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Superintendent to retire

By By MICHELE GERLACH – Publisher
The Escambia County Board of Education Thursday accepted the retirement resignation of Superintendent of Education Melvin F. &#8220Buck” Powell, effective July 1, and adopted a timetable for hiring his replacement.
Powell, whose education career has spanned more than 40 years, told the board &#8220I've been listening to school bells ringing and looking at yellow school buses since I entered Mrs. Currie's first grade class in 1948.”
Powell recommended that the board look within the county to hire a new superintendent.
Several board members said they would be comfortable with that, but board member Danny Benjamin recommended the board look &#8220at least statewide.
Board member W. J. Grissett echoed Benjamin's position and board member Donnie Crutchfield agreed.
Board member Chuck Brooks said he would like to see the board hire &#8220someone familiar with the system, who knows where we've been and where we want to go.”
Board member Cereal Daniel said, &#8220I have no problem with going state wide, but definitely not nationwide. We need someone who's familiar with the system and our lifestyle in the South.”
Legally, board chairman Mike Goolsby said, the board could appoint a superintendent without an interview process.
Board members asked Powell to work with attorney Broox Garrett to work on a job description and application. When that has been done, a special meeting or a work session will be called to give board members a chance to review it.
Powell expressed appreciation to board members for their trust and support.
In four of Powell's six years at the helm of the school system, the state's education budget was prorated. That prevented him from doing some of the things he wanted to do for the system, he said. He also expressed his appreciation to the people of Escambia County for approving a 10-mil ad valorem tax for education.
Powell began his teaching career at Lyeffion in Conecuh County and was an assistant coach in Greenville for a year before moving to Century, where he led the football team to state two times in six years. He moved from Century to Escambia County High School where he won the state championship in 1983.
Later, he went into administration and was the assistant principal at ECHS, then the principal at Rachel Patterson. He was named superintendent in 2000.
In other business, the board:
Awarded a bid for expansion of Turtle Point Science Center to Hines Construction of Brewton. Turtle Point director Shirley West said the project will add a business office and three new exhibits, including wetlands, forestry and Alabama fossils.