WINFIELD - In what is believed to be a first in the state, public school teachers and support personnel will have an opportunity to ask questions directly to Alabama Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey.
The state superintendent has agreed to participate in a statewide teacher listening tour with four stops across Alabama scheduled for inclusion. One of the four forums will be conducted in Winfield, with the remaining three confirmed for Saraland and Elmore and St. Clair counties.
The meetings are the result of a discussion between the state superintendent and state Rep. Tracy Estes (R-Winfield). The first-term lawmaker has viewed the exchange with school teachers as a priority since taking office slightly more than a year ago.
“Who better to provide input into the most effective ways to operate and administrate our schools than those in the classroom?’’ Estes said. “The vast majority of the time, new policies and management plans are implemented without input from those who are charged with implementing the plan. These meetings are the first step in correcting this problem.’’
Estes first approached Mackey in August regarding a visit to meet with school teachers in his district. The officials were attending a conference at which time the legislator approached the superintendent with the idea. Mackey was intrigued by the proposal and agreed further discussions would be held.
Further conversations took place regarding the idea before an official from the state superintendent’s office contacted Estes in late November expressing the superintendent’s growing interest in the concept. The official stressed Mackey had embraced the idea and asked Estes’ permission to expand on the plan and carry the program statewide.
Initially, the superintendent offered to schedule the first meeting in the state in House District 17, which consists of Marion County and portions of Lamar and Winston counties. This is the district Estes represents in Montgomery. Considering the idea was conceived by the state lawmaker, Mackey offered to set the first of the four sessions in his district.
But scheduling conflicts eventually prevented such an arrangement, meaning the first meeting will be held in Saraland on Jan. 14, 2020.
The event in Winfield is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 29, beginning at 5 p.m. at the Pastime Theater. The Winfield City School System will serve as the official host of the event with students from the Winfield Middle School culinary arts class providing food for the occasion.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.