By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
His wife Denise wanted something a little more festive, like perhaps a reception at the Gardendale Civic Center.
But Oscar Mann would have none of that. Instead, it was a brief, simple ceremony when he was sworn in Wednesday as the newest member of the Jefferson County Board of Education. The ceremony was held in the same board room where he would take part in his first meeting the next day.
Mann took the oath of office with his wife at one side and sister BeBe at the other. Judge Brian Huff, the presiding judge over Jefferson Family Court and one of Mann's former students, administered the oath and led a light-hearted mini-roast beforehand.
Mann spent more than two decades in the county school system, serving as everything from bus driver — "in Robinwood, the worst route there was," he recalled — to assistant principal. He worked at both Gardendale and Fultondale high schools, as well as Bragg Middle School, and coached several different sports. Even after his official retirement, Mann had been substituting on a regular basis at North Jefferson Middle in recent times.
Mann has also served a term on the Gardendale City Council. He ran against Othell Phillips when former mayor Kenny Clemons stepped down in 2008; Phillips prevailed in a runoff.