HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Thursday the Huntsville City Council approved a plan to fill an open spot on the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education. The city is now accepting applications to fill the expected vacancy on the Huntsville City School Board following Pam Hill’s resignation. She has said publicly that she is planning to resign May 24.
Before Hill's upcoming resignation, the council wanted to have a procedure in place to appoint the new board member. Hill still needs to put in her official resignation, City Attorney Trey Riley said, but she has submitted intent to do so. Now, the council will be able to move forward with appointing her replacement.
Council President Devyn Keith presented a process for the selection procedure and candidate criteria during the meeting on Thursday that was unanimously approved by the city council. He said it was the best way he, and others he consulted including Council Member Jennie Robinson, could come up with to be objective and still fill the role quickly.
Applications for the School Board position will be accepted from Friday, May 24, through Friday, June 7. Applicants must submit a resume and cover letter to the City Attorney’s office and meet the criteria.
Among the basic qualifications for applicants:
- Must be a qualified elector of the City of Huntsville
- Must live within the city limits of Huntsville and within the limits of the district for at least 90 days prior to election by the City Council
- Must have a high school diploma or its equivalent
“This is an exceptionally important position for our City Schools, and we wanted to get it right,” said Council President Devyn Keith in a press release. “We have given this a great deal of thought, and I am pleased we have designed a path forward that is open, transparent, and allows us to consider the best possible individuals to represent School Board District 5.”
Council President Keith will appoint an application review committee consisting of two council members and two Huntsville residents. Thursday, he named the committee members: Jennie Robinson as chair, Ann Kvach (Huntsville Council of PTA's President), Kim Lewis (C.E.O. of ProjectXYZ and Board Chair of the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce), and Devyn Keith.
Once applications are closed, the committee will have three days to assess the candidates.
Five candidates will be selected to be interviewed by the council during public meetings on June 14 and 17.
After the interview process is complete, the Council President will accept nominations from council members at the next regularly scheduled meeting on June 27. The council will vote on the nominees until one applicant receives a majority vote.
A complete timeline of the candidate election process is available here.
Prospective candidates with questions about the selection process should contact City Attorney Trey Riley at email@example.com or call (256) 427-5026.
"Hopefully this gets us to somebody who represents not just District 5, but the best interest of the city school system," Keith stated.
The council will be taking this very seriously.
"This is probably one of the most significant decisions this council will make. It's not one that should be left to chance," said Robinson. "We are not just filling a board seat. We are making decisions that will impact the lives of our children. So it needs to be done carefully."
Prior to Thursday, the council did not have a procedure in place to fill a vacancy on the school board.
"You put some order to something that could be chaos," commended Mayor Tommy Battle.
The mayor and council thanked those who would be on the committee, and those who plan to apply for consideration.
But some spoke out against the process.
Chris Horn came to the mic and said, "None of you had to go through a rubric or criteria or committee. Or neither did the people at the school board. It's very strange to me that you are creating rules that you don't play by yourselves."
"At the end of the day, we have to try to take our politics out of it as best, and this is the way I thought our politics would be taken out as best," Keith responded.