Butler County superintendent tapped for post city schools
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Dr. William Michael (Mike) Reed, superintendent of education in Butler County, has been offered the position of superintendent of Hartselle City Schools. His name surfaced as the candidate of choice at a school board meeting Thursday night when board members voted to give him the nod over Dr. Joe Walters, principal of Crestline Elementary School.
The vote to hire Reed followed a motion and a second by board members Jeff Gray and Greg Cain, respectively. All five board members voted for the motion. In a prior motion, Dr. Andy Dukes submitted Walters' name for consideration. Kathy White Goodwin offered a second. The motion failed when it received only their two votes.
In a unanimous vote, the board authorized its chairman, vice chairman and attorney to begin contract negotiations with Reed on condition that the proposed contract be brought back to the board for approval.
The meeting was held in the Hartselle High School cafeteria and was attended by an estimated 150 people. Many of them were school teachers, administrators and support personnel who were in attendance for the board's interviews with six candidates. They applauded loudly when Dr. Walters' name was submitted for consideration and many left after he failed to get a majority vote.
"I'm thrilled and excited," said Dr. Reed, "and I'm looking forward to getting together with the board and their attorney to work out the details of a contract.
"I was very impressed with what I observed in the schools and in the community when my wife, Ann, and I visited there for my interview," he added. "I look at this as a challenge as well as an opportunity, and I look forward to getting started."
Before moving on to other items on the agenda, Abercrombie expressed his appreciation to Dr. Lee Hartsell for his many contributions as superintendent and appealed to other board members to join him in supporting and working with the new superintendent. Dr. Hartsell plans to retire and vacate the position March 1.
He also recognized board members to speak individually on the superintendent search and the candidates under consideration.
Cain said he was impressed with the amount of response the public has given to the appointment of a new superintendent.
"It's obvious from the phone calls, emails and letters that our school system has great public support. In one way, I wish we had six positions to offer. All of the candidates did well in their interviews. This is the toughest decision I've had to make as a board member," he stated.
"I want to echo what Greg said and commend the public for their interest and the candidates for their professionalism," Gray said. "I know some people will be disappointed about the outcome of this meeting. However, regardless of the decision, I hope everyone will unite behind the new superintendent in order that we can move forward for the benefit of our school system, our students and the community."
Goodwin stated, "We've had good response and everything has been positive. We also have good candidates to choose from. Regardless of who gets the job, I know we'll all get behind that person and pull in the same direction."
"I'm thankful that we were able to interview six qualified candidates and members of the board have worked well together during the process," said Dr. Dukes. "I trust God will approve of the choice we make. The question is will we have a divided house or will we come together and support the next superintendent?"
Dr. Reed brings to the position a varied and extensive background of education and experience.
He holds bachelor's, master's of education and doctorate degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and also has completed specialized courses of study at the University of Miami, University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University and Jackson State University.
He has served as superintendent of Butler County Schools since 1999 and previously served as superintendent of the Bay St. Louis/Waveland School District for three years.
He began his education career in 1969 as a social studies teacher and was promoted to positions ranging from assistant principal to assistant superintendent before becoming a superintendent.
He and his wife reside in Greenville. They have one daughter, Rebecca Reynolds Bodenhamer of Gulfport , Miss. She is a classroom teacher.