County superintendent may be named Thursday

Published 6:41 pm Tuesday, May 20, 2014

By Justin Schuver
and Stephanie Nelson

For The Advance

The Escambia County Board of Education is expected to name its next superintendent Thursday.

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The board will meet in a workshop Thursday at 2 p.m., followed by a 4:30 p.m. board meeting.

Interviews with the two finalists — Assistant Superintendent John J. Knott and Escambia County Middle School Assistant Principal Kim D. Staley — were held on Monday, May 5. Candidates were questioned in a “round-robin” style, and interviews lasted approximately an hour-and-a-half each.

“My passion is the children,” Knott said, earlier this week. “I think that we have begun on a road of growth and I want to be there.”

Staley, a retired lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Air Force, has previously served as a principal and superintendent in Moss Point, Miss. He pointed to his military experience as evidence he can handle the job of leading Escambia County’s school system.

“As a military officer, I’ve been in a leadership role since my 20s,” Staley said Tuesday afternoon. “In the military, as an officer, you are in charge of people and operations, and meeting deadlines. I believe I understand what leadership is. Leadership, to me, is someone who is visionary and empowering.”

If hired, Knott said his main goal is to bring the system into the technological age. Knott said he also plans to focus on three priorities.

“Being superintendent is all encompassing, but my first priority is schools’ safety. Before we can teach out children, we have to make sure our environment is as safe as possible,” he said. “I would also like to increase our communication outlets, using social media more. And my last priority is to continue to provide the quality education that our children deserve.”

For more on this story, see the Wednesday, May 21, edition of The Atmore Advance.