State Superintendent Search Reaches Interview Round

This afternoon, the state school board plans to interview three of the four candidates vying to succeed Joe Morton as the State Superintendent. The superintendent search began this June, after Morton announced his plan to retire from the post he’s held for seven years. The top four candidates were selected from an initial pool of seven contenders. Today’s interviews will be held at 1:30 p.m. in Room 2302 of the Gordon Persons Building and are open to the public.

What is the School Board Looking For?

This summer, the State Board of Education released a list of qualifications it sought in potential candidates. The list included:

– Knowledge of education policy development and implementation for large systems
– Practice working with education boards, education professionals, and state-level politicians
– Familiarity with federal and state education legislation
– Experience in managing large budgets and large institutions

Meet the Candidates:

Thomas Bice
Dr. Bice is currently Deputy State Superintendent of Education Instructional Services in Alabama. He is the former superintendent of Alexander City. Before that post, Dr. Bice worked as a classroom teacher and a principal in the Alex City schools. He received his Doctorate of Education at Auburn University and a master’s degree in Special Education from UAB. “I want to be a part of bringing education in Alabama into a new economy,” he told the Birmingham News. “Education can be the vehicle to take us there.”

Mark Bounds
Mr. Bounds is currently the Deputy Superintendent for School Effectiveness in South Carolina. Before that position, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army. Bounds has received a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Towson University in Maryland, a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in Newport, RI, and a master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University.

Bounds believes his experience with South Carolina’s budget crunch will help him manage Alabama’s current education budget. “This is a unique opportunity for me to take what I’ve learned and apply it to a state on the rise,” he said. “In today’s financial environment you can’t do everything you want to do, so you have to make sure you optimize your resources.”

Byron Garrett
Mr. Garrett is a consultant and former executive officer of the National Parent Teacher Association. Prior to his position at the PTA, Garrett was the chief of state in the Office of Public Affairs for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He has a bachelor’s degree in human relations from High Point University and a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix. Garret is currently working on a doctorate in educational leadership from Pepperdine University.

Craig Pouncey
Mr. Pouncey is the current Deputy State Superintendent of Alabama’s Administrative and Financial Services division. Prior to this position, Pouncey worked in other State Dept. of Education positions and was the Superintendent of Crenshaw County Schools. As a former middle school teacher, he also has fourteen years of classroom experience. Mr. Pouncey holds degrees in education leadership from Samford and Auburn Universities and a certificate in Administration from Troy State University.

For more information on the candidates and the scheduled interviews, check out this article from the Gadsden Times.