After their regular meeting adjourned Tuesday evening, the Talladega City Board of Education conducted the first two interviews for candidates to succeed Tony Ball as superintendent.
There will be three more interviews each on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by a called meeting Friday morning to make a decision.
The interviews are open to the public, but seating is limited.
Two of the original 10 candidates, Monica Henson and Charla DeLeo have dropped out of consideration. Henson accepted a position in Maine, and DeLeo did not give a reason for withdrawing. Each candidate was ostensibly given an hour for their interview, although neither of the candidates Tuesday used all of their allotted time. Each of the board members asked the same slate of questions to each candidate.
Childersburg High School Principal Dr. Quentin Lee and former Twigg County, Ga., Superintendent Elgin Dixon were interviewed Tuesday.
In several of his answers, Lee emphasized his experience with the Talladega County STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program and his plans to implement a coaching program for new teachers.
He also outlined a proposed program called “Dega Nation,” meaning “Determined, Educated, Goodwilled, Accountable — Never Accepting the Image of Normal,” to help reinstill a sense of pride in a system that has long suffered from negative perception.
This program and several others were outlined in a PowerPoint presentation showing some of the priorities he intended to address in his first 90 days, should the board hire him. He also emphasized character education and mentorship programs.
Dixon said he had spent the last day or so driving around, familiarizing himself with Talladega and the surrounding area.
“It reminds me of my hometown, of my school,” he said. “I see the potential, and I know the power of good teachers. I know what they did for me. I want to help bring the system to where it is not losing students anymore, where enrollment is increasing, and get to where that mission statement means what is written. If we work together, we can accomplish that. … I have a wealth of experience, and I would like the opportunity if it is afforded me. You need the experience, and if I can help you, I will. If not, thank you for the opportunity.”
Interviews are set to resume at 5 p.m. Wednesday, with Gloria Boutte, Victoria Reese and Michelle Jones at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Jones is currently in Okinawa, and will be interviewed via Zoom.
Darius Williams, Yolanda McCants and Lee Hicks will be interviewed at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday.
The called meeting to discuss a final decision will be Friday at 9 a.m.