North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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March 13, 2014

New Gardendale Board of Education members talk about their task ahead and Common Core


Lucas sees three big tasks right out of the gate for the new board, all related to hiring: the superintendent, a chief school financial officer (CSFO) and the board’s attorney.

“The hiring of the attorney will likely happen first. The CSFO hiring could take place before the superintendent,” Lucas said. “Getting the separation talks with the Jefferson County Board, and getting them finalized in a way that is beneficial to the children here in Gardendale, is the biggest thing after that.”

Chris Segroves, who was active in the effort to form the new school system along with Lucas, sees the separation process as the biggest task after hiring a leader, with hiring a qualified school finance officer next in line.

“I would imagine [the negotiations] will be fairly difficult, but I’m anxious to get some feedback from legal counsel on how to begin that process, and set the tone in terms of what to expect,” said Segroves, a comptroller for Southern Nuclear Operating Company in Birmingham.

As for Common Core, Segroves is also reserving judgement for now.

“I want to get an understanding for what flexibility, what options are available at the local school district level before I develop any positions on my own,” he said. “I am supportive of performance standards; we need metrics in order to identify progress, but those standards should be administered at the local-school level. That’s why I am anxious to see exactly what the local district is able to control.”

Karen White, who retired as principal at Snow Rogers Elementary in 2011, is the only member of the new board to have hands-on experience with Common Core, though it was limited — the initiative took effect in 2010, not long before her departure. Still, she favors the initiative, though she’s keeping an open mind with opponents.

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