Thursday Update: Davie changes mind, turns down DHS principal offer

Published 3:28 pm Wednesday, July 1, 2009

For the Demopolis City Schools board, it’s back to Square One, as Dr. Walter Davie informed board members Wednesday morning that he decided to decline their offer to become principal at Demopolis High School.

Citing personal reasons, Davie — the principal at Tuscaloosa’s Davis-Emerson Middle School — turned down the offer he enthusiastically accepted the night before when interim superintendent Dr. Neil P. Hyche telephoned him with the offer.

“He was extremely enthusiastic last night,” said school board chair Gary Holemon on Wednesday. “In fact, he asked Dr. Hyche to get him some realtors lined up on Friday.”

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“We did everything we were supposed to do,” said school board attorney Alec Braswell. “For whatever reason, he had a change of mind. He just couldn’t articulate a reason.”

“I appreciate the opportunity from the Demopolis City Schools system,” Davie said on Wednesday. “They’ve been very gracious in their actions towards me. For personal reasons, I have decided to decline the offer.

“The interview process and all actions and contacts with everyone in Demopolis — there was nothing from the Demopolis school system or any personnel or contact from that end that has caused me to change my mind. It was entirely a personal decision.”

Holemon said the school board would meet Thursday at 9 a.m. to discuss its options.

“The three options will be: to choose from the remaining candidates, open and extend the search or appoint an interim principal for the upcoming school year,” said Braswell.

The remaining candidates include Demopolis Middle School principal Clarence Jackson Jr., Woodlawn High School assistant principal Janice Drake and former Thomasville High School principal Leon Clark.

Hyche helped the Demopolis board in hiring former DHS principal Dr. Isaac Espy, who left in May to become the principal at Tuscaloosa’s Northridge High School, and former superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers, who resigned last month to take on a similar position in the Saraland school system. He was also a superintendent in the Tuscaloosa County Schools system.

“I have never been involved in anything like that in 50 years,” Hyche said. “I have never seen this. When I was a principal, I had a teacher, one time, that didn’t show up the first day of school and had signed a contract, but nothing like this.

“I called (Davie) back (after the meeting) and said, ‘Man, you got a 5-0 vote. You ought to be on top of the world.’ I’ve known him for 25 years, and have never had a reason to be critical of the man. I’m probably the one who hired him as a teacher. He’s always been very quiet, did his job very effectively. I’m terribly disappointed.”