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Demopolis school board gets state honor

The Demopolis City Schools Board of Education was given the 2008 School Board Member Academy President’s Award. The award was given to Demopolis “for demonstrating a commitment to excellence in education through boardsmanship training.”

The award was presented by the Alabama Association of School Boards.

“I have to brag on our board members,” said Demopolis City Schools superintendent Dr. L. Wayne Vickers. “Last summer, we had almost every board member attend the summer conference and the training. That is a commitment, because that’s giving up time in the summer to attend the conference, and those conferences are scheduled from 8:00 to 4:00. There’s a lot of work involved.

“I kind of take stock when I’m there of who has representatives there. Last year, we had every board member there. That is a rare thing to have everyone be able to attend, but it also gives us the opportunity to look at the training sessions and how it relates to the City of Demopolis and our students. That’s really important. It also gives us the chance to work together, which is what a successful school system is all about.”

Vickers said that training sessions cover a wide variety of topics, including personnel issues, finances and financial crisis issues.

“It’s about as good training as you can get,” Vickers said. “I compare that with the superintendent’s training and the principal’s training. I think the school board association does an excellent job of preparing our school board members.”

“This year, we had a training session for board chairmen after the regular session,” said Gary Holeman, chair of the Demopolis City Schools board. “It was really interesting to hear the problems that other school boards have and we don’t have. Our community works really well.”

The award was given at the most recent District 2 regional school boards meeting.

“We’re hoping to eventually have more all-state school board members,” Vickers said. “We’re going to start nominating our board members to recognize them individually for their outstanding work. I believe that the kind of work they put in, they do it because they care and because they want what’s best for the children of Demopolis, and that’s evident in the leadership they provide.”