Huntsville City School Board interviews superintendent finalist Verna Ruffin

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - As Huntsville City Schools continues the search for its next superintendent, the board interviewed Verna Ruffin.

Ruffin currently works as superintendent of Jackson-Madison County Schools in Tennessee. She said she wants to come to Huntsville because she's an agent of change, and has a history as such.

During her interview, she mentioned multiple times being impressed but Huntsville's school buildings and programs.

"I just see that this is an amazing place," she noted, "with potential beyond imagination. I can assure you that not all districts have that."

She did see areas of improvement. One of those lies in the district's morale.

"I think there's some mending that needs to occur," she said, emphasizing the need for more trust. "I think there's some healing that needs to occur. I think there needs to be unity that needs to occur in the community. Anytime you have the kind of change that you've just gone through, you can't just skim over that." She added that she believes the board and superintendent need a unified vision that she can then carry into the community.

Ruffin said she would be excited to make progress on desegregation if chosen for the job, because that is another area where Huntsville needs continued change.

"I see a lot of progress toward that, but still a lot of needs in the academics and the accessibility and the success of students," she told the board. "I think that's continued work that Huntsville will still have to do. I see, if I were chosen as superintendent, playing a vital role in that."

Ruffin said she already has experience working toward equality in schools, both before and after they've reached unitary status.

"I think we should expect great things out of all children, and if children are struggling we need to add additional supports to help them succeed," she said. "I really do believe that all children can learn, and the doors need to be opened for access. And the you have to assure that they're successful when they do that."

Ruffin also expressed a desire to go through Huntsville's budget, should she get the job.