Board meets, Thompson criticism looms

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - There were no fireworks at the Montgomery County Board of Education meeting - as some people had expected.

Back for the first time since the controversy broke, Superintendent Barbara Thompson and board members began business as usual.

The gathering comes after board member Heather Sellers delivered a letter to Thompson.

In it, she asks 8 questions about the superintendent's education and the title of 'Doctor' being used -- at times -- in front of her name.

"She is the main person here that should be accountable, and in my opinion, there's been no accountability," Sellers said.

The meeting itself remained fairly quiet.  Board President Beverly Ross replaced anticipated remarks with a warning.

"Comments should not be made in the form of personal attacks toward the board, staff, or others present," Ross explained to the crowd.

One person emerged from the crowd and voiced her concerns.

"There's no cohesiveness. The candidate was brought into the system on a split vote," said Molly Day of Montgomery.

Afterwards, Thompson read a prepared statement, addressing any allegations of wrongdoing.

"There are a few things that people have chosen to point out that are routine issues that occur from a transition period from one administrator to another.  These issues are not steps to intentionally mislead anyone," Thompson said.

She also says the board should bring its focus back to 'preparing students for life,' as the system's motto states.

"We need to focus on what the real issues are here.  The real issues are proration, student achievement, and the dropout rate," Thompson explained.

Still, Heather Sellers says she wants answers--or she'll consider asking for disciplinary action.

"In the business world, if you falsified information when you were hired, you'd be fired. So we'll see what answers are at this point," Seller explained.

Thompson tells WSFA 12 News she plans on responding in writing.

She also says school system letterhead has the term 'Doctor' --and any names, for that matter-- removed from the top of the page.

Her business cards only name her as "Barbara W. Thompson, Superintendent."

Meanwhile, she's continuing work on her doctorate degree electronically with the University of Wisconsin.

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