ELMORE CO., AL (WSFA) - It's a superintendent's race unlike any other in recent memory. The election pits an incumbent against a high school principal; a race that's ended up in court twice, and forced a GOP candidate to become an independent.
Incumbent, Dr. Andre Harrison has 24 years' experience, 17 as an administrator, and is asking voters to allow him to continue the job.
"I want Elmore County voters to know they have an experienced leader that lives in the community and carries the school system on his back," Harrison said.
Richard Dennis is the principal at Prattville High School, with school administrative experience and 27 total years in the industry.
"I've had the experience in the schools, knowing how those parts of the system work, to put it into play and build teamwork and success," Dennis stated.
One issue either candidate will face if elected is sizable system population growth. Elmore County School's student population reached an historic high in the fall of 2016.
"We're doing a feasibility study for the school system, the first time we've ever done it, so we can have a document to strategically guide us over the next years," according to Harrison.
Dennis says he would assess resources in each community and school, to gain a better understanding of the system's needs.
"I would build leadership, not only within the school, but within feeder patterns," Dennis stated. "Because you have to have the coordination from high school, to middle, to elementary, down to kindergarten."
A judge ordered Harrison's name to be removed from the GOP ballot in March due to a missing piece of paperwork, something state education leaders have never witnessed. Dennis maintained the GOP banner, while Harrison is running as an independent.
"It's been tough on my family, and it's been tough on me," Harrison said. "I don't give up, I don't give up on children."
Dennis says he's received a warm reception from the community for his campaign.
"I've had a good response from each community, I feel very good about it," he said.
ON THE WEB: A WSFA 12 News investigation revealed documents surrounding paid research by the Elmore County Probate Judge's office regarding Harrison's missing forms, that resulted in his removal from the March primary ballot.