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To have face-to-face conversations, Madison Board of Education has postponed interviews to May with four finalists for Superintendent of Madison City Schools. Finalists include Dr. Natasha Baker, Dr. Brian Clayton, Sylvia Lambert and Dr. Ed Nichols. CONTRIBUTED

Meet the four finalists vying for MCS superintendent position

The interviews will be streamed live on the school district’s website at

MADISON – An educator with extensive experience in Michigan, two familiar personalities in Madison, and a Decatur administrator are the finalists in the search for a new superintendent of Madison City Schools.

Dr. Natasha Baker. CONTRIBUTED

Dr. Natasha Baker

Currently, Baker is Deputy Superintendent for Hazelwood Schools, enrollment 18,000. She supported negotiation of union contracts with 98-percent affirmative vote from employee groups and drafted the districtwide technology plan.

From 2013-2017, Baker worked as State School Reform/Redesign Officer with Michigan Department of Education and developed accountability system for 72 school districts and 186 schools. In this position, she explained an allocation of $615 million for Detroit Schools to the state legislature. Baker also served as Chief Academic Officer in Firstline School (charter).

Baker presented findings on education reform to Michigan Senate and House of Representatives’ Committees. She also analyzed academic data for the appropriations subcommittee in Michigan Senate.

In the study of English, Baker earned a bachelor’s degree at California State University – Long Beach and a master’s degree from Howard University. In 2017, she received a doctorate’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. She then completed a master’s degree in Finance at Johns Hopkins University.

In addition, Baker completed programs in finance at Dartmouth College and not-for-profit management at Columbia University.

Dr. Brian Clayton. CONTRIBUTED

Dr. Brian Clayton

Clayton facilitated the opening of James Clemens, Madison’s second high school, in August 2012 and coordinated development of all programs in academics, athletics and fine arts. He developed “Refuel Hour,” one hour of flex time for students at midday. In 2018, Clayton was honored as “Alabama Principal of the Year.”

In other positions as principal, Clayton led Liberty Middle School, where he oversaw the school’s transition from grades 7-9 configuration to grades 7-8, 2011-2012; Rock Quarry Middle School, 2008-2011; Tuscaloosa Middle School, where he coordinated closing the school and establishing three new middle schools, 2007-2008; Thomasville High School, 2006-2007; and Hale County High School, 2000-2006. He also worked as assistant principal at Hale County and taught mathematics at Greensboro West High School.

At the University of Alabama, Clayton earned a doctorate’s degree in Educational Leadership; Education Specialist in Education Leadership; Administration Certificate, Class A; and master and bachelor’s degrees, Mathematics. Clayton has held committee and leadership roles in his church and community groups.

Sylvia Lambert. CONTRIBUTED

Sylvia M. Lambert

Lambert holds a bachelor’s degree in special education, University of Mississippi; master’s in learning handicaps and reading, and Master Certification, educational administration, Auburn University in Montgomery; and Educational Specialist, Alabama A & M University.

Since 2015, Lambert has been Principal of Bob Jones High School and has led students in championing academic quality. She adjusts curriculum for 1,850 students that can pursue 31 advanced placement, along with various academics in career technology.

Also at Bob Jones, Lambert worked as Assistant Principal, Curriculum & Instruction. She produced the master schedule and catalog for curriculum and coordinated AP classes. Lambert also was Assistant Principal at Liberty Middle School and Administrative Lead for the district’s Extended School Year Program.

At James Clemens High School, she was Department Lead for Collaborative English and Reading. She taught in that field at James Clemens and Bob Jones. Her first teaching assignment was at Baldwin Magnet School in Montgomery. Her family formerly owned Express Employment Professionals.

Lambert has participated with numerous education committees and training conferences. She has traveled on missions across Europe, Central America and Europe.


Dr. Edwin C. Nichols Jr.

Nichols’ career started as band director at Tullahoma High School and then Austin High School in Decatur. His work in administration started as principal of Austin in 1998. He was promoted to Assistant Superintendent and then to Superintendent for Decatur City Schools.

Since 2016, he has worked as Director of Principally Speaking Network with The Schools Foundation in Huntsville and as Associate Consultant, ERI Services Inc. in Baton Rouge, La. Since 2018, Nichols has been President of ENspire Consulting LLC in Decatur. He also has served as media consultant for Decatur Morgan Hospital and Music Director of Central United Methodist Church.

At the University of Tennessee, he earned bachelor and master’s degrees in Music Education. At the University of Alabama, he completed the Innovative Leadership Program in 1998, followed by Education Specialist credentials in Educational Administration and a doctorate’s degree in Education Leadership.

Nichols has been an Adjunct Professor for Samford University and UA. He has been active in civic and professional organizations and earned honors from state education agencies and community groups. He grew up in Maryville, Tenn.

On April 7, Madison Board of Education will interview Dr. Natasha Baker at 4 p.m. and Dr. Brian Clayton at 6 p.m. On April 8, Sylvia Lambert’s interview slot will be 4 p.m. and Dr. Ed Nichols at 6 p.m.

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