Huntsville City Council announces top 5 candidates for open school board member position

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - We are learning more about who could fill an open seat on the board of the Tennessee Valley's largest school system. Huntsville City Schools has been short one board member since a controversial member, Pam Hill, resigned last month.

The top five candidates for the open board seat were announced at a Huntsville City Council meeting Thursday. The candidates are Carlos Mathews, Zara Broadenax, Angie Sandritter, JoAnn Perez, and Chaundra Jones.

The city said their interview times are as follows on Friday, June 14:

  • Carlos Mathews: 9 a.m.
  • Zara Broadenax: 10 a.m.
  • Angie Sandritter: 11 a.m.
  • JoAnn Perez: 1:15 p.m.
  • Chaundra Jones: 2 p.m.

The Huntsville City Council had to establish a procedure for replacing Hill. They decided a committee of two council members and parents would sift through applications.

The council is planning a special session for Friday (and possibly Monday) to interview the finalists. A vote will take place on June 27. We're told whoever receives the most support will be sworn in as soon as the following day.

Applicants for the job needed to have lived in the district for at least ninety days. A list of criteria says they must also have "good moral character."

Review committee chair and council member Jennie Robinson said there were some questions of residency among the 9 who applied on-time for a chance to sit in the board seat. That's why they will spend extra time on Friday making sure the candidates who seek consideration actually live in District 5.

"All candidates will be asked the same questions. Council members can ask follow-up questions though," she said. "One of the questions they will again be asked tomorrow during the interviews is to publicly state that they do live in that district. We believe we have done our due diligence in determining that, and we want each of them to publicly state that they do in fact live in that district."

Robinson said choosing a new school board member is a job they do not take lightly.

"There is a tremendous sense of public stewardship with this because we are acting on behalf of the citizens who would normally be electing someone to represent them," she said.

"In the short time we got to this decision, I can honestly say for myself, having looked at everybody, that I am confident in the five who are here," said council president Devyn Keith who was also on the review committee.

Council member Will Culver expressed displeasure in the process Thursday because he said he believed a candidate who was qualified had been passed over as a finalist. He did not want to make that name public.

"I am just going to go ahead and say it now. I am totally dissatisfied with the outcome of the process," he said.

"Everybody is not going to be happy," Keith replied. "This is a very tough decision."

(A previous version of this story included the name Angela Curry in the list of finalists. That name was mistakenly released by the City of Huntsville and has been removed from this story.)

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.