After months of planning and campaigning, it’s now official: Gardendale has its own board of education.
The Gardendale City Council unanimously voted to establish the city school system and board in Monday night’s meeting, and also established a separate advisory committee to the new board.
The members of the inaugural panel are:
• Dr. Michael Hogue, the interim dean of the McWhorter School of Pharmacy at Samford University
• Karen White, who retired in 2011 as principal at Snow Rogers Elementary
• Chris Lucas, senior vice president and director of compliance at BBVA Compass bank
• Chris Segroves, comptroller at Southern Nuclear Operating Company
• Dick Lee, executive vice president and chief credit office ar Peoples Bank of Alabama/Generations Bank.
Segroves and Lucas were active leaders in the effort to form the new school system.
Board members will serve staggered five-year teams, with most of the initial members serving shortened terms to fit the timing scheme. Lucas will serve one year, White will serve two, Hogue will serve three, Segroves four and Lee a full five-year term.
All members may be reappointed by the board at the end of their term.
The council also selected the five members of the advisory committee, who will also serve staggered one-year terms. This committee will meet less frequently than the regular board, at least twice yearly but no more than 12 times per year.
The committee members include:
• Tim Bagwell, an independent real estate appraiser
• David Crockett, a certified public accountant with Alabama Power
• Dr. Sharon Miller, an adjunct professor at Miles College in Fairfield
• David Salters, director of sales and operations at Warren Averett Staffing and Recruiting
• Rickey Whitworth, IT director for the construction firm Brasfield & Gorrie LLC
Salters was also active in the effort to form the new system.
Both the official board and the advisory committee will officially begin their service on April 1.
The council considered three dozen applicants. “We had enough qualified people that we could have made five or six boards,” Council President Stan Hogeland said after the vote.
Mayor Othell Phillips said that the selection process was tough, mainly because of the large number of qualified applicants.
“It was extremely difficult because we went through evaluations of applicants and their résumés, and also their experience,” Phillips said. “We interviewed all the candidates over two full Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., plus two nights from 6 to 9:30.”
Phillips said that the involvement of Lucas, Segroves and Salters in the campaign effort for the new system did not influence their being selected.
“During that process, I think they became well-educated on how the independent school system works, so that kind of gave them an advantage on a lot of the questions that were asked, and a lot of the information pertaining to the board itself,” Phillips said.
Once the board is sworn in, it will then set its own meeting dates and times, and will begin the process of selecting a superintendent. He or she will then negotiate the separation agreement with the Jefferson County Board of Education.
In other business, the council:
• Heard from Phillips that the city had received its audited financial statements, when were endorsed by the auditing firm without qualifications
• Annexed a parcel of land at 481 Beasley Road owned by James and Nancy Mayfield, zoned as A-1 agricultural
• Annexed parcels at 3190, 3194 and 3200 New Castle Road owned by Mary Mars and John Parker, zoned as I-1 light industrial and C-2 neighborhood shopping district commercial
• Hired David Waldrop to a position in the Parks and Recreation Department, and Jacob Postel to a part-time position at the city library
• Voted to install street lights at 320 Northridge Road and 5005 Cypress Street.