DECATUR, Ala. - Tuesday the new Decatur City Schools superintendent shook hands with parents and community members as he discussed his plans for the district.
"We've really tried to go back to basics of focusing in on the classroom," said Superintendent Michael Douglas. "I put out non-negotiables for administrators and teachers in terms of bell-to-bell instruction."
Douglas says he wants administrators to visit classrooms as often as possible, and give teachers the resources and professional development they need. He says he focuses on student growth more than standardized testing, and has a plan for schools in lower-income areas.
"With poverty, you want to make sure you reduce the class size and increase the face time with teachers," he said.
With school starting next Wednesday, Douglas says he's ready to get to work, and has already met with teachers from every school in the district.
"I'm gong to let our teachers know how much we appreciate them, but then we’ll also hold them accountable for delivering the best education to the students of Decatur," he explained. "They just want to feel supported. They want to know we'll have some consistency and communication that flows from central office to the schools."
Consistency, he says, is wanted by the teachers, the parents, and the district, especially considering the turnover the district has experienced at the helm; and he plans to deliver, not only in leadership but also in the classroom.
"Because when you have a district this large, you want to make sure they're getting the same quality from school to school."
It would be on Douglas to recommend any salary raises as well.
"We want to look at salaries for all of our employees especially with teachers. If you want the very best teachers, you want your pay to be more competitive than the districts around you."
Douglas started July 12th. According the contract, he will be paid $182,000 a year. That is more than Dan Brigman was making when he abruptly resigned, making Douglas the district's highest paid superintendent.
Douglas comes to the Decatur school system from the Oneonta City School District.