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Board begins groundwork

By By MICHELE GERLACH – Publisher
Members of the Escambia County Board of Education will move forward with their process for hiring a new superintendent of education in a special called meeting set for 4:30 p.m. next Tuesday, Jan. 31.
Superintendent Melvin &#8220Buck” Powell announced his retirement plans earlier this month.
The board held a workshop meeting yesterday in which attorney Broox Garrett outlined the process used in the last superintendent's search and provided guidelines for the current search. State law prohibits governing bodies from making decisions in workshops.
Garrett said the board has several options, including limiting its application process to local candidates, trying to stay within Alabama, and doing an expanded search to include the southeastern region.
The board could legally appoint a new superintendent without conducting a search or interviews, he said.
Because board members agreed to a statewide search in their Jan. 12 meeting, Garrett said he recommended hiring a consulting group based in Guntersville to assist with the hiring process. The consultants are former superintendents, he said, and have assisted with many similar searches. Garrett said that in the last search, applicants submitted their applications to his office and the consultants screened them to determine that they met the minimum qualifications for the job and authenticated information in the applications.
Board members questioned the need for hiring the consultants.
Board member Chuck Brooks said he wants to be hands-on in the process.
Chairman Mike Goosby and board member Richard Hawthorne said they would like to see how many people apply before hiring the consultants.
Garrett will contact the consultants to determine their availability and fee structure.
Meanwhile, Garrett and Powell will work together to place a vacancy announcement on the web sites of educational organizations in the state. Applicants will then contact Garrett's office for application information.