Final superintendent candidate interviews

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Alexis Seymore says education is her passion.

The superintendent of the Dawson Springs (Ky) School System was the final candidate to interview for the Troy City Schools superintendent position. On Tuesday, she told board members and an audience of more than 25 people about how important education is to her.

“I am first generation college …and I am well aware of what education has done for me,” Seymore said. “That’s what I want for every student.”

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Seymore has been superintendent at the Kentucky district for seven years. Prior to that, she served as assistant superintendent for five years and in various administrative positions. She also taught English for 13 years.

That experience and her work ethic set her apart, Seymore told board members.

“Nothing can take the place of experience,” she said. “I’ve been a sitting superintendent for seven years, and I’ve looked at budgets, I’ve looked at personnel, I’ve juggled funds from federal to state to cover expenses …

“I know there are many people who feel that being superintendent at a smaller district is easier because it’s smaller, but I think it’s harder … being a superintendent in a small district is absolutely the best learning experience you can have in education.”

In addition to that experience, Seymore said her parents taught her the value of hard work. “I know there are people out there in the world who are smarter than, but no one will out work me,” she said. “You will have my loyalty and everything I can put into this position.”

Seymore’s district was recognized recently by U.S. News and World Reports as having one of the top 100 high schools in the nation. “That came as a total surprise,” said said when asked by a board member about the recognition. “It was based on the way we educate the lower socio-economic and special education students … and that’s not something we knew about, were nominated for or had to prepare for.

“It’s just the way we do business every day.”

Shoring up the educational weaknesses is an area of focus Seymore said she would bring to the Troy City Schools. When asked where she saw the biggest opportunity for improvement, she answered quickly: “Reading. You do have some significant achievement gaps that I noticed,” she said. By testing reading aptitude in lower grades – kindergarten, first and second – Seymore said her district has seen marked improvement in reading performance.

“And if reading scores improve, it’s going to put you at the next level in other areas of curriculum as well.”

Seymore also said the potential to partner with Troy University “is one of the things that attracts me most, because you do have a respected university right here in town …

“The possibilities for partnerships with that university are almost unlimited … it’s whatever your imagination can dream up and whatever we can afford.”

Seymore was the fifth candidate to interview for the position. The other candidates include Dr. Mike Hall, principal of Pike County High School; Dr. Alan Miller, director of special education, Eufaula City Schools; Dr. Boyd English, principal at Twin Cities, Ga.; and Lee Hicks, principal at Prattville High School.

Board members will meet at 5:30 p.m. today to review the candidates.

“I think we have a good group to choose from,” said Dr. Judson Edwards, vice president of the school board. “They have different levels of experience and come from different sizes of schools.”

Whether or not the board will reach a consensus and vote to offer a contract tonight is undecided. “We’ll meet and discuss where we’re at,” Edwards said.

“My personal opinion is that I want to move out. We’re reaching the end of the month and new contracts for most of these folks will be signed July 1.”

Edwards said he would like the board to select a candidate, complete negotiations and have a signed contract before month-end.

“I feel like I’ll be ready to make a decision (today) but I can’t speak for all the board members.”