Meet Birmingham's BOE District 4 candidates - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Meet Birmingham's BOE District 4 candidates

Posted: Updated:

What a year it has been for the Birmingham board of education. A state takeover, a board member forced to resign, and now the system is on two years probation.

Do voters want a new board? Or are they willing to stick with the one they have? Municipal elections next Tuesday will provide the answer.

The district 4 seat was vacated by Edward Maddox after he pleaded guilty to using his office for personal gain. Three candidates now want the position.

All three candidates are familiar with what's been going on with the Birmingham School Board. Each believes he or she can make a positive difference in what has been a negative setting.

"I take the job seriously. I take it so seriously that even though I have not been elected, I've already been to the training for school boards. I've already attended eighty percent of the school board meeting because I needed to know what was going on," said Rodney Huntley, one of the candidates.

"I'm a retired educator and I've worked very closely with the school system in the past. I served for several years as part of the teachers association and I;Ave worked with parents as well," said Gwen Sykes, another candidate.

"I'm a parent. I have a fifth grader who just started school today. And as a parent and an active PTA member, I've just decided to try to see if I can help in a leadership capacity," said Daagye Hendricks, the third candidate.  

District four will definitely see new leadership from one of these candidates. In spite of the scandal and abrupt resignation of Edward Maddox, district four has seen positive signs.

None of the five schools listed in the district  is on the failing schools list. And the district is engaged in a new program  promoting science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Still, there are challenges within the school system with which the entire board must deal.

Huntley has been attending board meetings for nearly three years, and he says he has seen the deterioration.

"There became a rift on the board. And of course you know in the end we had a state takeover," said Huntley.

A review from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools says much of that rift was caused by board members themselves. The review claims members undermined superintendent Craig Witherspoon authority.

Hendricks, who works in early childhood education, says the dysfunction is what she wants to change.

"As a parent, I was embarrassed about the leadership. And one of the things that we have to deal with is governance. And I think I can bring leadership to the position. I can disagree and not be disagreeable," said Hendricks.

However, Sykes suggests the board is within its right to challenge the superintendent when it sees fit.

"If we collectively feel that it is time for the superintendent to go, it should be respected. And a lot of the things that I see happening really reflects the board's inability to exercise the power that they have," said Sykes.

Huntley says it boils down to communication.

"We need to be more specific with the superintendent with what we need from him so he can be more forthcoming and specific with what he's giving us. Better communication back and forth," he said.

Other than changing the image of Birmingham's school board, Huntley and Hendricks say  they want to change how employers view the school system and the students coming out of it.

"If you don't have a group of kids in school who are ready to go to work, or trained for work, or trained for college, then we're already falling behind," said Huntley.

"Why can't we pull together collaboratively with our banking industry and with our school system and with our neighbors to be able to include that in the curriculum," said Hendricks.

Sykes considers her experience key.

"I've worked in leadership all my life. And I believe we need to have someone who knows what's going on the inside and the outside," she said.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:59:40 GMT
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
  • Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:32 PM EDT2014-08-29 23:32:28 GMT
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
  • Hackleburg High School preps for first home game in three years

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:57 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:57:25 GMT
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Rescue workers digging to save man buried in a hole

    Rescue workers digging to save man buried in a hole

    Saturday, August 30 2014 3:56 PM EDT2014-08-30 19:56:01 GMT
    Birmingham Fire and Rescue units are on the scene of an accident where a man has been buried in a hole.More >>
    Birmingham Fire and Rescue units are on the scene of an accident where a man has been buried in a hole.More >>
  • City Council to get update on education in Birmingham

    City Council to get update on education in Birmingham

    Friday, August 29 2014 8:55 PM EDT2014-08-30 00:55:45 GMT
    The Birmingham City Council is hosting a lunch meeting with the Birmingham Board of Education to discuss the current state and direction of the Birmingham City Schools. The meeting will be held Tuesday, September 2, 2014 from 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Regions Bank in the Executive Dining Room."We want to make sure that as a council we are engaged in all aspects of development for our city," Council President Jonathan Austin said. "It is very important that are continually updated on areas such ...More >>
    The Birmingham City Council is hosting a lunch meeting with the Birmingham Board of Education to discuss the current state and direction of the Birmingham City Schools. The meeting will be held Tuesday, September 2, 2014 from 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Regions Bank in the Executive Dining Room."We want to make sure that as a council we are engaged in all aspects of development for our city," Council President Jonathan Austin said. "It is very important that are continually updated on areas such ...More >>
  • Exclusive: Birmingham beats out Miami for DOT conference

    Exclusive: Birmingham beats out Miami for DOT conference

    Friday, August 29 2014 6:34 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:34:48 GMT
    ABC 33/40 has learned that the City of Birmingham beat out Miami for a DOT conference. A date for the conference has yet to be scheduled but hosting such an event gives the city an opportunity to solicit federal funding for transportation projects throughout the metro. Count on us to pass along any new information as soon as we get it.More >>
    ABC 33/40 has learned that the City of Birmingham beat out Miami for a DOT conference. A date for the conference has yet to be scheduled but hosting such an event gives the city an opportunity to solicit federal funding for transportation projects throughout the metro. Count on us to pass along any new information as soon as we get it.More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:45:16 GMT
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
  • Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:22 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:22:34 GMT
    Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
  • Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-08-28 15:37:31 GMT
    William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...