McCalman: Board should ask tough questions

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 20, 2010

David McCalman believes the Andalusia City School system needs board members who have a vested interest in the system and who are not afraid to ask tough questions and confront tough issues.

“I believe this a crucial time for our schools and that we need strong leadership in order for the children in the Andalusia City School System to be successful,” he said.

And the most important issue the system’s leaders must address in the immediate future is management of the existing funding, he said.

“Obviously we are experiencing a difficult time across the economy, and school systems in particular have found themselves in a challenging position,” McCalman said. “The school board must work in conjunction with the superintendent and principals to be sure that we are being good stewards of the public’s money.  We need to be creative and judicious in how we approach every decision that has a monetary cost.

“Simply going about business because that is how it has been done in the past is not acceptable,” he said.

“Every financial stone must not just be turned over, but lifted and examined from every angle.  I learned many years ago that bemoaning the situation never helps, but rolling up one’s sleeves, getting to work, and finding answers always does.”

It’s also important that everyone in the system work together, he said.

“I have the impression that over the last few years we may not have had everyone pulling in the same direction,” McCalman said. “We can disagree and debate an issue, but once a decision is made, everyone – superintendent, principals, teachers, parents, and students – need to all get behind the decision and work hard.”

An organization that is not unified is weak, he said.

“We are fortunate to have Ted Watson as our interim superintendent, but he cannot do it alone,” McCalman said.

“This board must come to the table with questions, new ideas, and a commitment to working together with the community and administration for the betterment of our children. I believe this can be accomplished with better communication and through building relationships.

“Finally, I would say that our teachers—the front line—must be supported, particularly in the area of classroom management,” he said. “The board needs to implement policies that help teachers control their classes instead of making it harder for them to focus on their primary tasks: educating our children. I believe it is very important for the board to receive the input of teachers about what they need to be successful.”

McCalman, a physician, has practiced medicine in Andalusia since 1995.

He earned his undergraduate degree at Auburn before graduating from the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UAB) in 1991.

He and his wife, Stacie, have three children, Michael (14), Elizabeth (12), and Hannah (12).

They are members of the First Baptist Church of Andalusia where Dr. McCalman is a deacon and a youth Sunday school teacher.

He volunteered as an Andalusia City League youth sports coach for eight years and currently is active in the Andalusia Booster Club, Andalusia Quarterback Club and Andalusia Diamond Club.