By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
GARDENDALE — Officials will have no shortage of choices for the future Gardendale City School Board.
City Clerk Melissa Honeycutt said 37 Gardendale residents turned in applications for the five positions.
The last day to submit applications was Jan. 15; more than half were turned in on or near the deadline.
“It was a hectic two days,” Honeycutt said.
All applicants are required to attend an orientation session conducted by Susan Salter, director of Leadership Development for the Alabama Association of School Boards.
Some applicants attended the session Jan. 7 at the Gardendale Civic Center, and others attended on Tuesday. The first session was live, and Tuesday’s meeting featured a video of Salter speaking from the Jan. 7 meeting.
Gardendale City Council members will now review all applications and conduct interviews. They will select five people to serve on the school board and five to serve on an advisory board.
“We’re looking for a well-rounded board that has an interest in the children and the city and has a goal to form a successful school system, and hopefully bring it up to one of the top in the state,” said Gardendale Mayor Othell Phillips.
The applicants will be interviewed in four sessions at Gardendale City Hall; one of the sessions was Tuesday (yesterday). The others are Saturday at 8:30 a.m., Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 1 at 8:30 a.m.
The interview sessions are open to the public.
Phillips said the board members will be announced in March, and will be officially appointed during the first city council meeting in April.
Those who have applied for the city school board include:
The city council voted last year to separate the four Gardendale schools — Gardendale High, Bragg Middle, Gardendale Elementary and Snow Rogers Elementary — from the Jefferson County Board of Education.
The separation procedure can not continue until the city appoints a city school board.
The council in December hired Bradley Arant Boult and Cummings for legal services pertaining to the formation of a future Gardendale Board of Education and its separation from the Jefferson County Board of Education.
Gardendale has increased ad valorem taxes by 10 mills, which is earmarked for Gardendale city schools. The city council levied the first five mills; voters approved the second five mills.
Note: This version of the story deletes one candidate who withdrew her application for school board member, and added the names of two other candidates. Updated Wednesday at 1:45 p.m.