The search for a new superintendent for Coffee County Schools took the next step forward in the form of a stakeholder survey designed to garner citizen input about their expectations in the ideal candidate.
The community survey is the most recent in a search process that began after Coffee County School Superintendent Kevin Killingsworth announced his plan to retire effective Aug. 31 at the April 8 CCBOE meeting.
Named Coffee County Schools Superintendent in 2018, Killingsworth has served 30 years as an educator, working 11 years with Coffee County Schools, 11 years with Enterprise City Schools and eight years at Elba City Schools.
Community members, parents of current or former Coffee County School System students, staff members and students are invited to provide input on the survey that includes ranking the “top six specialized skills you believe the next superintendent must have,” “top six personal characteristics you believe the next superintendent must have” and, “If you could ask candidates one question relative to the future success of the school district, what would that question be?”
The deadline to answer the online survey is at 11 a.m. May 30.
The CCBOE began the search process with a work session April 19 during which CCBOE President Brian McLeod and Coffee County Schools Attorney James Tarbox briefed the board on the process for selection of a new superintendent. At that meeting, McLeod provided each board member with a copy of the superintendent search timeline, process and candidate qualifications that had been used most recently and asked them for feedback about any proposed changes.
He also asked each board member to return to him the top six characteristics from a list of 28 traits that they considered key in an ideal superintendent.
At the work session and voting meeting April 27, the board was told the brochure outlining the positon requirement had been updated to reflect the significant population and financial growth of the schools to include the fact that the system has received a Standard and Poors Global Rating of AA- and have almost five months of Operating Fund balance.
There has been a 10 percent increase in student enrollment within the last three years bringing the K-12 population to 2,448. That figure does not include the 90 Pre-K students.
At the April 19 CCBOE meeting, Tarbox had outlined the legal minimum qualifications for a superintendent and told the board that they could go to the school board attorneys’ offices at Marsh and Cotter to review the applications received but he suggested that they come individually in order to avoid the perception of any violation of the Alabama Open Meetings Act, which guarantees that citizens have open access to public governmental entities.
The interviews of the finalists will be conducted in a public work session or meeting. “In regard to discussion of salary and qualifications and general candidate preferences, that all has to be done in public, in open deliberations,” Tarbox told the board. “All of this will be above board, put in the open and pursuant to the Open Meetings Act and Alabama Public Records requirements,” Tarbox told the board.
The vacancy posting is on the CCBOE website and lists a minimum annual salary of $118,000. The salary is negotiable based on relevant experience. The deadline to apply is May 28 and the selected candidate will transition into the position during August 2021 with employment as superintendent to begin Sept. 1.
The next meeting of the CCBOE is a called board meeting Wednesday, May 26, at noon. The next regular meeting is June 3 at 5:30 p.m. All meetings are in the schools’ central office on Reddoch Hill in Elba. Meetings are open to the public.