MADISON, Ala. - WHNT News 19 learned the names of the finalists for superintendent at Madison City Schools during a Thursday school board work session. The board approved the finalists shortly after, during a regular meeting.
Dee Fowler, the previous superintendent, left office on December 1 after taking a job with the state. The application period ended in mid-December. The Madison City School board has been going over the applications with the board attorney.
The board received interest from 40 applicants, 25 of whom completed the applications by the deadline. They came from 14 states. 8 applicants were from people currently working in Alabama.
- Dr. Sandra Wallingsford Spivey -- Current Superintendent of Scottsboro City Schools, also a finalist for superintendent of Huntsville City Schools
- Dr. Jennifer Lee Gray -- Currently serving as Brooks Elementary School Principal, 26 years in Lauderdale County Schools. Former superintendent of Lauderdale County Schools.
- Dr. Reginald Terrell Eggleston -- Florence native, currently serving as the Mobile County Schools Assistant Superintendent
- Robert Vincent Parker -- Currently serving as the Madison City Schools Assistant Superintendent
School board attorneys said the search, led by the board, was successful.
"There are a lot of highly respected educators in the list," said Madison City Schools Board President Terri Johnson.
Breaking it Down
Each of these finalists has ties to North Alabama, and currently works in Alabama school systems. That's something that Johnson believes is an advantage for the school system.
"They will know our funding mechanism. The way schools are funded in the state of Alabama is different than in some other states," she explained.
Madison City Schools is facing several big issues in which funding will be crucial. First, the school board is hoping to, through mediation, resolve a battle over Limestone County tax money. The district's elementary schools, and soon its high schools, will have an overcrowding problem due to growth within the city.
The school system must soon add classroom space, and right now there just isn't any money to build new schools. Taxes will soon expire, and that's why the school system will look to renew them.
"Somebody coming from in the state likely has been a part of tax renewals," pointed out Johnson.
Sandra Spivey is also a finalist in the Huntsville City Schools superintendent search. Madison City Schools board members are not concerned about the overlap.
"Dr. Spivey will interview here, interview there, and we'll see how it goes," commented Johnson.
The school system will conduct interviews next week, preceded by public meet-and-greet sessions with each finalist.
January 17, 2017
Sandra Spivey: Meet and Greet at 2 PM, Board interview at 4 PM
Jennifer Gray: Meet and Greet at 3 PM, Board interview at 6:15 PM
January 19, 2017
Reginald Eggleston: Meet and Greet at 2 PM, Board interview at 4 PM
Robert Parker: Meet and Greet at 3 PM, Board interview at 6:15 PM
The public is welcome to these events, and invited to the meet-and-greet to meet the finalists. The board is looking for community input about who is best for Madison.
Board Members' Decision Looms
The board assured their constituents they will do everything they can to make the best choice.
"Finding the best person for this job is a true commitment to doing what's best for every single student," said board member Connie Spears.
But it won't be easy. They will need to weigh the skills of the finalists to make sure they're up to the task.
"It's not easy, the challenges we have facing us as a school system," explained board member David Hergenroeder.