Shipman after being hired in 2015
Shipman retires, Nolin assumes interim role
By Michael Butler
Tallassee City Schools superintendent Wade Shipman has retired. Shipman made the announcement at the July 14 board meeting.
"There has been conversation about this for months. It didn't just happen yesterday," Shipman said. "I think we have a leadership group in place that is prepared. I don't feel like I'm leaving Tallassee in a bad position."
Dr. Brock Nolin will take over during the interim period.
"I have the highest regard for Dr. Nolin," said Shipman. "He's prepared himself well. There's not probably anything that I couldn't give Brock, not to just do it but do it at the highest level. He'll do a good job."
Nolin talked about the opportunity to step in.
"I'm excited to take the helm of Tallassee City Schools," Nolin said. "This begins my 16th year with the system and I've lived in the community for 18 years. I look forward to continuing to work with our outstanding staff, both in the central office and our schools. Having worked in our schools for so many years, I've had the unique opportunity to build relationships with many stakeholders. I look forward to a long career in the position, given the opportunity."
Shipman's contract, which renewed automatically in the spring, would have run through July of 2023. Tallassee School Board chairman Don Bryant talked about the retirement option prior to the completion of Shipman's term.
"In recent months, Mr. Shipman intimated that he was considering retirement but was unsure of the timeline. Given the uncertainty as to when that retirement might occur, and in light of the unprecedented situation we face going into this next school year, the board determined that it would best serve the interests of the school system if we entered this next year with more certainty in the superintendent position.
"As a result, we asked Mr. Shipman to go ahead and set his retirement so that we could ensure that stability going forward. Acknowledging his desire to also do what is best for the system, Mr. Shipman agreed to our request. The board agreed that fairness dictates that we compensate him at least some portion of what he would have earned under his contract."
The amount that Shipman will receive is $226,152. His retirement will be official on Sept. 1, 2020.
"We appreciate not only his devoted service to this system," Bryant added, "but also his willingness to step up with such short notice into that uncertain future in order to accommodate the best interests of the school system.
"Besides his role as superintendent, he and his family have been assets to this entire community ever since their arrival, and it is our hope that they can continue to be here among us for many years to come."
Bryant spoke of the process of hiring a replacement.
"Because Dr. Nolin has agreed to serve as our acting superintendent, we are fortunate to be in an excellent position to continue to move forward without disruption as we begin a new school year in the midst of a pandemic. I believe that we are in a unique situation and that our best course of action will be to maintain the stability that Dr. Nolin can provide as we move forward.
"While we are open to considering any qualified applicant, I think it is only fair to publicly acknowledge the very real possibility that Dr. Nolin will be ultimately selected for this position. For that reason, I am proposing a more abbreviated search process than we might have had otherwise."
The system will be advertising the opening for 30 days.
"During that time, we would accept applications from any interested and qualified person," said Bryant. "Those applications would be due during August. We will consider any applications at that time. The law does not require that we interview for this position, but if we determine, based on the applications we receive, that it is appropriate to conduct interviews, we will decide to do so at that time."
Bryant set a deadline to vote on the superintendent's position by Feb. 27, 2021.
"Our hope is to make a selection well before that deadline. Once we have announced our choice for superintendent, we will consider the term of the appointment, the compensation and any other matters that need to be established to complete the process."
Shipman served five years as superintendent. He was hired on July 1, 2015.
"I've had three of my children graduate here. We have no immediate plans to leave the area. We love Tallassee. We love our church. I do thank God for the opportunity to come to Tallassee. It's been good for our family."