Taking the lead

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, August 23, 2006

By By LYDIA GRIMES-Features writer
As a longtime educator, Billy Hines is accustomed to leading students with a gentle hand.
And the hobby the new Escambia County Schools superintendent shares with his wife offers a similar opportunity.
Billy and wife Judy Hines raise miniature horses on their property on Old Highway 31.
For Hines, the hobby is a chance to relax after work.
Not that he doesn't enjoy his job.
Hines has been the assistant superintendent for the last three years, and it was only fitting that he move up the ladder when Melvin &#8220Buck” Powell retired.
The superintendent's job is a varied one, and Hines wears many hats getting everything done.
The Escambia County School System superintendent's office is in charge of 11 attended schools plus Turtle Point in Flomaton, the alternative school and Escambia Brewton Area Vocational Center.
Hines was born in Brewton but lived all of his life in the Flomaton area, except for a few years. He attended school in Flomaton and graduated from Flomaton High School in 1975. He comes from a family of one brother and two sisters. His father taught agriculture (ag) at Flomaton and then became the principal and then the director at the Escambia Brewton Vocational Center.
His mother was also an educator. She taught in a private kindergarten that she had at their home.
He played sports in school and was on the Flomaton baseball state championship team of 1973.
At the age of 16 he went to work at Bondurant Lumber and worked there all the way through college.
He attended Jefferson Davis Junior College (now Jefferson Davis Community College) for two years and then transferred to Auburn University. He received his degree in agriculture science.
After graduation, Hines got his first teaching job in Wetumpka, but he also continued his education at Auburn and received his master's degree. After ten years of living and working in Wetumpka, he received an opportunity to come back to Escambia County. In 1989 he got a job at W.S. Neal teaching ag. It was during this time that he decided he might just want to go into administration and went back to school to receive in that department at the University of South Alabama.
He later he moved to the Escambia Brewton Vocational School as the principal and four years later became the director of the center. He was responsible for appointing Jane Henderson (who is now the director there). He was also in charge of the transportation facilities of all the county schools.
Three years ago he was appointed assistant superintendent for the Escambia County School System and just this past June became the superintendent.
In 1980 Hines married an Escambia County girl he met his last quarter at Auburn.
Judy Gorum grew up at Huxford. Her father was the principal at Huxford for 33 years.
Judy Hines has also followed the teaching tradition in her family. After she graduated from college she came to W.S. Neal to teach kindergarten. The next year they were married and she moved to Wetumpka and taught first grade.
Their first child, Rachel, was born in 1984 and is now in pharmacy school at Auburn.
Their other child, Will, was born in 1990 and is a junior at Flomaton High School.
Hines likes to hunt when he is not at the office in Brewton. He also has a collection of school buses that he keeps there.
But their &#8220small” hobby of raising miniature horses may be their biggest hobby.
They have 21 horses with the tallest one being 34 inches high. The babies are about 15 inches tall and can be held in a person's hand.
Hines says they are an attraction to people who pass by, and it is not unusual to have them stop and pet the horses.

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