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BOE’s search for CSFO nearing end

News Staff Report

The Escambia County Board of Education took a major leap Monday night (March 11) in its search for someone to step in and watch over the school system’s finances.

BOE members conducted lengthy public interviews of Charles Bass of Deatsville, Ala., and Kristal Waldrop of Brewton, who were two of four individuals who applied to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Chief Schools Financial Officer (CSFO) Rochelle Richardson, who officially left February 29. The board contracted with Alabama Association of School Boards to do the search for a CSFO, perform reference checks and background checks and present finalists for the position to the board.

Monday’s interview session was held at Flomaton High School’s auditorium, where each candidate was allotted two hours for answering the same questions (although neither needed the entire time) from the BOE members and from BOE attorney Broox Garrett.

The BOE, minus District 3’s Mike Edwards and District 7’s Coleman Wallace, had discussed the CSFO position at length during a special meeting held March 7 and during the workshop that preceded the meeting.

District 5’s Loumeek White, who is the BOE’s presiding officer, said everything went well during the twin interviews. He said the board will likely offer the position to one of the two during the board’s regular March meeting, which will take place this Thursday, March 14, at W.S. Neal High School in East Brewton. 

“It all went well; everything went smoothly,” White said. “We had two good candidates, and we are supposed to pick one of them on Thursday.”

In other business conducted during the March 7 meeting, BOE members:

*Approved an out-of-state trip for W.S. Neal Middle School students to Washington, D.C. during the 2024-25 school year. The trip is scheduled to last from March 24, 2025 through March 27, 2025.

*Learned that the school system’s unrestricted fund balance on January 31 was $18,525,613.20. That is equal to 4.34 months of operating expenditures.

*Authorized Superintendent Dr. Michele Collier to sign checks on behalf of the board.

*Approved an amended summer school salary schedule that increases the pay for facilitators at each site to $50 per hour.

*Awarded a network equipment bid to KAM Technologies for replacement of 469 access points (all such points in the system) and 60 UPS network battery backups. At $526,276.25, KAM’s bid was the lowest of two bids received. E-rate will pay all the cost except $52,721.90.

Dr. Collier said the new technology items will create savings that should reduce the monthly bills for the system’s desk phones from the current rate of “around $10,000 a month,” to “between $1,200 and $2,000” per month. 

*Approved the purchase of Fanuc LR Mate ER-4iA Education Training CERT Package from Technical Training Aids. The $48,850 cost will be paid with CCR grant funds.

*Announced that the BOE’s regular March meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at W.S. Neal Middle School. A workshop will be held prior to the meeting.

* Personnel

The following personnel recommendations by Superintendent Collier were approved by the Board.

The following abbreviations are used:

Escambia County Board of Education – ECBOE

Rachel Patterson Elementary School – RPES

Escambia County High School – ECHS

Flomaton Elementary School – FES

Pollard McCall Junior High School – PMJHS

W.S. Neal Elementary School – WSNES


1. Rachel Land, LPN / special education aide, FES, effective Feb. 26, 2024

2. Sonya Higdon, custodian, PMJHS, effective June 18, 2024

3. Noelle Morris, teacher, PMJHS, effective May 24, 2024

4. Selena Ramos, special education aide, PMJHS, effective March 22, 2024


1. David Mathis, technology supervisor, ECBOE, effective April 8, 2024, replacing Jamie Burkett

2. Jodie Grant, special education aide, FES, effective March 12, 2024

3. Hugh T. Fountain, special education aide, PMJHS, effective March 19, 2024

4. Ana Jarman, 6-hour lunchroom worker, RPES, effective March 8, 2024, replacing Wendy Presley


1. Shonnan Taylor, from 7-hour lunchroom worker, RPES, to 7-hour lunchroom worker, ECHS, effective March 11, 2024

After school employment

1. Andrella Nettles, after school program, teacher, WSNES, effective March 5, 2024

2. Heather Lindsey, after school program, teacher, WSNES, effective March 5, 2024