State BOE member Mary Scott Hunter is worried Superintendent about to be fired

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Huntsville area representative on the Alabama Board of Education says there is a move afoot to fire Superintendent Michael Sentance.

Board member Mary Scott Hunter told WHNT News 19 the process for evaluating Sentance's job performance has been changed without a vote and the issue is expected to come to a head Tuesday.

“I believe it is a move to try to unseat him. I believe that this was demanded of us after the last board meeting,” Hunter said. “If this was so urgent we could have discussed it at the last board meeting, it was not discussed, it was not voted upon.”

The board is scheduled for its regular meeting Tuesday, but Hunter said members were asked to submit evaluations of Sentance months before his scheduled December review.

“So we received after the last board meeting by the leadership of our board to complete an evaluation. It was totally uncoordinated, we had no idea it was coming, it was sprung on us,” Hunter said. “And that`s not how our board works. Typically we vote on anything related to this sort of thing.”

And, she says, the request to do the evaluations didn't occur in the course of a normal, but was directed by Board Vice President Stephanie Bell, without a board vote.

Sentance was hired last August after a selection process that has been marred by controversy, including allegations that Hunter and others worked to undermine the candidacy of another applicant, Craig Pouncey, as AL.com has reported.

Hunter said she's pressed for answers about the sped-up evaluation process, but none of her questions have been addressed. She said she's been told it would all be addressed Tuesday. But she worries Tuesday may be too late to make a difference.

Sentance's leadership style has been cricitized, but Hunter said while Sentnace needs to improve his communication skills, he's effectively addressed a number of challenges on the job. She also believes he hasn't been given adequate time to do the job he was hired to perform.

“What we have here is just some board members who are unhappy for whatever reasons, I don`t yet because we haven`t talked about it, and we`ll find out on Tuesday.” But it would appear that`s there`s going to be a process to evaluate and potentially terminate him, without a vote.”


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