Randall Little shakes hands with county school board chairman William Grissett.

Little gets top job

Published 6:53pm Thursday, March 22, 2012

When a new superintendent takes over at the Escambia County School System this summer, it should be a smooth transition.

Randall Little, currently the interim superintendent, was named superintendent Thursday, earning the position on a 6-1 vote of the board of education.

The only other candidate was Zickeyous Byrd, principal of Escambia County High School.

“We will continue to make great strides in education,” Little pledged after the decision, saying he was humbled by the board’s choice.
Little later said he was “looking forward” to his new role.

Board chairman William Grissett was the only board member who voted for Byrd during a roll call vote, although the board agreed to unanimously approve Little after a motion made by Michael Goolsby.

The vote was far less split than the one that placed Little in the interim position, when the Atmore area board members voted for assistant superintendent Mary Bess Powell — who is from Atmore — and others voted for Little.

Grissett and board attorney Broox Garrett were authorized to negotiate Little’s contract, which would begin this summer.

The board also voted to renew the contracts of four principals after asking them some questions in open session Thursday. Those contracts will be negotiated by Little, the board authorized. Grissett noted that Garrett told the board in its executive session that principals’ contracts could not be discussed in executive session.

Principals whose contracts were renewed included Patty Frazier of W.S. Neal High School, John Knott of W.S. Neal Elementary School, David Lanier of the Escambia-Brewton Career Technical Center and Sandra Reid of Flomaton Elementary School.

Each was asked about how state Superintendent Tommy Bice’s 20/20 plan for schools fits into their agenda.

Frazier said W.S. Neal passed its accreditation review with “flying colors,” but would be focused on improving the graduation rate in the coming year.

“We’re working to get workforce prep back into school,” she said, noting that program can help keep more students from leaving before graduation.

Knott said Bice’s plan, which reflects his background in curriculum, fits with W.S. Neal Elementary’s goals and also focuses on technology.

“One of my goals is to expand our SmartBoard technology,” Knott said, adding that he would also like to see a pre-K program at Neal Elementary.

At the Career Technical Center, Lanier said he is working on an agreement with Jefferson Davis Community College and Reid State

Technical College to allow students who have completed two successive years in an area of study to get a semester of credit at the schools.

“It think it is time career tech does get recognized,” Lanier said.

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