Alabaster begins interviewing school board finalists

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Members of the Alabaster City Council interviewed four of the final 10 candidates for the upcoming five-member Alabaster school board during a Feb. 16 work session.

During the work session, which was held at the Alabaster Senior Center, council members Tommy Ryals, Jim McClain, Scott Brakefield, Bob Hicks and Alabaster Mayor David Frings interviewed school board candidates Linda Church, John Myrick, Mike Allen and Trisa Moutardier.

The four candidates, along with Ty Quarles, current Councilman Adam Moseley, Melanie Shores, Jennifer Smith, Eric Starling and Henry Raymond are vying for spots on the city’s first municipal school board. The candidates who didn’t attend the Feb. 16 work session will be interviewed next week, before the council appoints five candidates to the school board during its March 5 meeting.

The 10 remaining candidates were chosen from an initial pool of more than 30 candidates after interviews by the City Council’s Education Committee over the past several weeks.

During her Feb. 16 interview, Church, a former teacher with the Shelby County Board of Education, touted her experience with schools in Alabaster and her knowledge of education.

“At the end of the day, we’ve got to do what’s best for our kids,” Church said, noting she would like the Alabaster school board to set up regular community meetings throughout the city and network with community organizations.

Brakefield said several current teachers have voiced to the council their support for Church.

Myrick, a retired teacher, principal, superintendent and school board member with the Saraland School System, said it will be a “hard” process for the school board to find and hire a quality superintendent.

“It’s very hard, in my opinion, for anyone to find a good superintendent, because you need someone that’s a good leader, and that’s hard to find,” Myrick said.

Myrick said he would work with the other school board members to ensure the Alabaster school district’s success.

“This has been my whole life’s work, and that’s not going to change until the day I can’t work anymore,” Myrick said.

Mike Allen, an Alabama Power employee and a member of several Alabaster municipal boards, said he has a history of working with a “wide variety of people.”

“That would give me a leg up on negotiating with the Shelby County Board of Education a split that hopefully has mutual benefits,” Allen said.

Allen said he would work immediately to reduce the size of Alabaster’s classrooms, provide more funding for specialty teachers and hire more classroom aides.

Moutardier, the president of the Creek View Elementary School PTO, said she would like to see the school board be active in the community.

“I would hate to see any board sit in a room and think amongst ourselves we can solve all the problems an we have all the answers,” Moutardier said. “How do we make decisions for people when we don’t know what they need?”