Roberts closes out interviews

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 15, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &045; The final round of interviews ended last night with two people who have strong ties to Black Belt communities.

The evening started with William Holiday III, principal of Oxford High School. Holiday graduated the University of West Alabama and coached in Clarke and Marengo counties.

Ronald Roberts, the former Demopolis High School principal, was the last interviewee of the selection process. Roberts retired from DHS two years ago and has since been teaching in Pascagoula, Miss.

Email newsletter signup

Holiday believes in reaching out to community

A former football coach, Holiday said he is a straightforward person who believes in working closely with community leaders to build a synergy with the schools.

Holiday believes strong schools drive economic development and that by working to meet the needs of area businesses and organizations that the system will place the community in a good position for future growth. He gave an example of how he worked with the Chamber of Commerce in Oxford to meet some very simple requests.

Holiday said his plans for improving the district would include the continual evaluation of procedures.

Holiday also said he believes that change should come only after consensus is built among school leaders.

Roberts believes in facilitating leadership of others

Roberts had two simple messages about how he would lead the district: set high expectations and work to facilitate the success of administrators and teachers who are in the schools.

Roberts said his experience in education has shown that people often get what they expect.

If chosen, Roberts said his first priorities would be to assess the infrastructure and personnel needs in the district. He said his experience in the district in the past leads him to believe that principals can come together quickly and easily to set out a plan to upgrade facilities based on the most important needs.

The idea of working through administrators and with teachers resonated throughout his interview. Roberts repeatedly said he would seek to facilitate success in others rather than to micro-manage.

Roberts sees the main two priorities of a superintendent as carrying out board policies and ensuring that as much of a school district’s resources as possible are placed within the classroom.

Decision could be days away

Board Chairman Gary Holman said the board will meet at 5 p.m. today and immediately move to executive session to discuss the eight candidates they interviewed. If a consensus is reached tonight, Dr. Wesley Hill said the offer could be made as soon as tomorrow morning.

Hill told the board that it would be his recommendation to move as quickly as possible with the superintendent position so they could then turn their attention to hiring a principal for Westside Elementary School to replace Mary Glass, who is retiring. The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is set for March 26. Board members did not decide if they would meet before that in the event that they could not choose a new superintendent tonight.

Hill announced his retirement last year. He has served the school district for 29 years.