Joyce Bishop interviews with BOE

Published 3:51 pm Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Joyce Bishop, assistant superintendent, Albertville (Ala.) City Schools.


Was teacher in Demopolis in 1971; 7th and 8th grade science at the middle school.

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Worked as Title I teaching assistant in North Alabama, went back to school and got Masters Degree in Counseling, became counselor in Albertville, then to principal, then on to assistant superintendent for five years.

On developing and implementing a mission

“We have to look (at our mission) in steps and stages as we move forward and we have to involve everyone”

“If we meet together for one purpose – our children – we can make out a plan that leads us to our vision and our mission.”

On school improvement plans

“If teachers are part of development of school improvement plan…it’s not for the school, it’s for everybody there. You have a leadership team at your school that monitors progress. There must be progress monitors along every area.”

On student development

“Got to have some things for our Top 25 students…if it’s honor classes, Web teams, whatever it is to challenge that Top 25 percent. A lot of attention is focused on the bottom 25 percent…but you have got to challenge the Top 25 percent. Children can lose their enthusiasm for school if we don’t challenge.”

On management style

“You can confidently delegate to others when you’ve been part of the process of understanding what the problems are. I welcome staff input.”

In the past Bishop noted that she developed a series of task forces compiled of teachers and support staff who diagnosed needs in their area of focus and worked to improve, making recommendations to administrators and taking action themselves when possible.

On special needs students

“Being in communication with the parents…swapping phone numbers. Having a personal relationship with the parent as much as possible…the IEP that comes out of that meeting is much stronger…”

Role of Superintendent at the BOE

“Superintendent works for the board at the board’s discretion. The board is the ruling body. The superintendent of the board.”

Paying civic rent

“I intend to be here in Demopolis as soon as we can get here and make a home here.”

Bishop noted joining a local civic group and local church.

“The Superintendent is the ambassador of the school system at any civic meeting, any church meeting…you have to be ready to be part of the community. I will be at football games. I will be at drama performances.”

On role in budget development

“There has to be a good working relationship with the (city school financial officer). I understand the importance of not having any more teachers on payroll than you have foundation or federal units to support. The more our principals know and understand about that, the better leaders they are. With Title I funding, they are very astute with that.”

On grant writing experience

Wrote a $300,000 school improvement grant and received funding.

Wrote one two weeks ago to implement culinary arts program in Albertville, but have yet to hear back from it.

“I understand about being intentional when you’re looking at the grading sheet and knowing what’s most important to the graders.”

On budget cuts, if they became necessary

“You cannot cut the instruction of children. You have to look at where you can cut and where you cannot.”

On recruitment and hiring

Bishop noted she organized a staff of recruiters who visited college campuses to seek recent graduates and potential teachers.

“Staff development has to be identified, intentional and job-embedded. It has to be intentional to the needs of the personnel or the staff and it’s got to be something we can afford to do.”

On evaluating personnel

“I do all the PEPPY (Alabama Professional Education Personnel Evaluation Program) evaluations of all our principals…but the evaluation of how essential that person is to us is judging how effective they are in their day-to-day job. PEPPY is only a piece of the puzzle. Walk-throughs are essential. You have to have a targeted thing that you’re looking for.”

Accomplishments in Albertville

“Curriculum mapping…a process we’ve been going through the past four years. Curriculum is a process, not a product. We have master maps for all core subjects and they tweak those maps so that we’re constantly progressing and moving.”

On discipline

“The punishment should fit the crime, but it should be age appropriate. Every school should have a discipline plan and a plan to implement it when the student conduct plan is breeched.”

On seeking contract renewal or other opportunity

“The only job I’m interested in is Demopolis City Schools. I would hope that as Superintendent, I would please you and I would hope that the board being pleased with my performance would earn an extension on my contract.”