MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery County Board of Education welcomed four new members after a swearing in ceremony at its special called meeting on Tuesday. Clare Weil (District 2), Claudia Mitchell (District 6), Dr. Brenda Deramus-Coleman (District 3) and Jannah Bailey (District 5) are all now officially members of the school board. Minutes after the swearing in took place, board members elected a new president and vice president.
Mary Briers, District 4 representative, nominated fellow veteran Arika Watkins-Smith to be president. The motion was seconded by Deramus-Coleman. Bailey nominated Weil, which was seconded by Lesa Keith of District 1. Weil won in a 4-3 vote.
Briers re-nominated Watkins-Smith for the vice president role. Bailey nominated Mitchell, who won in another 4-3 vote.
Briers said she felt the decision had already been made and lacked transparency.
“Why not elect the person who has experience in education?" said Briers. “Arika has experience, and she has two children in Montgomery Public Schools. She has vested interest."
Keith did not deny there were conversations prior to the meeting.
“She [Briers] already decided her vote as well,” said Keith. “When you’re electing someone new, you have conversations. You talk. We not have a board where every vote is going to be different. Every person is going to vote as an individual. I’ve been waiting for this day for four years."
Superintendent Dr. Ann Roy Moore said the new board members will have to go through training to get up to speed on how the school system runs and what’s required to serve on the board.
She also said AdvancED’s monitoring review of the district is going well.
“It’s been a long day,” said Moore. “There is lots of engagement and interaction, but it’s been positive. I’m still very confident in the work we put in prior to the visit.”