Board votes 5-0 to offer position to Montgomery assistant superintendent

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 2, 2005

After three weeks of intensive interviews and months of whittling down applicants, the Butler County Board of Education chose the system's new leader. The choice of all board members was Montgomery Public Schools' Assistant Superintendent Michael Looney.

After the meeting, BOE President Linda Cook-Hamilton expressed her pleasure with the decision.

"We are very pleased and excited with this decision," she said.

"We are extremely impressed with Mr. Looney's understanding of Butler County's need to be a data-driven system in order to align our resources with our curriculum.

He believes that all children can learn, and that is very important to us.

We believe that he will set goals and objectives that will have a positive impact for our school system and that will move us forward.

He wants to involve the parents and the community in the education process, which is vital to a successful system.

I believe that he will be a great asset to our parents, our community and especially to our students.

With this unanimous vote, we want to extend to Mr. Looney the opportunity for him to be the next educational leader of the Butler County schools."

She explained they would begin to enter into contract negotiations with Looney, and they hope to have him on board possibly within the next three weeks.

On Friday afternoon, Looney said he was excited about the opportunity and praised the board for its search procedures.

"I want to thank the Board of Education for the thoroughness of the application process," he said via telephone.

"Upon my visit, I was highly impressed with everyone, and with the high caliber of the teachers and administrators whom I met.

I hope to add to the great things that are already here, and I look forward to forming positive working relationships with everyone."

News spread throughout the area that a new superintendent might be named Thursday night, and a large crowd greeted the board when the called meeting was gaveled into session.

Before beginning the meeting, Interim Superintendent Wayne Boswell asked for a moment of silence for Mr. Samuel McKee, bus driver in the transportation department, who recently passed away.

The board began its called meeting with board member Billy Jones giving his calculations for superintendent recommendations.

At this, board member Joe Lisenby said, "This is an inaccurate way to do this.

There are many more variables that should be considered when it comes to the selection of a person, other than just using a numerical score."

Hamilton told Lisenby the floor was open to have a more detailed discussion if it was needed. Lisenby suggested the board go into executive session in order to discuss the character and good names of each of the candidates.

When consulted about the legality of the situation, school board attorney Lewis S. "Pete" Hamilton asked, "Is it a character issue?"

"I think it is important when considering the overall qualification of doing the job we have in mind for our school system," Lisenby said.

Attorney Hamilton explained that a good name and character would be difficult to define.

With that, President Hamilton determined that the board would go into executive session in order to discuss the "good name and character only" of the superintendent candidates.

At 8:52 p.m., approximately an hour later, the board returned with a unanimous decision to hire Looney as the new superintendent.

With this motion, the board was adjourned.

Since the departure of Dr. Mike Reed, who left before the end of the school year to take a position in Hartselle, Wayne Boswell has served as interim superintendent.

Dr. Kathy Murphy, principal of Greenville High School, offered praise for Boswell's months of work as the system's leader.

"I would personally like to thank Wayne Boswell for the wonderful job he has done as interim superintendent these past few months," Murphy said. "I appreciate his willingness to listen to others, his visibility in our schools, and the fact that he does his homework when it comes to his job.

Not long ago, he came for lunch at Greenville High, and that meant a lot to me and to our whole school.

I want to thank him for a job well done."

Prior to the discussion and executive session, the board handled other personnel matters.

They included:

n Approval of the following people for employment:

Joseph Dean, assistant principal, and Kimberly Woods, English teacher at Greenville High School; Jennifer Burt, assistant principal, Joshua McLendon, social studies teacher, and Daron Thompson, custodian, at Greenville Middle School; Jeffrey Ray, elementary teacher at R.L. Austin Elementary School; Vicki Whittington, elementary teacher, Renee Mullins, special education services aide at W.O. Parmer Elementary School; Claire Jones, principal at Greenville Elementary School; and Vanessa Dukes, English teacher at Georgiana High School.

Leander Pickens was re-employed as a physical education teacher at Greenville Middle School.

n Approval of the following voluntary transfers:

Janice Daves to transfer from guidance counselor at Georgiana High School to assistant principal at Georgiana High School; Kindra Timmons Dunn to transfer from W.O. Parmer Elementary teacher to library media specialist at Georgiana High School; Susan "Cissi" Jones to transfer from science teacher at Greenville Middle School to elementary teacher at W.O. Parmer; Kent McNaughton to transfer from guidance counselor at Greenville Middle School to assistant principal at Greenville Middle School; Michelle Myrick to transfer from physical education teacher at Greenville Middle School to guidance counselor at Greenville Middle School; Linda Perdue to transfer from

child nutrition program worker at W.O. Parmer to child nutrition program manager at Greenville High School.

n The following resignations were accepted by the board:

Leslie Pritchett, elementary teacher at W.O. Parmer; Rebekah Williamson, science teacher at Greenville High School; and Ray Wilson, athletic director/head football coach at Georgiana High School.

As for Looney's employment, one parent in the Montgomery School System said Friday she is sad to see him go. Her son attends Sidney Lanier High School.

"I've had to go to the schools several times, and it is not uncommon to see him all over the system," Dorris Nunnelly said.

"I had really hoped he would be the superintendent here in Montgomery, but, as you know, we didn't get that.

By all rights, he should be superintendent of the Montgomery system.

I have to say congratulations to the people of Butler County, because their gain is our loss, and it will be felt here very quickly and harshly."