Alabaster holds final school board interviews

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabaster City Council held its final round of school board candidate interviews on Feb. 23, about a week-and-a-half before the council is set to appoint the five-member board.

During the Feb. 23 work session, Council members Tommy Ryals, Scott Brakefield, Rick Walters, Bob Hicks and Council President Jim McClain interviewed school board candidates Adam Moseley, Melanie Shores, Jennifer Smith, Eric Starling and Ty Quarles.

The five candidates, along with Linda Church, John Myrick, Mike Allen, Henry Raymond and Trisa Moutardier are vying for spots on the city’s first municipal school board.

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.

The City Council is scheduled to appoint the five-member school board during its March 5 meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. at the Alabaster City Hall Annex.

During her Feb. 23 interview, Shores, who is a professor at UAB and is involved in the PTO at her daughter’s school, Creek View Elementary, said she would like to see a “portfolio grading” system established in the city’s schools.

“I hate it when a teacher does a test, grades it and puts it up without ever discussing why the students missed the questions they did,” Shores said, noting she would like to see kids perform “any kind of performance task where they are applying what they learn.”

Moseley, a current City Council member whose two children attend Alabaster schools, said he would like to see the same curriculum offered across the Alabaster school system.

“We need to improve these test scores, and we need to be consistent in what we are teaching,” Moseley said.

Smith said she would take a fact-driven approach toward making decisions about the schools.

“How do our test scores compare to higher-performing schools?” Smith said. “I make no decisions unless there’s factual information.”

Starling, an H&R Block district manager and parent who attends many school functions as a freelance photographer, touted his experience with the city’s teachers and students.

“I’ve interacted with folks from all over the community. I’m out there in the community, because that’s just who I am,” Starling said.

Quarles said he has been involved with education and children’s programs for many years, and said he would work to hire a superintendent “who has a clear vision of what it will take to get to where we need to be.”

“We need someone (as superintendent) who has enough humility to look at another successful school system as a model,” Quarles said.