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Huntsville superintendent Matt Akin interviewing for job in Gulf Shores

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville City Schools superintendent Matt Akin is up for a similar position in Gulf Shores.

The Gulf Shores City School Board President confirms that Akin is a finalist for superintendent there.  The school board will hold an open interview session with Akin Thursday, April 12 during its regular school board meeting.  Gulf Shores City Schools recently became a district, separating from Baldwin County Schools.  The district received 27 applications for its new superintendent job.

Whoever the district chooses will have the opportunity to build the new school system from its very beginning.

Akin arrived in Huntsville in March 2017, after spending time as superintendent with Piedmont City Schools. He was selected from a group of five finalists by a 3-2 board vote on January 30, 2017. The board approved his contract in March, and he assumed the job in Huntsville later that month.

Before he moved to Huntsville, Akin told us a job in Huntsville was a dream he had realized. "I think Huntsville was always in the back of my mind," he explained at the time.

Huntsville City Schools board member, Michelle Watkins, said Akin told her about his interview Wednesday afternoon.

She told us by phone, "Dr. Akin has always been up front and honest with me. Whatever he thinks is best for him and his family, I will respect. I would want someone to do the same for me and my family. If he is chosen, I will wish him well. If he is not selected, then we will have to get back to the business of educating our children."

Board member, Walker McGinnis, said by phone, "This came as a shock to me. I wasn't ready for that. But no one person makes or breaks the school system. We will pull together and move forward, and we wish him well."

Board President, Elisa Ferrell, declined to comment until the school system learns the outcome of Akin's upcoming interview.

Board member, Beth Wilder, said, "I will reserve reaction until Dr. Akin is offered and accepts the job."

WHNT News 19 has contacted and not yet heard back from the other school board members.

Gulf Shores City Schools sent this release to media Wednesday:

"The Gulf Shores City Board of Education is pleased to announce a public interview with Superintendent Candidate Dr. Matt Akin during the Thursday, April 12, 2018 Board of Education Meeting at 5:00 at Gulf Shores City Hall.

The Board Members reviewed the twenty-seven (27) applications and Dr. Akin emerged as a top candidate who is a highly experienced superintendent with a long list of accomplishments.

Dr. Matt Akin has been an educator for over twenty-five years. Dr. Akin served as the superintendent of the Piedmont City School District for the over thirteen years. He began his tenure as superintendent of Huntsville City Schools in March, 2017. Under his leadership, Piedmont City Schools has been recognized nationally for innovative practices in education. U.S. News & World Report has named Piedmont High School one of “America’s Best High Schools” for six consecutive years. Piedmont High School was also named as the #2 “Most Connected High School” in the country by U.S. News & World Report and an “Apple Distinguished School” by Apple Computer. The U.S. Department of Education recognized Piedmont High with the prestigious “Blue Ribbon School” distinction for excellence in academics. Piedmont Elementary and Piedmont High School have been recognized as CLAS “Banner Schools” during Dr. Akin’s tenure. In 2014, Piedmont Middle School was one of two schools in the southeast that was recognized as a Verizon “Innovative Learning School.”

Dr. Akin was named one of ten national “Tech Savvy Superintendents” in 2011 by e-School News and was also listed as one of “Twenty to Watch” in Educational Technology by the National Association of School Boards.

Most recently, in 2016, he was named by EdWeek as a national “Leader to Learn From.” Please join the Gulf Shores City Board of Education on Thursday evening to learn about Dr. Akin’s leadership experiences and how he envisions using these experiences to lead Gulf Shores City Schools."

This is a developing story.  Stay with WHNT News 19 for updates.