Pelham council names members of city’s first school board
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
A financial planner, a telecommunications project manager, a construction products branch manager and two longtime educators will serve on Pelham’s first city school board after they were appointed to the board by the Pelham City Council.
During its Nov. 18 meeting, the City Council voted 4-0 to appoint Pelham residents Paul Howell, Angie Hester, Brian Long, Dr. Barbara Regan and Rick Rhoades to staggered terms on the school board, which will work to negotiate the city’s split with the Shelby County School System.
City Councilman Maurice Mercer was absent from the meeting for family reasons.
The council will hold a swearing-in ceremony for the five board members during its Dec. 3 meeting at Pelham City Hall.
Howell’s term will end in June 2014, Hester’s will expire in June 2015, Long’s will expire in June 2016, Regan’s will expire in June 2017 and Rhoades’ will expire in June 2018. All board members will be eligible for reappointment after their terms expire, said Councilwoman Karyl Rice.
The appointments came about three weeks after the council interviewed 10 finalists for the five-member city school board.
During the interviews, candidates shared several thoughts on the future of Pelham’s schools.
Hester, a telecommunications project manager, said she would like to see the Pelham school board battle “complacency” in the city’s education, and said she would work with neighboring city school systems such as Alabaster.
Howell, a financial planner, said the city’s separation with the county school system will be instrumental in determining the Pelham school system’s future, and said he would like to see the city’s school enrollment grow even after the Helena-Pelham split.
Long, a construction projects branch manager, said his “number-one goal” will be to ensure “good leadership” in the city’s schools, and said he will work to recruit involvement from Pelham’s business community.
Regan, a former educator and school board member, said her past experiences on a school board taught her the importance of developing one-, three- and five-year plans for a school system, and said those plans should include upgrades to the city’s school facilities. She also said she will work to institute a “curriculum mapping” program to ensure Pelham’s educational offerings properly prepare students for the future.
Rhoades, a retired educator, said he will work to ensure the city’s classroom offerings are “uniquely Pelham,” and said he will work for a smooth split from the county school system.
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