Who will lead?
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2007
DEMOPOLIS &045; The next superintendent of Demopolis City Schools could
come from within the district’s own ranks, as two principals are
among the first to apply.
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Superintendent Dr. Wesley Hill, who last year announced retirement
from leading the district, said nine people have completed the
application process. Hill would not release the names of any of the
candidates, but two district principals confirmed they have applied.
principal Dr. Isaac Espy said Tuesday.
In addition to Espy, U.S. Jones Elementary principal Dr. Tony Speegle
said he turned in his application earlier this month.
Since Hill’s announcement, both men were rumored to have been
interested in the position. A third principal &045; Clarence Jackson at
Demopolis Middle School &045; has also been mentioned as a possible in-
district candidate. Hill said Tuesday that Jackson has not applied.
Jackson did not return calls seeking comment.
Moving outside the district but staying close to home, two other
education leaders have been mentioned as possible candidates. Dr.
Hill said neither Marengo County Commissioner Ken Tucker or Marengo
County Superintendent Dr. Luke Hallmark have applied, though both men
are thought to have been mulling over the idea.
Hallmark, who said he did not want to comment on speculation, has
been praised for his work with a district that is largely rural and
does not have the same financial advantages as the Demopolis system.
Tucker said he has been approached by &8220;several school and community
leaders about seeking the position.&8221; The former Demopolis school
board member said he has yet to make up his mind about whether or not
he will apply.
Espy took road from T-Town to Demopolis
Espy, 44, was born in Chatom. He received a bachelor of science
degree in mathematics from the University of Alabama, from where he
received three other higher education degrees.
Espy received a masters of arts in education in 1992, an education
specialists degree in 1996 and a doctorate of education in education
administration in 1998.
Espy began his career as a math teacher at West End Christian Academy
in Tuscaloosa. After a year, he took over as the Saturday school
director at Central High School East in Tuscaloosa for eight years.
He then moved to the assistant principal position at Central High
School Summer School in Tuscaloosa for two years.
In 1995, Scottsboro City Schools named Espy as their athletics
director and assistant principal. He remained there until 1998, when
he took the principal position at Hubbertville School in Fayette County.
In 2005, Espy was named principal at Demopolis High School.
Speegle never traveled far from home
Speegle, 48, graduated Demopolis High School in 1976. He received a
bachelor of science degree in 1981 from the University of West
Alabama, from where he graduated with a masters in administration in
In 1996, he was awarded an education specialist degree from the
University of Montevallo. Eight years later, he finished his
doctorate of education at Samford University in 2004.
Speegle’s career began in his hometown as a coach and teacher at what
was then U.S. Jones Junior High in Demopolis. He spent three years
there before taking an assistant coach’s position at Florala High
School. One year later, Speegle moved to Selma High School as an
assistant football coach and teacher.
Speegle returned to Demopolis in 1988, working for a year as a high
school football coach before returning to the junior high program. In
1997, he was named assistant principal at U.S. Jones, which was still
a middle school at the time.
In 1998, Speegle took over as principal of U.S. Jones.
Board seeking outside consultation
The application process will remain open until Jan. 31, at which time
a Tuscaloosa consultant will review the applications and present a
slate of candidates for the school board to interview.
Hill said Dr. Neil Hyche, a former superintendent of Tuscaloosa City
Schools, and two other consultants have been hired to consult on the
search process. Interviews will begin once Hyche provides the board
with a slate.
The interview process, Hill said, will be open to the public.