By Michael Butler
The Tallassee City School Board has approved Wade Shipman for the position of superintendent. The vote on Monday night was 5-1. Damain Carr was the sole no vote. Board member Danny Ingram abstained.
Shipman served as a teacher with Fayette County Schools. He was superintendent of the system from 2011-14.
"It's somewhat overwhleming when you get the news," Shipman said. "A lot of excellent educators applied. It's just an honor to be in the top four or five."
The board convened for more than two hours with an initial motion made for Dr. Dana Griggs. A 4-3 vote carried followed by a short recess.
"I felt that there was more support for Griggs. To get things moving, that's the motion that I put out there," board chairman Steve Burak stated. "We had gone out to call Dr. Griggs to tell her that the board had elected her and we were in the process of trying to make that contact.
"Word came out that the board members said, 'If we'd gone with Shipman, you could have had a 6-1 vote.' We broke out "Robert's Rules of Order" to see what we could to do. It allowed us to come back and rescind that vote and call for Shipman."
Burak said that he was impressed with all four finalists.
"I was one of those that voted for Shipman as well," he said. "I thought they were were both qualified. I would much rather have a more united board. I'd rather have five that were happy than just four."
Dr. Keith Stewart and Rhonda Stringham were the other two candidates to interview.
"(Stewart) was one of my choices, and he was Mr. Carr's choice. It wasn't going to go past two," Burak noted. "Stringham didn't come into the discussion. All the discussion was around Griggs and Shipman."
The salary for the postion was advertised between $110,000 - $125,000 and negotiable. "The board said let's start at $110,000 and see where it goes," Burak added.
Shipman's is expected to get started in Tallassee in July.
"I will go around to the schools and meet with the principals to make sure they have everything they need to be successful," he said. "A large part of the job is about relationships. I need to establish good relationships. I need to know the people I am leading."
Shipman received his Bachelor's Degree in Education and Social Science from Buena Vista University. He has Master's Degrees from Mississippi State University and the University of West Alabama. He has been employed by the Fayette County Board of Education since 1999.
He and his wife have four children. The eldest is a junior at Vanderbilt. Their other three will enroll at Tallassee in August. "My oldest son will be a senior," Shipman pointed out. "He is excited about the possibility of trying out for the wrestling team. We didn't have a wrestling program at Fayette.
"I will treat your kids the way I treat my kids and I have high expectations for my kids. I expect our students to do their best. I’m very competitive and I like to do my best. I like to win but I do things in a very fair way."