Resident questions OHS principal hire

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Opp resident raised questions at the Opp Board of Education meeting on Tuesday about the board’s recent hiring of a principal at Opp High School.

At a May 2 board meeting, the board approved the hiring of current Northview High School of Dothan principal Ron Snell as the new OHS principal in a 4-1 vote. In the vote, William Hines voted against the measure after a lengthy executive session.

In March, the Dothan City School board voted 5-0 to non-renew Snell’s employment.

DCS superintendent Tim Wilder’s recommendation to non-renew Snell listed poor management in daily operations of the school and lack of communication with students and stakeholders as reason.

“I come here today concerning the hiring of a principal at Opp High School,” said Bill Edwards. “Mr. Hines, I hope this does not disrespect you since I didn’t come to you first, but I want to know how you go about hiring the new principal?”

Opp City Schools Superintendent Michael Smithart told Edwards that the board follows local, state and federal policy in advertising for candidates. Then, they review resumes and determine who to interview.

Edwards wanted to know how many people were interviewed.

“We interviewed a significant number of people to determine that we made the right choice from our applicant pool,” Smithart said.

“I go to a lot of City Council meetings, and I know that this isn’t the city council, but everyone is always saying spend money in Opp,” he said. “Why not hire someone from Opp. I would think you would be concerned about hiring someone from Opp, so the money would stay here.”

Smithart said he thinks there are two ways to look at the situation.

“We hire folks who we feel are in the best interest of our students,” he said. “When we hire someone, we also hope that they will move to the city.”

Edwards wanted to know if school officials checked the backgrounds of the applicants.

“Yes,” Smithart said.

Edwards said he may have more questions in the future for the board.

“I’d be happy to address any of your concerns,” Smithart said.

“I’d prefer to address the board,” Edwards said.