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Four finalists emerge for Morgan superintendent job

The Morgan County Board of Education last week revealed the names of the four finalists chosen in the search for the next superintendent.  

Robert Elliott, Dr. Cherie Humphries, Brad Stapler and Lee Willis have made it to the final round of selection for the job and will interview for the position left vacant when Bill Hopkins Jr. retired June 30. The new superintendent will serve the remainder of Hopkins’ term, which ends November 2022. 

Taylor Brooks, an attorney with Huntsville-based firm Lanier, Ford, Shaver and Payneassisted the school board with the search.  

There were a number of excellent applicants for this position – in fact there were 20 applicantsall of whom had very strong resumes,” Brooks said.  I think this is a testament to the excellence this board has achieved and its very good reputation around the state.”  

The Morgan County school board met and approved a search process June 11, and a vacancy was posted the following day. Applications were accepted for the position through July 13.   

Brooks shared a little bit about each finalist: 

  • Elliott is the current principal at Brewer High School, a position he has held since June 2019. Previously he spent eight years at Union Hill School and worked as a teacher and assistant principal at both Priceville and Brewer high schools. Elliot sits on the Morgan County Rural Industrial Development board and is the treasurer of the Morgan County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments 
  • Humphries has served in her role as the director of elementary education for the Morgan County Board of Education since 2015. She has previously worked as the assistant principal and principal at Priceville Elementary School and as a teacher in the Morgan school system. She serves at Athens State University on its Regional In-Service Center Board and the University of Alabama at Huntsville’s AMSTI advisory board. She is also a region two representative on the board of directors for the Alabama Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.  
  • Stapler is the current Career Tech director Arab City Schools and assistant principal at Arab High School. Formerly Stapler was the principal at Cotaco School and a teacher and coach in the Morgan school system for nine years. He serves on the Snead State Community College Industrial Advisory Committee and on the boards of United Way and CASA of North Alabama.  
  • Willis has served as the deputy superintendent for Morgan schools since 2011. He was previously the assistant principal at Brewer High School and the principal of the Morgan County Alternative School. Willis is the president of the Decatur Lions Club and a founding member of Cotaco Volunteer Fire Department 

BOE Chairman John Holley said narrowing down the four finalists to one person will be a “tough process.  

We are blessed right now because we have an interim superintendent who is leading like a superintendent and not just in name only,” Holley said, adding interim Dee Fowler has agreed to serve in that role until the position can be filled.  

Holley said while the board has a better idea now of what school will look like, he believes moving ahead with the original timeline – selecting a new superintendent during the first week of school – would be unfair to the school system.  

After discussion, the board decided public interviews for the superintendent position will be held beginning at 4:30 p.m. on both Aug. 18 and Aug. 20, with a selection being made at the board’s regular meeting Sept. 10.