Frank Stegall interviews with BOE

Published 5:16 pm Friday, April 23, 2010

Frank Stegall, superintendent of Hale County (Ala.) Schools.

Born in Sumter County. Started teaching in Pickens County. Was principal at Moundville Elementary for 13 years. Been superintendent in Hale County for 10 years.

Why he wants to live in Demopolis

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Mother was from Demopolis.

“It’s important to honor your heritage, and I think the way you honor it is with service. That’s why I’ve applied.”

Developing a mission

“Clearly define why you exist. What is your purpose…You start that with a conversation with the board. A second conversation is what do you hope your school system is going to look like…Then, you move down to your leadership teams and create a little more detail…The people who are going to make the biggest impact on children and this mission are the people who work with them day in and day out…Then you have to engage your students and parents…”

On management style

“I have an unwavering confidence in people who choose to come into this profession…sometimes that allows you, maybe, not to be as ‘stern.’ If I can explain to you that I’m here to assist you to set out what you wanted to do when you entered into this profession. I depend on people to make the right choices, but I will let people know when they’ve made choices that have damaged the school or the system.”

On communication

“I believe you have to operate a school system that is transparent. You have to be forthright with personnel, the people you work with, the students and the parents. If you are honest with people, there’s a better chance you have to make them your allies.”

On curriculum change

“We have a common set of standards in the state of Alabama…I think in this process of planning, there are four questions that you need to pose to your leadership team: (1) What is it we expect them to learn? (2) How do we know if they’ve learned it? (3) How do you respond when they don’t learn it? (4) How do you respond when they do learn it?

On paying civic rent

“My mother lives on Rembert (Street). I’m going to live with my mother until I can sell my house and move here,” he laughed. “I think that goes back to heritage. You live it and you breathe it. I don’t think you get into the field of education because you’re afraid of service.”

Plans to enroll his son at Demopolis Middle School.

On grant writing

Received grants for teaching in the classroom and technology totaling $400,000 and up.

“No one writes a grant in isolation. You have teams, you share perspectives…”

On accomplishments

“To have our personnel embrace the idea that we’re smarter as a group than we are as individuals. That we need to share more than just a parking lot.”

Stegall said he’s instituted professional learning communities that collect, analyze and condense data and put plans into action to correct in areas where warranted.

On discipline

“You have to look at policies and procedures that define conduct. I’m not a supporter of Zero Tolerance. It doesn’t deal with the issue of the problem; it just sends the message that you won’t tolerate it. I think a code of conduct is something that is applied when we fail to meet our expectations.”