Willie Thomas considers Macon County job

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 19, 2002

Messenger Publisher

Willie Thomas is likely to become the new superintendent of Macon County this week, but the District 1 Pike County Commissioner says he won’t resign his seat.

Thomas, who is assistant superintendent of Troy City Schools, said he is in the final stages of negotiating an offer from the Macon County Board of Education.

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"Nothing is finalized … (but) we will have a decision within the week," he said on Saturday.

And, if he accepts, Thomas said he plans to continue living in Pike County and serving as a commissioner.

"That won’t be an issue because I’ll be residing here," he said. "Do you know how many people drive to Montgomery to work every day? To Dothan? … It’s only an hour drive."

Thomas is in his third term as District 1 commissioner. The part-time job pays approximately $14,000 a year, he said.

"You’re in your district at night and on weekends," he said. " And if there’s a problem, people are going to call you.

The Macon County Board of Education voted Thursday to select Thomas as the replacement for Clima White, who had declined a contract extension. Thomas was among five finalists chosen from the 15 applicants.

Thomas said he was asked to apply for the Macon County position and that his decision to pursue that job did not indicate he is unsatisfied with the Troy City assistant’s job. "I’m not disgruntled or anything like that," he said. "As many years as I’ve put in here … you’ve got to have feelings for it."

Thomas has been with the district approximately 29 years, serving the last 11 as assistant superintendent. "This is an opportunity to experience those things that you go to school for and work for," he said of the superintendent’s job.

The Macon County district includes about 4,000 students with eight schools. The county-wide district encompasses the city of Tuskegee. By comparison, the Troy City Schools include about 2,200 students and five schools, including the alternative and technical centers. "It’s a much bigger district," Thomas said.

He did not reveal terms of the contract, saying only that "naturally you wouldn’t consider anything like that if it didn’t have more financial benefits." The final contract will become public once it is accepted.

Hank Jones, superintendent of Troy City Schools, said he has mixed emotions about Thomas’ opportunity.

"We’re pleased for him and disappointed for Troy City Schools," Jones said. "Willie does a great deal within the school system that people just aren’t aware of, from administering federal programs to disciple …"

Jones added that he is proud of Thomas’ accomplishments and the opportunity ahead for him.

If Thomas accepts the Macon County superintendent’s job, Jones said he probably will not hire another assistant superintendent. "I’ll probably hire somebody as an administrative assistant" and have someone who would do a number of different things.