Kerby appointed to Demopolis BOE

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Demopolis City School Board has a new member after Monday night’s city council meeting where Olen Kerby was appointed.

Kerby, who is the senior executive vice president of Sweet Water State Bank was appointed over six other nominees.

“I’m honored to be appointed, and I hope I can help,” Kerby said in a Tuesday interview. “From everything I understand, there is a lot of work to it and a lot of responsibility. Hopefully I can do a good job.”

Kerby will take the place of Ronnie O’Neal, who asked not to be reappointed to the board. Kerby’s official start date is May 1.

“I think Olen is one that is a very independent individual,” said Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson.

“He’ll make up his own mind. I think he is one that has exhibited sound judgment throughout the years, and he has proven that he can work with people. He is a team player.”

Kerby was born in Demopolis.

The newly appointed board member graduated from the University of West Alabama in 1977 with a degree in Business Administration.

He also went to grad school at Louisiana State University.

Kerby has a family history that’s roots run deep in the city’s school system. His mother, sister, cousin, wife and daughter-in-law have taught in the schools. His three sons also went to school in Demopolis from kindergarten to high school graduation.

Kerby said he feels like it is his duty to give back to the school system that has given so much to his family.

“I like to think I can make a contribution,” Kirby said. “I feel like it is kind of a duty that you are supposed to give back to your community if you can.”

One of the board’s biggest responsibilities will be hiring a new superintendent to take the place of Al Griffin.

“I’m not coming in with an agenda except for that we’ve got to hire a new superintendent,” Kerby said. “The way I look at it, if you hire the right superintendent he has a vision, and you have to help set policy to take his vision and move it forward.”

Kerby said there is also a need for more teachers in the system.

“We’ve had a lot of teachers that have gone by the wayside over the last couple of years,” Kerby said. “We need to replace the teachers and the superintendent.”

Kerby said he wants to take care of Demopolis to ensure students are getting the right education.

“The state’s got financial problems, and it all dribbles down to the schools and everything else,” Kerby said. “But this is Demopolis, and we have to take care of Demopolis before we worry about everybody else.”