Candidates interviewed for open Autauga BOE seat

From L-R: Autauga County Board of Education members Kelly Ingram, Bob Crane, and Dot Waller; Autauga County School Superintendent Greg Faulkner; Rebecca Davis Devereux
From L-R: Autauga County Board of Education members Kelly Ingram, Bob Crane, and Dot Waller; Autauga County School Superintendent Greg Faulkner; Rebecca Davis Devereux

Prattville – Seven applicants vying for the vacant District 1 position on the Autauga County School Board were interviewed Tuesday night during a special session.

A decision is expected to be made during the regular school board meeting on March 25.

The board seat has been unoccupied since Tammy Starnes officially stepped down on March 15.

Three current board members – Bob Crane, Kelly Ingram, and Dot Waller asked the interested candidates questions separately during an hour and a half time frame. District 5’s Ledronia Goodwin was absent from the meeting.

Autauga County School Superintendent Greg Faulkner also took part in the process.

The following applicants were queried by Crane, Ingram, and Waller:

Jerry Franklin Brown – Elba, Alabama native and resident of Autauga County since 2001, currently in his second year as an administrator on special assignment with the Montgomery Public Schools Truancy/Attendance Department.

Brown has been an educator for over thirty years and all three of his children are teachers.

“I am very familiar with the workings of the school system … I’ve been a coach, an administrator, and a principal,” he said. “I believe the primary function of the school board is not to dictate to the superintendent, but to listen to him and base our decisions on his recommendations.”

Arthur Lee Campbell, III – born in Sylacauga, Alabama, is the Quality Manager for Rheem Manufacturing Company in Montgomery.

Nothing is more important to any individual than to have an excellent education, says Campbell.

“Someone should get the maximum education they can afford and I’d like to assist in ensuring they’re afforded every opportunity to succeed in life,” he said. “I think the board should provide vision and leadership that are in the best interest of the children and the educators.”

Rebecca (Becky) Davis Devereux – moved to Autauga County with her family when she was in the third grade and attended Prattville schools, has been a Senior Client Associate with Merrill Lynch in Montgomery since 1996.

Devereux stated she has a strong commitment to public education and was very proud of the Autauga County School System.

“Everyone says that Autauga County has a great system,” said Devereux. “On the board, I’d like to be able to assist the superintendent, revise policies and procedures already in place, listen to the community and bring their recommendations back to the board.”

Willie J. Lewis – retired pastor and president of the Allegheny West Conference, has been living in Prattville since 2001, currently serving with the Goodnews Ministries, Inc.

Lewis believes that his experience in education will be advantageous if he is appointed to the board.

“I bring role model experience and can share ideas with the board to better ensure the quality of education,” he said. “A primary function of the board is to manage the resources of the federal government, of state government, and of the local government and I have experience in managing funds and implementing policies of an organization.”

Nancy G. Siems – Sanford, Maine native, resident of Prattville since 1986, works as a business office manager with Hospice in Montgomery.

Doing the best for children is the primary function of the school board, according to Siems.

“With proration, there are changes in the federal and state governments. We need to be creative and try things people have not tried,” she said. “I’d be proud to be a member of the board to ensure that we can give the children the best education we can give them.”

Michael P. Whaley – lifelong resident of Autauga County, battalion commander of the Prattville Fire Department.

Autauga County has a very strong school system, Whaley says.

“I believe the county has done a good job overcoming funding issues,” he stated. “I believe everyone deserves an equal opportunity for an education and the board has a strong responsibility when it comes to quality of education.”

Robert Emory Strichik – resident of Prattville for 33 years, is a Government/Education and Corporate Account Manager with Sprint/Nextel.

Strichik’s wife is an educator and he says that he has learned a lot about the field from her and that he works with the Autauga County School System.

“I help the schools with grants, I understand the financial climate and I just want to find ways to get money back in our school system,” said Strichik. “We have to help teachers find their strengths so they can build upon them and teach in the classrooms.”

Article by Melissa Parker

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