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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – As Huntsville City Schools board members continue the search for superintendent, they interviewed five finalists for the job.

WHNT News 19 also interviewed the candidates. We spoke with them each before they went into the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce to meet with members of the community.

Board President Elisa Ferrell said the search process went well through the interview portion.

“I’m glad so many people were able to attend the meetings,” said Ferrell. “I’m hoping a lot of people will give us feedback. I’m glad the candidates had a chance to tour our schools, meet our administrators, meet our teachers and our students. I think that’s all a vital part of the process.”

WHNT News 19 has a special section dedicated to the Huntsville Superintendent Search:


Dr. Katrise Perera was most recently employed by McGraw Hill Education as the National Director of Urban Markets.  She has previously worked as a superintendent, principal, assistant principal and teacher in Virginia and Texas.  Watch WHNT’s report on Dr. Perera.

Matthew Akin

Dr. Matthew Akin is currently Superintendent of Piedmont City Schools in Piedmont, Alabama. He has also served as a principal and coordinator of administrative services for Piedmont City Schools.  Watch WHNT’s report on Dr. Akin.

Robyne Thompson

Dr. Robyne Thompson is currently Superintendent of East Lansing Public Schools in East Lansing, Michigan.  She hast past experience as a principal and assistant principal in Michigan. Watch WHNT’s report on Dr. Thompson.

Sandra Spivey

Dr. Sandra Spivey is currently Superintendent of Scottsboro City Schools.  She has past experience in the administration of Madison County Schools as well as service as a principal, assistant principal and teacher in Hoover and Alexander City. Watch WHNT’s report on Dr. Spivey.

Verna Ruffin

Dr. Verna Ruffin is currently Superintendent of Jackson-Madison County Schools in Tennessee. She has also worked as a principal and assistant principal in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. Watch WHNT’s report on Dr. Ruffin.

Additionally, Huntsville City Schools has posted the full interviews with each candidate.

What’s Next? Your feedback wanted

Board members tell us they have until March 15 to have someone in place as superintendent. That’s 180 days from former superintendent Casey Wardynski’s resignation.

Ferrell said community members’ feedback is very important to board members as they take the next steps in deciding who should be the next superintendent.

“I’m hoping a lot of people will give us feedback.” – Huntsville School Board President Elisa Ferrell

You can contact a board member, or leave your feedback through this online form if you live in Huntsville. Employees and staff members who want to remain anonymous can check their emails for a link to a SharePoint feedback form. Ferrell said this allows employees to make comments without their names associated with the opinions.

“We have a meeting scheduled for January 30, a week from today,” she said Monday. “We will be sharing all the survey results with all of the board members, along with phone calls and emails we’ve received.”

That January 30 meeting is when the board will tentatively vote on a superintendent pick.

That pick needs to come soon. The board will have to then make the offer, and give the candidate time to notify their current employer and move to Huntsville. That means there isn’t much time left. They would like to have someone in Huntsville by March 1.

Ferrell said she does not have an idea of how the board’s discussions will go, or who they are each leaning toward. But she does hope that they can make a decision together, in a timely manner.

“I hope that we will be able to come to a consensus on the right person for our system,” she said.