Pelham swears in its first school board members

Pelham City Clerk Marsha Yates, left, swears in new Pelham Board of Education member Brian Long during a Dec. 3 Pelham City Council meeting. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Pelham City Clerk Marsha Yates, left, swears in new Pelham Board of Education member Brian Long during a Dec. 3 Pelham City Council meeting. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

For members of the Pelham City Council and the city’s first-ever municipal school board, Dec. 3 was a long time coming.

“We’ve had a lot of big nights to get to this point, and we (City Council members) get a chance to take a step back,” Council President Rick Hayes said during the Dec. 3 council meeting. “It gives us one heck of an opportunity. All you can ask for in life is a great opportunity, and that is what our city has right now.”

During the Dec. 3 council meeting, Pelham City Clerk Marsha Yates swore in each of the five members of the new Pelham Board of Education, marking the end of a several-month process for the council.

In March, the council agreed to fund a feasibility study examining if Pelham had the resources to form its own municipal school system separate from the Shelby County School System.

On Sept. 9, the council voted to form the city school system, and then appointed the five Board of Education members in mid-November.

School Board members Paul Howell, Angie Hester, Brian Long, Dr. Barbara Regan and Rick Rhoades all took their oaths on Dec. 3, pledging to serve in the best interest of Pelham’s students.

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.

“This is a momentous evening,” Rice said. “It is, I would guess, the high point of our year.

“Thank you all for coming tonight, and I know you will support them in all that they do,” Rice said to the crowd of about 30 gathered at the meeting – many of who were friends and relatives of the School Board members.

The Board of Education is scheduled to hold its first organizational meeting at 2 p.m. on Dec. 4. Among the board’s first duties will be working to find and hire a school superintendent to begin separation negotiations with Shelby County Schools, School Board members said previously.