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Dr. Terry Jenkins, Search Consultant with the Alabama Association of School Boards, presents the superintendent survey results to the Pell City Board of Education last week. Photo by U. Glidewell

The search for a new Pell City School Superintendent has been narrowed down to five top finalists, including three local candidates.

The top five finalists are Greg Cobb, Leadership Support Specialist with the Alabama State Department of Education and Pell City resident; Dr. Tony Dowdy, Pell City High School Principal; Dr. Cory O’Neal, Principal of Duran South Junior High School in Pell City and Gospel Choir Director at Jacksonville State University; Dr. Matthew Hubbard, Sylacauga Board of Education Executive Director of Supporting Programs; and Dr. James D. Martin III, School Improvement Specialist with Chattahoochee Flint Regional Education Service Agency in Georgia.

The Pell City Board of Education sought the assistance of the Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB) to conduct the search. The AASB accepted applications, ran background checks, and conducted interviews of candidates before narrowing down the list to the top five.

The AASB also received feedback from school employees, students, elected officials, and the community through surveys on what qualities they wanted to see in the new superintendent.

Among the top qualities were communication effectively, ensuring safety and discipline, recruiting and retaining a staff that can effectively serve all students, and increasing student achievement.

“Every strategic plan I’ve done, communication is a big issue,” said interim Superintendent Dr. Frank Costanzo. “For those that look at this information, it is great to have.”

Twenty-eight candidates from eight different states initiated the application process for the position. The five finalists are representative of the information gathered in the surveys from the community.

Dr. Terry Jenkins, Search Consultant with AASB, presented the survey findings and the list of final candidates to the Pell City Board of Education at their meeting last week.

“We ask you to interview all five candidates. It takes a lot of time and effort for them to apply for this position,” Jenkins advised the board. “We suggest spending one full day with each candidate, tour the schools and give the community the opportunity to interact with the candidate.”

Each candidate will be asked 12-15 questions, which are being finalized by the Board of Education members and will be sent to the candidates prior to the interview. Pell City Board of Education President Laurie Mize Henderson said interviews are tentatively scheduled for August 12-16. Interviews will be open to the public.

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