Piedmont’s top educator is one of five finalists for the same job in Huntsville, education officials announced Thursday.
The Huntsville Board of Education revealed Piedmont Superintendent Matt Akin was one of the finalists for superintendency of its school system during a Thursday meeting. The board is set to interview the five candidates in separate meetings this month and possibly hire one Jan. 30.
Attempts to reach Akin for comment Friday were unsuccessful.
Bruce Adderhold, president of the Piedmont Board of Education, declined to comment Friday about Akin.
“I don’t have any comment at this time,” Adderhold said.
According to the Huntsville school board’s website, the board in October enlisted the services of the Alabama Association of School Boards to help find a new superintendent. The association conducted a nationwide search and presented its top five recommendations to the board Thursday.
The other four finalists include Angela Perera of Humble, Texas, Verna Ruffin of Jackson, Tenn., Sandra Spivey of Scottsboro and Robyn Thompson of Clinton Township, Mich.
Akin became Piedmont superintendent in 2003. Before that, he was principal at Piedmont High School. Earlier, he worked as coordinator of administrative services for the Piedmont school system.
“Matt’s a wonderful person and certainly the school system has moved up the ladder under his leadership,” Mayor Bill Baker said.
The Piedmont school system has undergone many changes and improvements under Akin’s tenure as superintendent, most notably upgrades in technology. Starting in 2009, the system became the first in the state to adopt a “one-to-one” initiative to provide every student with a laptop. In 2010, the system acquired grant money to establish a citywide wireless network so all students would have internet access at home and school. By 2014, every student in Piedmont had either a laptop or iPad tablet computer to use at school or at home.
In February the Piedmont school system received national recognition as one of several school districts mentioned in a White House press release that detailed President Barack Obama’s Computer Science for All Initiative. Piedmont was given credit for its graduation requirement, set to start next school year, that all high school students take a computer science course.
“He has put Piedmont on the map nationwide,” Baker said. “I wish him the best of luck if he pursues this latest endeavor and think it’ll be Piedmont’s loss and Huntsville’s gain.”
Calhoun County Schools Superintendent Joe Dyar said he’s known Akin for nearly 20 years and thinks he’s the most qualified person to take over as superintendent in Huntsville.
“He’s innovative, he’s a great visionary and he sees the big picture,” Dyar said. “He has great communication skills and can collaborate well.”
Anniston schools Superintendent Darren Douthitt said Akin has plenty of experience to take any superintendent job and has asked his advice on technology initiatives.
“From what I’ve read, Huntsville is looking for someone to take them into the digital age, so it makes sense they’re looking at him because of what he’s done in Piedmont that has received national attention,” Douthitt said.
Staff Writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.