Arab’s Douglas leads off superintendent interviews

Arab High principal Mike Douglas fields questions from Oneonta School Board members in the first of five interviews with superintendent candidates.

Arab High principal Mike Douglas fields questions from Oneonta School Board members in the first of five interviews with superintendent candidates.

Dr. Stephen (Michael) Douglas, 41, was the first superintendent candidate to be interviewed by members of the Oneonta School Board Monday night. Douglas is currently principal of Arab High School. Interviews with four other candidates are set for this week and next week.

In his opening statement, Douglas introduced his wife Lindsay, who accompanied him, and said their family includes three children, ages 10, 6, and 4. Emphasizing faith, family, and career in his opening statement, he said they currently attend First United Methodist Church in Albertville. By way of background, he said he wishes to follow in the footsteps of his father, who served 19 years as superintendent of the Muscle Shoals system. Other highlights

•Eight years teaching experience in elementary jobs in Auburn, Villa Rica, Georgia, and multiple Marshall County schools

•Former teacher of the year in Marshall County Schools

•Eight years administrative experience as principal at the elementary, middle, and high school level in three Marshall County school systems

•Experience as varsity coach of football, baseball, wrestling, and track

•Experience introducing technology into school systems. Points of emphasis

•Practices and prefers collaborative leadership style

•Believes in virtues of communication with all stakeholders, and considers that one of his strengths

•Interests of students is main prism through which he filters all decisions

•On Alabama College Career Ready Standards (“Common Core”), the school board is in complete control of what is taught; it’s up to superintendent to explain the standards to the public as necessary and establish trust that school system will not teach any material considered inappropriate according to local values

•would use battery of media to keep public informed: e-mail, newsletters for parents of each school; reports to community groups, end-of-year synopses to school board and others, social media for both athletic and other school activities

•high regard for teachers and special attention to their needs. Quotes

•“How do you have a great school system? You care and you try.”

•Professional development for teachers: “I need to be learning alongside teachers –be in there with’em – be the first learner, be the model.”

•Role of extracurricular activities: “…teaches hard work, character, to be a team player…” (names list of athletic and fine arts activities)…“This is my role. I need to be there (for all of these).”

•Role of superintendent in community: “Be a part of the community and lead by example and action. Be very visible, open, friendly, accessible. I’m a community superintendent.”

•Media relations: “They’ll find you when the news is bad. You have to proactively find them when the news is good – to sell the positive aspects of the system.”

Candidates remaining to be interviewed are Robert (Kyle) McCartney of Odenville – July 22; Dr. Donald Snow of Decatur – July 28; Allen Martin of Milledgevile, Ga .– July 29; and Dr. Brandon Payne of Cullman – July 30. Interviews are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. each evening in the high school library. The public is welcome to attend. Questioning is conducted by school board members; public participation is limited to listening.