Tuscaloosa principal discusses his belief in goals during interview

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &045;Both Lawrence Vickers, the principal of Hillcrest Middle School in Tuscaloosa County, and Dr. Douglas Lee Ragland, superintendent of Greene County Schools, said their years of experience in administrative roles have prepared them for the superintendent position for the Demopolis School System.

Vickers and Ragland were the third set of candidates to face the interview process led by Dr. Neil Hyche, a retired Tuscaloosa County superintendent, before the Demopolis School Board. The candidates are looking to fill the position, which will be vacated by the retirement of current superintendent Dr. Wesley Hill.

Vickers: Goals, perception key

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Vickers, who has been a principal at the elementary, middle school and high school levels, said a strategic plan that identifies the goals of a system are of vital importance to a school system. He said having fixed goals allows the system to plan what steps it must take in all instances.

Vickers said he has had a strategic plan in past systems in which he has worked. He said having such a plan in place allows a system to align resources to meet the goals of the board and the community.

Vickers said this would allow for a better understanding by everyone involved in what the system is trying to attain. He also said the way he is perceived by the community would impact the outcome of the system’s goals.

Ragland: &8216;I am a servant leader’

During Ragland’s interview, he stressed his dedication to being a servant leader. He said he is a diplomatic leader who does not like to micro manage the roles that should be handled by administrators at his schools.

Ragland said, while he doesn’t interfere with the responsibilities of principals he likes to interact with both principals and all other individuals involved in the education process, including parents, to let them know who he is. He said it is important to be open and accessible to members of the community in order to properly run a school system.

Ragland said keeping in site what is the most important for the children of the system helps breakdown barriers between everyone working in the system. He said if the ultimate concern for each decision is the impact on the children, people are more likely to follow the decision.

Interviews wrap up this evening

Tonight, the board will interview William Holiday III, principal of Oxford High School, and Ronald Roberts, the former principal at Demopolis High School as the final installment of the interview process.

Two weeks ago, the board interviewed Dr. Isaac Espy, Demopolis High School principal; Dr. Tony Speegle, U.S. Jones Elementary principal; Dr. JoAnn Horton, assistant principal at Foley Elementary School; and Edward Brown, Bibb County High School principal.

Board chairman Gary Holman said the interviews are open to the public. Only Hyche and members of the school board will be allowed to ask questions.

Various members of the school board have said they expect to find Dr. Wesley Hill’s replacement by the end of this month. Hill is retiring after nearly 30 years as superintendent.