13 seek superintendent post

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 2, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &045; Thirteen candidates have filed notices of intent to seek the superintendent position with the Demopolis City Schools.

Retiring Superintendent Dr. Wesley Hill said all applications have now been forwarded to Dr. Neil Hyche, a Tuscaloosa consultant who will lead the interview process to name Hill’s replacement.

Hyche met with the school board on Monday night to finalize the steps of the interview process. Hyche will select two other consultants to form a three-person panel that is charged with evaluating the pool of candidates and whittle them down to an unspecified number of interviewees. Hill said he expects Hyche to provide the school board with the list of interviewees by next week.

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Once the board has approved the slate of candidates to be interviewed, Hyche will schedule and lead the interviews. According to the procedure approved by the board, all interviews will be open to the public.

The public will have the opportunity to submit questions for the interview. Hyche and the board will evaluate all questions. Hyche said he may use some questions during the interview process but that neither he nor the board is obligated to do so. Public questions should be submitted to the school system office with a postmark of no later than Feb. 9.

The board has expressed a desire to have a new superintendent named by the end of the month. Hill said yesterday that the board could decide upon a candidate within two weeks.

The list of applicants was not released by the school system, but three local educators confirmed they have applied. Demopolis High School Principal Dr. Isaac Espy and Dr. Tony Speegle, principal at U.S. Jones Elementary School, said two weeks ago they applied to succeed Hill.

Yesterday, Marengo County Schools Superintendent Luke Hallmark said he submitted his application late Wednesday afternoon, the deadline for applications. Hallmark said he talked with his board members Wednesday evening and that they were supportive of his decision.

Hallmark earned an associates degree from Marion Military Institute in 1977. He earned his first bachelor of science degree in business administration from Auburn University in 1980 and his second in social science from Livingston University, now the University of West Alabama, in 1984.

In 1991, Hallmark received a master of education in principalship from Livingston University. Six years later, he received a educational specialist degree in administration from the University of Montevallo. Hallmark is currently pursuing a doctorate in education from Alabama State University.

Hallmark began his career at MMI in 1985 as a history teacher and head basketball coach. The following year he took over the basketball program at Demopolis High School, where he also taught math and history until 1997. He spent three years as principal of Greensboro West High School before becoming the superintendent of Marengo County Schools in 2000.

This will be Hallmark’s and Espy’s second time in front of Hyche. Both were hired into their current positions after participating in a search conducted by the former Tuscaloosa Schools superintendent.