Friday night marks final BOE interview; decision expected on June 30

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 25, 2005

The board of education wrapped up the interviews Friday night with the visit by the fifth candidate, Rita F. Wright, for the vacant Butler County school system superintendent's position.

After a two-week hiatus following the interview of the first candidate, Michael Looney, the board met again last Friday to interview Kenneth Howard Bynum, who currently serves as administrative assistant to the superintendent of the Troy City School System.

Bynum is a Dothan native, but now resides in Troy.

"I would like to extend my thanks to Mr. Wayne Boswell and the board for being such gracious hosts today," Bynum said.

As with Looney, Bynum began the interview with a power-point presentation on how he would be a successful school superintendent.

"My idea is for a 'S.A.F.E.' plan," he said.

"'S.A.F.E.' is an acronym that begins with a 'student-centered environment.' Next, we have to be 'accountable' for our actions.

We must also have a 'faculty' that must be supported, and, finally, we must be 'efficient' in order to be successful."

Bynum explained it is the role of the superintendent to make a bridge among all four facets of the school system; this means from the students and their parents, to the faculty and staff, to the school board members, all the way to the superintendent.

"The superintendent's responsibility is to be an advocate for the schools, to have a plan for success, to be able to assess what is needed in the school system, to employ good people and be able to manage them, and to be able to communicate effectively," he said.

"Plus, he or she must be able to manage the budget."

"We want to be able to have all seven schools on the same page; the students should be ready for the next step in life, and we want to be able to celebrate that our students are qualified to enter society successfully and that they are able to reach their goals in life," he said.

One thing that Bynum said throughout the interview was the importance of "finding the pulse of the community."

He emphasized that the school is an extension of the community.

Bynum felt that it was very important to bridge the gap between home and the school.

"With communication, you earn parents' trust," he said.

"It is very important for the superintendent to know everyone and to be visible."

Bynum explained that he would use data in order to make informed decisions about teacher hires, certain classes that could be offered, such as Advanced Placement classes, and textbook adoptions, for example.

"Our accountability standards ultimately must coincide with the Alabama State Course of Study and the No Child Left Behind Act," Bynum said in conclusion.

In a frosty boardroom Monday night,

the school board interviewed its third candidate, Dr. Christopher R. Quinn.

Quinn currently serves as the executive assistant to the superintendent of the Dublin City School System in Georgia.

He has served in seven different school systems in Georgia as well as Buffalo, New York.

Quinn began his presentation emphasizing,

"All schools can be successful with all children," he said. "My job as superintendent is to make other people stars, to make them shine."

His power-point presentation stressed several different characteristics that he believes would make a successful school system.

"We first must have a safe and orderly environment," he said.

"Next, there must be a climate of high expectations of success.

Believe it or not, we can control the drop-out and failure rates."

This led him to his third point.

"Instructional leadership is an absolute must. We must be able to build curriculum coherence; everyone on a particular grade level should be teaching the same thing according to the performance standards of the Alabama Course of Study," he said. "There would be frequent monitoring of student progress.

I would require the teachers to meet regularly in collegial-sharing groups and review the performance data, then develop their instruction based on the goals that need to be reached."

"The school system must have a clear and focused mission, which, again, must be put into place by a data-driven school improvement plan," Quinn said.

He emphasized his commitment to building high-performance schools.

"Our students should be able to think, collaborate, elaborate, and articulate," he said. "They should be problem-solvers who will become successful and productive members of society once they leave our school system.

Mediocrity will not be accepted, and I will lead by example."

Quinn concluded his interview affirming that if the students are successful, then the school system will have its proof to present to the parents and the public.

"I'm chomping at the bits to get started," he said.

The board interviewed its fourth candidate, Paul E. Tate Jr., on Wednesday and the final candidate on Friday.

The Advocate will publish its interview results in the Wednesday edition.