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Photo courtesy of Jason Gaston.
Dr. Paul "Vic" Wilson
Dr. Paul "Vic" Wilson
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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.
Dr. Paul “Vic” Wilson, who lived in Hoover's Bluff Park community for 16 years, says he knows how great city schools are as a parent. Now he wants to take city schools to even higher heights as its leader.
Thursday, April 23, Wilson, one of four finalists seeking to become the next superintendent of Hoover City Schools, got the chance to make his pitch on why he deserves the job during an interview at the Hoover Board of Education building,
Asked why he wants to leave his current job as superintendent of Hartselle City Schools and become Hoover’s school chief, Wilson said he and his wife know firsthand from raising their children here, prior to moving to Hartselle, about the city’s great education system and quality of life.
“I want to come back here in large part because I know what a great place Hoover is to live in,” Wilson said. “I’ve been a part of it as a parent and want to come back to Hoover (school system) as its leader.”
You can watch Wilson’s full interview via live-streaming at the following link: nfhsnetwork.com/events/hoover-high-school-hoover-al/cfe50672e1
Wilson said Hartselle, located near Decatur and Huntsville in north Alabama, is similar to Hoover in that its education system draws in parents seeking a better education for their children. Of Hartselle’s 3,050 students, about 550 of them live outside the city, but have parents who pay a tuition in order to get their kids enrolled in Hartselle schools, he said.
Hoover school board members asked Wilson if he has any concerns in possibly moving from a Hartselle school system of six schools and 3,000 students to a Hoover system that has 17 schools and 14,000 students. Wilson said he is up to the challenge.
“I don’t have any concerns. I know every nook and cranny of Hoover as I lived here 16 years,” he said.
Wilson said his strength is in building relationships, both with city leaders and business leaders, something he would continue as Hoover’s school superintendent. “I’m a people person,” he said.
Asked to identify three major challenges in Hoover schools he would like to address, Wilson said public relations, building positive relationships with government leaders and handling a dwindling budget as state government continues to cut back on funding for public education.
“The biggest issue, not just in Hoover, is in PR,” Wilson said.”Some people just don’t trust us in education because all you hear is negative news. We’ve got to flip the story. I’m sending out press releases in Hartselle left and right. I’m going to make sure good news gets out. I’ll even tweet it out to make sure people know it.”
Just as Hoover’s school system is gaining a reputation for its career academies that prepare students for college and professional careers, Wilson said Hartselle is doing the same through career academies in health care, other business professions and welding.
“We’ve got to demand excellence and not accept mediocrity,” Wilson said.
The Hoover school board has already interviewed two other finalists this week, Dr. Chris J. Marczak, assistant superintendent of Oak Ridge City Schools in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Dr. Charles Ledbetter, superintendent of Dublin City Schools in Dublin, Ga.. An archived link to their interviews is on the Hoover City Schools website, hoovercityschools.net/.
The fourth and final candidate, Dr. Kathy Murphy, superintendent of Monroe County (Ala.) schools, will be interviewed on Monday, April 27. A fifth finalist, Dr. John D. Barge, former Georgia State Superintendent of Schools, called Hoover Board President Donna Frazier last week to withdraw from consideration after accepting another position in Georgia.
The national search for a replacement for former superintendent Andy Craig, who resigned in December to take a job with the Alabama Department of Education, was conducted by the Alabama Association of School Boards. You can watch Dr. Murphy’s interview live Monday, April 27 at nfhsnetwork.com/events/hoover-high-school-hoover-al/c2537eaaa1
All interviews are open to the public and will be live-streamed/archived at the same URL to the Hoover City Schools’ website, hoovercityschools.net/. Each interview will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the board room at the school system central office, 2810 Metropolitan Way in Hoover. A small reception follows each finalists’ interview at 7:30 p.m.
Each of the four finalists will be asked the same set of 15 questions. 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.
Here is background on Wilson:
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.
Here is a link to previous coverage of the four superintendent finalists: hooversun.com/news/hoover-school-board-to-interview422/