State Superintendent's Chief of Staff hired as new Jeffco schools superintendent

Published: Jun. 17, 2014 at 8:56 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2014 at 2:07 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Jefferson County School Board voted on Tuesday to hire Dr. Craig Pouncey as the new superintendent.

The motion was made to hire Pouncey during a special board meeting. The vote passed 4 to 1 in favor of Pouncey.

Dr. Pouncey is currently working as the chief of staff for Alabama Education Superintendent Tommy Bice. He has previously served as superintendent in Crenshaw County, and has also been a teacher and an assistant principal.

"I started my career in education because I loved kids. And I think this gives me an opportunity to reconnect with what's really important and that's the children of the school district," Pouncey said in an interview over the phone.

"I think any career educator often gets to a point that they are looking for other challenges and other opportunities. And I think Jefferson County presented itself, being the second largest district in the state. Thirty-eight thousand kids, 61 schools, 4,500 employees. That's a huge opportunity to work with that kind of organization," Pouncey added.

The position was posted for 30 days and the school board received 11 applications from all over the country. The board decided to hire Pouncey without going through the formal interviewing process.

Jacqueline Smith, the board vice president, was the lone 'no' vote.

When asked why she voted against hiring Pouncey, Smith simply said she like to have open meetings and would not expound on that.

Several board members said when they saw Pouncey's name on the list, they knew he was the right choice.

"We had great candidates. But I think Dr. Pouncey will bring a level of expertise to Jefferson County we've not seen before because he's worked with all 130-plus school districts in the state," Jennifer Parsons, president of the Jefferson County School Board, said.

"He understands the finances of the state from the state level and he's been a local superintendent. So I think we would enjoy working with him," she added.

Pouncey wants board members and staff to lay out a strategic plan, a road map, that includes relationships with local governments.

"It's important they recognize they are part of the Jefferson County school system and we're there to support their needs as well," Pouncey said.

"Particularly in the area where y'all are, in the middle part of the state. There are huge opportunities to create growth in those areas and I think it's important the school system do the things necessary to support business and industry and what their needs are in today's market," he said.

Pouncey will begin his job as Jefferson County superintendent on July 1. The board will vote on the details of his contract, including his salary and contract length, on June 26.

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