SELMA, AL (WSFA) - Setting a new course for Selma City Schools, superintendent Dr. Donald Jefferson discussed his priorities and plans for the system's future.
"I must be honest with you. I'm one of those behind the scenes persons," said Jefferson, a Selma native.
The superintendent acknowledged the job ahead.
"Believe me, education -- public education -- is the best thing going when it's functioning like it's supposed to," he told the crowd at Larry Strickland Performing Arts Center.
Officially appointed in October, Jefferson hit the ground running, drafting a plan to address four key points.
The first involves school safety--an issue that took center stage after shots were fired near an elementary school last month.
"You know, it's one of those situations that, until it happens, you never think of all of the ramifications, but it did force us to look a little bit more closely at policies," Jefferson explained.
Next, Jefferson discussed finding quality teachers and bringing the curriculum to state standards.
The issue is especially important for a system that didn't make AYP this time around.
"We're looking at strengths and weaknesses and we're targeting those," he explained.
Finally, Jefferson admitted to the crowd strong leadership is crucial, though he says improving the system is a team effort.
"To my parents, we cannot educate your child effectively without your support," he explained.
Parents couldn't agree more and say they're ready to help.
"I just think we need to work together and it'll be good. If everybody works together, we'll be all right," said LaFawnda Watson of Selma.
Dr. Jefferson took over as interim superintendent earlier this year.
He comes from the Alabama State Department of Education, where he spent time in each of the 132 school systems across the state.