Candidates interview for ECSS superintendent seat

Published 10:22 am Friday, July 30, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Six candidates held interviews for the Escambia County School System superintendent’s position at Flomaton High School July 26-27 and 29.

Each day, the candidates toured the school system, meeting with administrators and teachers. Their day ended at FHS, where the interviews commenced.

The interviews lasted approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes each.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

ECSS Attorney Broox Garrett served as the moderator, and FHS Television Production Teacher Jerry Aaron asked questions. Questions included the candidates’ experience in planning COVID recovery; their succession plans for developing administrators; consider what the most important duties of the superintendent; test scores; and improving student achievement, to name a few.

The candidates for superintendent included Gary K. Glass, principal in the Monroe County School System; Michele M. McClung, director of teaching, learning and assessment for the Mobile County Public Schools board of education; Dr. Sandra Reid, assistant superintendent for ECSS; Wade Shipman, served as the superintendent of the Tallassee City board of education; Dr. Barbarietta Turner, director of student services for the Monroe County board of education; and Dr. Stephen “Clay” Webber, principal in the Marshall County School System.

On planning a COVID response and the use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergencey Relief (ESSER) funds, Webber said that’s where the building blocks of his experience has been.

Shipman said one has to make sure all of the PPE equipment is in place and to take care of any looming gaps in learning that may have existed because of the pandemic.

Glass said a superintendent has to be the system’s biggest advocate, representative and biggest ambassador.

“For me, they have got to be a listener,” Glass said. “Another duty is that the superintendent is a relationship builder, and has a vested interest in the system. It’s a team effort. We’re in the same boat – the superintendent and board.”

McClung said the superintendent should be a champion of all children, a promoter of equity, a gatekeeper and transparent.

I believe the superintendent should be all in every single day, hands on and visible in school and easily accessbile,” McClung said. “They should trust and support their administrators.”

Turner said she believes the superintendent has to be a servant leader.

“I believe in serving the students, board and teachers,” she said. “Also, I’m a transformational leader. There is more that we can be doing. We have to be transparent. You have to have an open door policy so nobody thinks you’re hiding anything. You have to be able to communicate.”

The candidates are also asked about the role of extra curricular activities, and their policy on the no pass no play rule.

“There’s a place for every student in every school,” Glass said. “We must offer these opportunities for these students. Academics is why they go to school. There are so many more elements of that. I feel strongly that it is encumbent upon schools to do everything within its power to keep students eligible or to be sure to regain eligibility before a new school year.”

Reid said band, choir, athletics and student clubs play a major role in all schools.

“Socialization for students is very important,” she said. “Many of our students come to our schools to participate. It will be my responsibility as superintendent to provide resources they need to enhance these programs.”

Reid said she would ask coaches and athletic directors to establish a preventative program regarding the no pass, no play rule.

On the succession plan, Turner said the plan requires the superintendent to put the right people in the right place at the right time.

She said the Leadership Academy is an effective tool to highlight leaders in schools.

The board will vote on the new superintendent today during its special-called meeting.