Fowler resigns, accepts state slot
MADISON – Dr. Dee O. Fowler has resigned as Superintendent of Madison City Schools (MCS). He has accepted the position of Deputy State Superintendent of Education and Chief of Staff for Alabama State Superintendent of Education Michael Sentance.
Fowler announced his decision on Nov. 2 at a specially called meeting of Madison Board of Education.
In conjunction with the meeting, Fowler distributed a prepared statement. “I am very excited at the opportunity to work with Mr. Sentance,” Fowler said. “He has a new perspective on education in our state and it is very easy to see that he has committed himself to our students and teachers.”
Since the district’s inception, MCS has been “an integral part of my personal and professional life,” Fowler said. “Leaving this position is like leaving home. I have been blessed to work with such a wonderful and loving community, teachers and staff.”
“There are no better students anywhere. My heart fills with pride when I think about our community and district. I find great pride in stating that my son attended MCS from kindergarten to twelfth grade and great pride in stating that I work in Madison,” Fowler said.
Fowler has no doubt that Madison Board of Education will hire a new superintendent “who will take our district to even greater heights. My prayer is God will continue to bless the City of Madison and our school district.”
In recent months, Fowler and Sentance and Fowler were finalists for state superintendent.
“The resignation of Dr. Fowler is a sudden but not totally unexpected event,” Madison Board of Education President Dr. Terri Johnson said. Fowler served as superintendent almost 10 years, while an Alabama superintendent’s average tenure is usually less than five years.
The Madison board has hired Dr. Ed Nichols, who recently retired as Superintendent of Decatur City Schools. Nichols will serve as consultant and interim superintendent with the stipulation he cannot apply for the permanent job.
State statutes allow local school boards to take 180 days (May 31 in Madison’s scenario) to fill a school superintendent vacancy. However, the Madison board has committed to finish the search in about two months.
Board vice president Ranae Bartlett explained search options — in-house, outside search firm or a blended approach. The board agreed to a hybrid approach with board attorney Woody Sanderson screening applicants for requisite qualifications.
The new MCS superintendent will face existing issues for the district, including mediation talks for the tax dispute with Limestone County taxes, rezoning to accommodate overcrowding at some campuses, staffing a growth committee, two upcoming renewals for ad valorem taxes and school staffing decisions for the 2017-2018 school year.
Fowler’s last day as Madison superintendent will be Nov. 30.