Huntsville City Council chooses new school board member to fill open seat

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Huntsville City Council voted unanimously Thursday to elect Carlos Mathews as the new District 5 representative on the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education.

This comes after Pam Hill’s resignation, which took effect on May 24. Hill said during her resignation speech at a board meeting that she had been ill for some time and wanted to shift her priority to her grandchildren and family.

Since then, the Huntsville board of education has been waiting to learn who will serve her district on the west side of the city through the remainder of her term.

The law dictated that the city council would make the appointment. After an application period, Top 5 finalist decision made by committee, and interviews, the council considered the following candidates:

  • Carlos Mathews
  • Zara Broadenax
  • Angie Sandritter
  • JoAnn Perez
  • Chaundra Jones

Council members said they’ve been vetted, with a special emphasis on confirming that each truly lives in District 5.

The city council heard some remarks from Jennie Robinson and Devyn Keith, the council members who also served on the application review committee, and then took nominations before voting this evening. There was no discussion at all after Kling nominated Mathews and the vote took place.

Mathews told WHNT News 19 he is ready for the role.

“I’m pretty excited. I’m looking forward to working with the board and the school system to try to make things better,” he said.

His priorities include making sure the district’s federal desegregation case moves forward toward unitary status, improving students’ reading skills, and financial growth. Mathews referenced the school system’s work on its budgets since the discovery of a $5.5 million accounting error last year.

“I want to make sure we have processes and procedures in place to ensure these type of things never happen again,” he said.

The decision is a relief for school board president, Beth Wilder.

“The folks of District 5 have a representative,” she stated. Later, she added, “I’m very happy for Mr. Mathews to be a part of the board. He has been a longtime advocate for our school system. He is a very calm and reasonable minded individual. He is a very calm and reasonable minded individual.”

Wilder said they will work Friday to coordinate scheduled and see when would be a good date for him to be sworn in, since he can not vote on the board until that happens. She was confident they could get it done before the next board meeting in July.

Mathews said he will be able to work with the board members who are now his colleagues.

“I’ve worked with pretty much every board member that’s on there now for different issues, so I think it’s time for us to work together as a board,” he said.

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