Board to discuss Dilworth contract extension

MPS Superintendent John Dilworth during a news conference 2/26/2009.
MPS Superintendent John Dilworth during a news conference 2/26/2009.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -  In a time of serious economic downturn Montgomery County is losing teachers, shuttering schools and may now lose its leader.

A meeting is planned for noon on Monday at the Montgomery County School Board. The discussion will focus on Superintendent John Dilworth's contract.

Dilworth was a calming force in the system when he came onboard in 2007. The school system was trying to pick itself up after a long court battle with former Superintendent Dr. Carlinda Purcell, and Dilworth lead the effort to refocus attentions on students and schools.

Now, Dilworth, who came from Louisiana after 17 years with the Caddo Parish school system, may be on his way back to the Creole State. (See Dilworth's application documents in the Associated Links section.)

Late Wednesday afternoon the East Baton Rouge Parish school district confirmed Dilworth was one of three finalists to take over as superintendent of their system.

WSFA 12 News' sister station WAFB in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is reporting that Dilworth will interview for the position on Tuesday, March 3. The position winner could be announced as early as Wednesday.

Dilworth broke the news to school board members Tuesday evening and reiterated that he was not looking for a job when the offer was made. The search firm of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates approached him about the possibility of taking the new position. He has plans to discuss the situation with his staff on Thursday.

Board President Beverly Ross said the news wasn't a suprise. "We've been knowing for sometime," said said. "...He's been open and honest about this, but still we wanted to get him to stay in Montgomery because everybody on the school board just loves this man."

"This is not the first time he's been pursued," said Vice President of the Montgomery School Board Melissa Snowden. " I was one of the board members that flew to Shreveport, [Louisiana] when we were interviewing him and I was told by the community leaders back then that he would come back, that they would get him back."

The announcement comes just two weeks shy of Dilworth's second anniversary in the capital city.

"I understand wanting to be back closer to family, " Snowden said, "but John didn't take the first superintendent job. We're very fortunate to have him come here. He turned down many jobs before he accepted this position."

Many of the other school board members WSFA 12 News spoke with said they weren't really surprised to see Dilworth's name rise to the finalist list. They're now waiting to see if he'll be chosen.

Dilworth would not comment directly on the news, only saying he will hold a news conference Thursday morning. WSFA 12 News will be there for that event.

The other finalists Dilworth is competing with are Dr. John W. Covington, a superintendent from Pueblo, Colorado, and Dr. Bonita Coleman-Potter, a deputy superintendent from Jackson, Mississippi.