The Jefferson County Board of Education has made its move to fill the vacant superintendent’s position.

Dr. Craig Pouncey, the chief of staff for the Alabama Board of Education — the second-highest position at the state level, just under Supt. Tommy Bice — was given the job during the county board’s special session Tuesday morning.

Pouncey is no stranger to educators in metro Birmingham. Having served with the state as a deputy or an assistant superintendent since 2005, he conducted a review of the inner workings of the Hoover City Schools earlier this year at the request of board members.

He has also been a vocal spokesman for schools on the state level, especially regarding funding from the state legislature.

Pouncey will be the permanent replacement for Dr. Stephen Nowlin, who was asked to step down by the county board in late April. He will take office on July 1, the day after Interim Supt. Bobby Neighbors’ contract ends.

Board member Jacqueline Smith interviewed all 11 candidates by telephone, some of which were from as far away as Pennsylvania and Colorado. 

The vote was 4-1 for Pouncey’s selection. Smith voted against the hiring, saying afterward that she felt the search should have been done publicly.

Board President Jennifer Parsons said that a public interview process was not required by law. “It’s up to the decision of the board… There’s no reason to go with an interview process if everyone feels that we’ve got our [choice]. The cream goes to the top.”

She added that Pouncey’s selection came with approval from the principal’s association, as well as local members of the Alabama Education Association and the Alabama Federation of Teachers.

In other business, the board also gave Gardendale High interim assistant principal Carita Venable the position permanently, and also approved a contract with Clements Dean Building Company to start remedial work on Pinson Valley High’s football field.

[Updated at 1:45 p.m. with quotes from Parsons.]

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