The Talladega City Board of Education voted 3-2 Tuesday night to appoint a 15-year veteran as the new principal at Salter Elementary School.
Board members Sandra Beavers and Allison Edwards cast the dissenting votes.
According to Superintendent Tony Ball, Nicole Korreckt has spent her entire career with the city board at Salter, where she has been the media specialist for the past eight years. She served as principal designee before her predecessor, Phillip Jenkins, was hired, and continued to act as principal when Jenkins had to be off campus. She also led the AdvancED accreditation process and is a long-time member of the school leadership team. Ball said her salary will be negotiated, but that her promotion will be effective July 1.
Jenkins announced he was leaving to take a position in another school system last month. Ball told Beavers that Korreckt and the other candidates for the position were interviewed by a panel consisting of himself and two central office directors. Jenkins was not a part of the panel, Ball said.
“I have said this two or three times before,” Beavers said, before reading a prepared statement into the record. “I think the board should create a structural process to follow for interviews. I’m concerned about an interview panel which lacks diversity. The lack of diversity hinders perspective and creativity, and allows hiring based on shared biases. I also think the board should review the demographic of students to teachers in our system because we aren’t reviewing the numbers. Until this is examined and possibly changed, dissension and progress will continue to lag and sadly our children will suffer.”
Board chairman James Braswell said he had “looked long and hard at waiting for a new superintendent before we appointed a new principal, but since we probably won’t have a new superintendent on board until July at the earliest, I think that would be doing a disservice to the students. The current principal’s last day is next week.”
“I’m concerned about the process,” Beavers said. “The panel lacks the diversity that makes up the system. That’s bias right there. We need a structural process for interviews. When no one on the panel looks like me, I have a problem.”
Ball said that the involvement of the two central office directors in the interview process itself was unusual.
“Mostly, these things are handled by the superintendent alone, but there are 100 different ways to handle it,” he said.
“So there is no set process in place,” Edwards asked.
“As I understand your question, no,” Ball said.
Other board business:
—Hired Jessica Hambliss (third grade teacher at R.L. Young), Makayla Hall (kindergarten at Houston), Tiffany Hopper (fourth grade teacher at R.L. Young) and Lennis Waites (special education at Young and Salter).
—Hired Jennifer Burnett, Joshua Steward and Ryan Stringfellow as school nurses for the summer school program.