Randy Wilkes named Alabama superintendent of the year

Published 3:00 am Saturday, October 27, 2018

Phenix City Schools superintendent and former Pike Countian Randy Wilkes was named the Alabama Superintendent of the Year during the School Superintendents of Alabama 2018 Fall Conference at the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa in Florence.

Four years after Wilkes arrived to lead a school system embroiled in controversy surrounding the previous superintendent’s departure Wilkes has boosted Phenix City Schools to statewide esteem.

“I’m very proud of our school system, first and foremost,” Wilkes said.

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Realizing his peers chose to honor him out of the state’s more than 130 superintendents is “very surreal,” Wilkes said. “They’re just as talented and work just as hard. The difference is the people in Phenix City — everyone, from the students and parents, to business and industry, and our employees.”

According to an article in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, since the Phenix City Board of Education hired Wilkes in June 2014 from the Crenshaw County school system, the Phenix City school system raised its graduation rate from 63 percent in 2013 to 96 percent  in 2017, recorded the highest math and ACT score in system history and established a reserve of nearly $11 million.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported other signs of progress the school system has made under Wilkes’ leadership include the deployment of 1:1 computer devices to all students in grades 6-12, the development of the $3 million Dryer Family STEM Center, the $4 million Central High School expansion facility, the addition to Sherwood School, the new transportation facility, and the Friends of Phenix City Schools initiative which raised more than $1.1 million for school needs.

Wilkes is now is a candidate to be the National Superintendent of the Year, which the American Association of School Administrators will announce during its 2018 national conference, Feb. 14-16 in Los Angeles, after reviewing applications and interviewing four finalists.

“We get to tell our story on the national level,” Wilkes said. “That’s huge. It’s affirmation, but we’re not a finished product. There’s still a lot to do.”

Wilkes, a 1985 graduate of Goshen and Troy University where he was a guard on the university’s 1987 National Championship team.

Wilkes has been in education for 29 years. He began his educational career in the Troy and Luverne school systems where he coached football and taught math from 1989-1995. He served as the assistant principal at Highland Home from 1995 until 1996 and then as principal until 2003. At that time he was supervisor for Crenshaw County Schools until 2010. From 2011 until 2014, Wilkes was superintendent of the Crenshaw County School System.

He has been superintendent of Phenix City Schools from 2014 until present.

Randy Wilkes is the son of Gerald and Juanita Wilkes.