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Sylacauga BOE: Superintendent shows strengths but also has room for improvement

Sylacauga BOE 1 DS.jpg

Sylacauga City Board of Education members are (from left) Amy Price, Dr. Rekha Chadalawada, Dr. Steve Marlowe, Janean Crawford and Melissa Garris.


SYLACAUGA — The Sylacauga Board of Education has given Superintendent Dr. Jon Segars average to slightly above average marks in his yearly performance evaluation.

During the BOE’s regular meeting Tuesday, board member Melissa Garris presented the evaluation, stating Segars received an overall rating of 3.1 out of 5. 

Despite the numerical value, the board spoke positively of Segars’ performance during his second year as superintendent.

Garris specifically mentioned Segars’s strengths as community involvement, stakeholder interaction and community relations, along with his work to ensure health and safety in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Based on the evaluation results, the board has asked Dr. Segars to work with us on communication and long-term goals for the system,” Garris said. 

While Garris did not comment on any areas in need of improvement, she did say the evaluation was meant to be constructive and help the superintendent improve.

“I feel we have done exactly that with this evaluation,” she said. 

Segars said he agrees with the board's evaluation.

“It’s completely accurate,” Segars said. “If I wrote that evaluation, I would write it the same way.”

He said the board does a thorough evaluation and has given him many areas to work on. He also thanked the board during the meeting for the evaluation.

Garris said the evaluation was done at the end of May to keep a consistent evaluation schedule. She added the school system has been dealing with the pandemic for six months now, before even the evaluation. She also said Segars was given the results of his evaluation when it was completed.

“While we present these results tonight, the focus of the board and the entire school system is on a successful first nine weeks and these first 20 days, which are so critical to our ADM (average daily membership),” Garris said. 

ADM for this academic year will determine the number of teacher units funded by the state for next year. 


The board also approved the 2021 budget. 

The budget projects a loss in overall funds with a beginning balance of $7,273,380 and ending balance of $6,597,000. Chief Financial Officer Lisa Dickerson said this was due to a capital improvement expenditure of $1,239,841 for roofing improvements at Nichols Lawson Middle School. This money was raised by the refinancing of bonds through the city.

The budget also projects a loss of three teacher units due to a drop in ADM last fall.

In other matters, the board: 

  • Approved a deductive change order of $27,176.10 for the emergency partial reroofing of Indian Valley Elementary;

  • Approved the resignation of Rachel Sherbert (counselor at Sylacauga High School); and

  • Approved hiring Misti Harshberger (cheerleader coach at Nichols-Lawson Middle), Barry Strickland (equipment manager for football operations at Sylacauga High), Darrell McNealey (bus assistant substitute), Jamaah Holmes (substitute teacher) and Erica Story (substitute teacher).

Taylor Mitchell, Daily Home reporter covering Pell City.