Terry Jenkins, a search consultant contracted by the Alabama School Board Association, is helping the Pell City School Board find a new superintendent. In the past five years, Jenkins has done about 50 superintendent searches. His job is to help Pell City find a replacement for Dr. Michael Barber, the former superintendent.
The school board and Jenkins will work together to find a viable candidate by September 1. Dr. Frank Costanzo was appointed as the interim superintendent, however, Jenkins stated that Costanzo is not actively seeking the position. Costanzo will serve until a permanent replacement is found.
Costanzo, 68, started his career in education as a bus driver, teacher and coach in the Shelby County School System in Columbia in 1973. He served as headmaster of Southern Academy in Greensboro from 1975 to 1982 and Warrior Academy in Eutaw from 1982 to 1987. Costanzo received his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1998.
He worked for the Tuscaloosa County School System for 25 years, starting as an assistant principal at Brookwood High School in 1987. In 1994, he served as the assistant superintendent for pupil support services until he was selected as the system’s superintendent in 2003. He retired from Tuscaloosa County Schools in 2012. He has previously served in several interim superintendent positions, including Sylacauga Schools, Talladega City Schools, and Demopolis City Schools. He was awarded the Superintendent of the Year by Alabama Community Education in 2006 and was a Superintendent of the Year finalist in 2012. He lives in Northport and serves as an educational consultant.
Although there is a sense of urgency to find a replacement before school starts, Jenkins is hopeful he’ll find a new replacement, partially because Pell City is such a wonderful place.
“You have a beautiful community, the lake is a very attractive thing to a lot of people,” said Jenkins. “I think we will be very successful in getting applicants. We already have 16 applicants.”
July 20 is the deadline for applications, and once applications are submitted, Jenkins will begin his search.
“When the applications close out, I have a committee that I work with of retired educators. We will all sit down and evaluate them,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins and his search committee will narrow the candidates down by screening and comparing notes. “My responsibility to this board is to bring five people who are very capable of doing the job.” Jenkins stated.
In return the board has a responsibility to pick the best match out of those five potential candidates. Jenkins is a search consultant and it is not his duty to elect. It’s ultimately the board’s decision to pick who they want to fill the position.
Jenkins said the board emphasized that they wanted someone with administration experience, somebody who can bring in revenue, and who can expand the arts programs.
“Some of the things we do: we do background check, criminal records, we check financial records, bankruptcies, ethics and social media,” explained Jenkins.
Once the board has their top five candidates, Jenkins said the interviews will be open to the public.
Jenkins mentioned that the average superintendent stays in office for 3 years. His advice: “Just keep the focus on the kids, and if you do that a lot of other problems will go away.”
The official first day of school for students is August 8.