6. Randall Lucas, custodian, TPSC, effective Nov. 8, 2023


1. Brittney Campbell, pre-K auxiliary teacher, ACMPS, amended date effective Oct. 13, 2023, replacing Sarah Weaver

2. Elizabeth Wallace, cosmetology instructor, ECHS, effective Nov. 29, 2023, replacing Kristin Wasdin

3. Joyce Gunn, secretary / bookkeeper, PMJHS, effective Nov. 29, 2023, replacing Whitney Parish

4. Stefanie Pittman, custodian, WSNES, effective Dec. 11, 2023, replacing Ashlyn Ward

5. Rhonda Grantham, secretary / bookkeeper, WSNMS, effective Nov. 29, 2023, replacing Allison Murphy

6. Shannon Erickson, 6-hour lunchroom worker, WSNHS, effective Dec. 1, 2023, replacing Gladys Walker

7. Mary Hubert, 6-hour lunchroom worker, ECMS, effective Dec. 1, 2023, replacing Wendy Presley

Employment change

1. Whitney Parish, from secretary / bookkeeper, PMJHS, to pre-K auxiliary teacher aide, PMJHS, effective Dec. 11, 2023, replacing Tasha McFurgerson

2. Donna Watson, from pre-school special ed teacher, Office of Special Ed & Student Services, to academic interventionist, HES, Dec. 11, 2023, replacing Sharon Brown


1. Wendy Presley, 6-hour lunchroom worker, from ECMS to RPES, effective December 1, replacing Diana Graczyk

After school employment

1. Leah White, after school program, teacher, ECMS, effective Nov. 29, 2023

2. Jude Sanford, after school program, teacher, ECMS, effective Nov. 29, 2023

3. Deanna Edwards, after school program, aide, WSNES, effective Jan. 4, 2024

4. Malorie Johnson, after school program, teacher, WSNES, effective Jan. 4, 2024

5. Malary Salter, after school program, teacher, WSNES, effective Jan. 4, 2024

6. Makenna Lindley, after school program, teacher, WSNES, effective Jan. 4, 2024


1. Zachary Gotlib, TEAMS math teacher, ECMS, effective Aug. 2, 2023