Roy L. Williams
Hoover school board
Hoover school board president Donna Frazier, left, discusses the interview process for the five finalists for the Hoover City Schools superintendent.
Three of the five finalists vying to be Hoover City Schools Superintendent have Alabama ties.
Three of the five finalists received their education doctorates from Alabama colleges and have been principals in state schools.
Another finalist served as superintendent of Georgia’s public schools for four years before opting not to seek re-election last year as he made a failed bid against the state’s sitting Republican governor. And the fifth is an assistant superintendent in Oak Ridge, Tenn. city schools who has received accolades during his 16 years in the classroom and administrative leadership positions in Tennessee public schools.
It adds up to a tough choice for the Hoover Board of Education, which for the first time on April 14 received the names of the finalists selected by the Alabama Association of School Boards, which conducted a nationwide search as Hoover city schools seeks a replacement for Andy Craig, who resigned late last year to take a job with the Alabama Board of Education.
The Hoover school board will begin conducting interviews with the five finalists next week. The schedule is tentatively set as follows: Monday, April 20, Tuesday, April 21, Wednesday, April 22, Thursday, April 23 and Monday, April 27. Interviews each day will take place at 5:30 p.m. followed by a 7:30 p.m. reception in which school employees and the public can meet the finalists.
Officials have not yet decided where the interviews will take place, board president Donna Frazier said. Each of the five finalists will be asked the same set of 15 questions, and will answer them in a public forum. Videos of the candidates question and answer sessions will be posted on the Hoover City Schools website that evening after each interview.
After completing the interviews, Hoover school board members plan to between May 1 and May 22 check references, make site visits and negotiate a contract with their top choice. Frazier said the board has set a goal of the new superintendent starting by the time the 2014-15 school year ends in late May.
Dr. Kendy Behrends, a consultant for the Alabama Association of School Boards, said 39 applicants from 15 states including Alabama expressed interest in the Hoover superintendent job, and 31 completed the application process. Alabama’s law requiring that school superintendent searches be made public made it difficult as some candidates were hesitant to have their names released, due to concerns about impact it would have on their current jobs, she said.
But Hoover’s stellar academic reputation enabled the school system to receive several top quality candidates, Behrends said.
The five finalists are: Dr. John D. Barge, the former Georgia State Superintendent of Schools; Dr. Charles L. Ledbetter, superintendent of Dublin City Schools in Georgia; Dr. Chris Marczak, assistant superintendent of Oak Ridge City Schools in Tennessee; Dr. Kathy Murphy, superintendent of the Monroe County Board of Education in Monroeville, Ala., and Dr. Paul "Vic" Wilson, superintendent of Hartselle City Schools in Hartselle, Ala.
Here is background on the five finalists for superintendent of Hoover City Schools:
Dr. Paul “Vic” Wilson
Current Position: Superintendent, Hartselle City Schools, Alabama
- Education Doctorate, Samford University, Educational Leadership
- Education Specialist, University of Montevallo, Educational Leadership
- Master's, Samford University, Educational Administration
- Bachelor's, University of Alabama, English and History Education
Years in Education: 1995-present
About the candidate: Wilson has the strongest ties to the Hoover area, having spent 18 of his 20 years involved in education in Shelby and Jefferson counties. He has a bachelor’s in English and history education from the University of Alabama, a master’s in educational administration from Samford University and an education doctorate from Samford.
Wilson began his career in 1995 as a teacher in Shelby County schools, then spent four years as a teacher in Homewood City Schools before being promoted to assistant principal in the Homewood school system from 1999 to 2002. He was assistant principal at Mountain Brook High School from 2002 to 2006, then became principal at Homewood High from 2006 to 2008.
Wilson worked as principal at Mountain Brook High School from 2008 until 2013. He has led the 3,050-student Hartselle City Schools as superintendent since July 2013.
Dr. Kathy L. Murphy
Current position: Superintendent, Monroe County Board of Education, Alabama
- Doctorate, Auburn University, Physical Education, Program Administration
- Education Specialist, Auburn University Montgomery, Education Leadership
- Master's, Auburn University Montgomery, Educational Leadership
- Bachelor's, Troy University, Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance
Years in education: 1984-present
About the candidate: Murphy has the most experience of the five finalists, beginning her career as a physical education teacher at Auburn Junior High School in 1984. Other than a five-year stint as an assistant professor at West Georgia College from 1988 to 1993, she has spent her entire professional career in Alabama.
Murphy has served as superintendent of Monroe County schools, which has 3,650 students, in southwest Alabama since 2011. She was appointed to her superintendent’s position after serving as principal of Charles Henderson High School in the Troy city school system in 2010.
From 1993 through 2010, Murphy served in several administrative leadership roles for the Butler County Board of Education, from principal of Greenville Middle and Greenville High schools to three years from 2008 to 2010 as administrative assistant to the superintendent of Butler County schools.
Dr. Charles L. Ledbetter
Current position: Superintendent, Dublin City School, Georgia
- Doctorate of Education, Auburn University, Education Leadership
- Certificate of Completion, University of Alabama, U.A. Superintendents Academy
- Master's of Education, Auburn University Montgomery, Social Studies
- Bachelor's, Auburn University, History
Years in education: 1989-present
About the candidate:
Ledbetter has been superintendent of the 2,700-student Dublin City Schools in Georgia since 2009. Named after Dublin, Ireland, the city had 16,201 residents in the 2010 Census. Dublin is in Laurens County and is in central Georgia between Atlanta and Savannah, Ga.
Prior to his appointment as Dublin City Schools superintendent six years ago, Ledbetter spent two decades as a teacher and administrator in various Alabama schools. He began his career in 1989 as a teacher and coach at Sparta Academy, Alabama, then served as a high school teacher and coach at Tallapoosa County Schools from 1990 to 1993.
He was athletic director/teacher/coach in Walker County High Schools from 1993 to 1995. Before being appointed to his current superintendent’s position in Dublin, Ga., Ledbetter spent 13 years in Tallapoosa County Schools, serving as a teacher/coach, assistant superintendent, middle school principal and high school principal.
Dr. John D. Barge
Most recent position: Georgia State Superintendent of Schools (2011-2014)
- Doctorate of Education, University of Georgia Educational Leadership
- Education Specialist, State University of West Georgia Educational Leadership
- Master's, West Georgia Educational Leadership
- Bachelors, Berry College Communications/Journalism
- Associate's, Holmes Community College, Biological Science
Years in education: 1991-present
About the candidate: Barge is the most high-profile finalist for the Hoover superintendent position. He was elected superintendent of the Georgia Department of Education in 2010, winning as an unknown when the GOP incumbent Kathy Cox resigned weeks before the Republican primary to accept a position with a Washington, D.C. think tank. Upset at what he perceived as incumbent GOP Gov. Nathan Deal’s lack of support of education, Barge decided not to seek re-election as superintendent in 2014 and instead launched an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination against Deal.
When he lost, Barge shocked Republicans by endorsing Democrat Valarie Wilson for Georgia state schools superintendent (she lost). It was the second time in two years Barge bucked his party. In 2012, he spoke out against a charter school amendment that allowed Georgia to approve charter schools over the objections to local school districts and funneled local money to those schools. That charter school amendment was backed by Republican leadership, including Gov. Deal.
This is Barge’s third time since November as a finalist for a top education post. He was a finalist for the education commissioner positions in Kansas and Utah, but didn’t receive either job.
Dr. Chris J. Marczak
Current Position: Assistant Superintendent, Oak Ridge City Schools, Tennessee
- Doctorate, Trevecca Nazarene University, Educational Leadership
- Master's, Trevecca Nazarene University, Leadership and Professional Practice
- Bachelor's, Austin Peay State University, Interdisciplinary Studies
Years in education: 1997-present
About the candidate: Marczak has been assistant superintendent of the 4,800-student Oak Ridge City Schools, located about 25 miles west of Knoxville, since 2013. He has spent his entire 16-year educational career in Tennessee.
Marczak beat out 51 applicants to become assistant superintendent of Oak Ridge City Schools in July 2013. He previously served as network led principal of the Metropolitan Nashville Public School System, overseeing five elementary schools to help them integrate instructional technology and Professional Learning Communities.
Marczak spent eight years as a principal and assistant principal in Nashville public schools and another seven years as an elementary school teacher in Nashville public schools and Wilson County (Ten.) schools.
A Rhode Island native, Marczak has a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at Austin Peay State University, and holds both a master’s and doctorate in educational leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University.