Strategic planning underway for Pelham City Schools

Dr. Marcia Burke of Burke Enterprises LLC led the Steering Committee during their first meeting to plan for the future of the Pelham City School System on April 24. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Dr. Marcia Burke of Burke Enterprises LLC led the Steering Committee during their first meeting to plan for the future of the Pelham City School System on April 24. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—The past few days have been eventful for the new Pelham City School System. On April 22, the Board of Education appointed Dr. Scott Coefield as the permanent superintendent of school system, and on April 24, the Steering Committee held its first meeting to determine the future of Pelham City Schools.

The Steering Committee consists of a group of school officials, teachers, parents and Pelham community leaders, including the Valley Elementary School principal Linda Campanotta, Riverchase Middle School principal Charles Smith, Pelham High School principal Robert Lavett. Together, this group will work to create the strategic plan for the new school system.

The process of the Steering Committee will be guided by John Osborn and Dr. Marcia Burke of the Tuscaloosa-based Burke Enterprises LLC, a firm that specializes in the creation of strategic plans for schools. The Board of Education voted to work with Burke Enterprises LLC during a February 24 meeting.

Framing a strategic plan is crucial as it is a “comprehensive roadmap” for the future and creates a “common language and common vocabulary” throughout the school system, Burke said. It also ensures that the school system is in line with state and federal education requirements.

“The planning we put together will guide mine and the Board’s decision making process,” Coefield said to the Steering Committee. “I do value this process.”

During the April 24 meeting, Burke gave an overview of the process to create a strategic plan, culminating in early June with a finished product for the Board of Education to adopt.

The first step in the process is to generate and gather ideas from both the Steering Committee and the community as a whole.

“None of us is as smart as all of us,” interim superintendent Dr. Tim Alford said. “We need everyone’s ideas.”

In order to generate as many ideas as possible, the Pelham City School System will hold a community forum on May 1 at the Pelham Civic Complex and make online surveys available on May 2.

Gathering information will allow the Steering Committee to create a strategic plan reflective of the desires of the community as a whole.

“In 46 years, I have never seen a school system set itself up for success like this one,” said Osborn. “This system is going to be a success and a lighthouse system.”