The latest on the B’ham City Schools superintendent search

Birmingham searching for new superintendent

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Birmingham Board of Education is on the clock in the search for a permanent leader of the district. The superintendent search committee held a virtual meeting Tuesday to decide how they planned to fill the position permanently.

The board has six months from the time the superintendent position is vacated to fill the position; as of Tuesday night, 45 of those days had passed.

The committee announced three options for filling the position:

  1. Hire a search firm
  2. The board handles the search themselves
  3. Follow in the footsteps of Jefferson County Schools and promote the current interim superintendent, Dr. Mark Sullivan, as the permanent leader.

The superintendent search committee is being very conscious of their budget citing the uncertainty of the times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Board member and leader of the search committee, Sandra Brown, said hiring a search firm could cost the district $25,000 plus.

Brown voiced concern with the competency of firms the district has used in the past.

“We’re going to have to look at how we’re spending money Because we’re going to be in a pinch This year and probably next year. To go and spend a large amount of money when we have someone doing the job. Dr. Sullivan would have already put everything in place,” said Brown (D-9).

The Birmingham Board of Education voted to appoint longtime employee Dr. Mark Sullivan as interim superintendent as Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring wrapped up her three year tenure with the system.

Committee member Terri Michal was in favor of the board vetting candidates.

“The reason I don’t want to use a search team is because this can get so political and there’s so much riding on this for some people,” said Michel (D-2).

In the end, the committee voted to recommend the board to hire a search firm to conduct the search, but they also left promoting Dr. Sullivan on the table.

Brown said she would research how Jefferson County handled the process.

As for what happens next, Brown said a survey will be sent out to employees and parents to get their input on the qualifications they’d like the next superintendent to have.

“If we’re going to be honest and think about the people, that’s the first step we need to do,” said Brown.

That survey is expected to go out in a week.

The board will vote on the committee recommendation at their next meeting.

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