Baldwin facing quick challenges

Published 4:31 pm Saturday, June 16, 2012

A tumultuous few weeks for George Baldwin came to a head Tuesday when the Linden City Schools Board of Education appointed him as interim superintendent.

“It is a great opportunity for me,” Baldwin said. “It is an experience I never thought I would get a chance to (have).”

Baldwin had a more unpleasant experience in late May when the Alabama Department of Education granted the Demopolis City and Marengo County School Systems their request to be removed from the consortia agreement of the Marengo County Technology Center, the facility where Baldwin had served as principal since Aug. 2000.

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“I’ve been in career tech since the ninth grade in high school,” Baldwin said soon after learning of the facility’s then-impending closure. “This center was built to have a centralized location where all the kids could come, and to save money so you wouldn’t have to put a teacher on each campus. It seems like the final chapter in a good book.”

That decision closed the doors at MCTC effective June 1. However, the mutual decision between former Linden superintendent Dr. Tyrone Smith and the LCBOE to sever their relationship ultimately opened another door for Baldwin.

“With the cutback in the (MCTC) situation, going through this transitional time, (Baldwin) has more availability than the other administrators now that the state has dissipated the consortium.” Linden City Schools Board of Education President William Curry said of the decision to appoint Baldwin as interim superintendent.

Baldwin began his tenure with the Linden City School System in 1984 as an agriscience teacher at George P. Austin Junior High School before his elevation to MCTC principal in 2000. With a decade of administrative experience under his belt, Baldwin interviewed for the system’s vacant superintendent spot in the summer of 2010. The job ultimately went to Smith, whose departure more than a year before the expiration of his expired contract left the system in need of a new leader.

“I will do the best I can for the students here in the Linden City Schools,” Baldwin said. “I’ve loved Linden City Schools because it has been good to me. I am glad I am able to stay here in this school system and do what is best for the students in this system. I’ve been a part of this system for 28 years. Hopefully I can make a positive difference.”

Baldwin’s first order of business, according to Curry, will be to sit down with LCS CFO LaKendra Raby and state department of education representative Dr. Eddie Hill and establish a budget for the coming year.

The Linden BOE has also yet to approve a calendar for the 2012-2013 academic year, rehire any of the non-tenured teachers that were reportedly cut or post personnel vacancies.

“I’ll go in an look at academics. Then we’ll look at finances,” Baldwin said of the tasks in front of him. “Then we’ll look at rehiring some personnel.”