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ECHS begins search, again

By By Adam Prestridge
Escambia County High School is in the market for both a principal and head football coach following Thursday afternoon’s school board meeting.
The school board declined to negotiate a three-year contract for current Principal Harvey Means following an extended executive session at W.S. Neal High School. Board member Cereal Daniel had asked to discuss the issue during the closed-door session.
Means, who was on a two-year probationary contract, was in attendance and sat quietly in the back of the room as his fate with ECHS ended in silence.
Means will continue to work as principal until May 31 when his contract expires. Means said he is unsure what his plans are for the rest of the school year, adding that he has not been given an explanation for the recent turn of events.
Even though Means said he has not been given a reason for not receiving a contract, he has his hunches.
Also failing to receive a motion was a recommendation from Superintendent Billy Hines for a teacher position at ECHS, which would have also served as the head football coach. The position was also held out for discussion in executive session. Hines said following the meeting that the recommendation was given to him by Means.
Two rounds of interviews have been held for the head coach’s position in the past two months. During the initial round of interviews, Means, along with a six-person hiring committee and personnel from the school board, interviewed 10 candidates from a pool of 45-50 applicants. Despite Means’ showing confidence in those candidates, no hiring recommendation was made during the February school board meeting. Means cited issues in “clarification of certification” with some applicants as well as “verification of backgrounds” for the finalists the committee submitted.
Last Saturday, four additional candidates were interviewed by Means and a committee of eight for the job and the recommendation Thursday was made from that pool of candidates. The name of the person recommended was not made public.
With no hiring decision made, Hines said the application process started over Friday.
Hines anticipates a coaching recommendation could be made at the April board meeting just in time for spring training. The meeting is scheduled for April 29 at the central office in Brewton.
As for a new principal, Hines said Means is currently the principal and a search would begin at a later date.
Although his contract was not renewed, Means said he would complete his duties at ECHS.
Means said he is grateful for the time he has spent in Atmore.
Also discussed in executive session was the negotiation of a three-year contract for Escambia County Alternative School Principal Hilda Rudolph. Board member Chuck Brooks requested it be held out for discussion. The issue later passed unanimously.
Attorney Alicia Bennett also addressed the board prior to entering into executive session to announce that she would join them to discuss “pending litigation.”
Prior to executive session, the board approved three-year contract negotiations for Escambia County Middle School principal Zickeyous Byrd and Flomaton High School principal Scott Hammond. Both contract periods will be from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2013.