Monday, August 27, 2007

Officials want new start for schools


With Anniston now searching for a new school superintendent, some city leaders are hoping for a fresh start for a city grappling with ways to grow.

The Board of Education voted 3-2 Thursday night to end the contract of Superintendent Sammy Lee Felton, who spent much of the summer at odds with some board members over the firing of an assistant principal at Anniston High School.

Some officials admitted this week that the struggling school system at times has weighted down efforts to move forward, but said new leadership may provide a brighter future.

"Perception is that the education offered is not at a level the community would like," said Mayor Chip Howell.

"I say perception, because there are good students, caring parents in this system who want it to succeed, and the community needs to rally behind it."

Anniston has been no stranger to challenges in recent years, with the closing of Fort McClellan, issues surrounding PCBs pollution, and a chemical weapons stockpile nearby.

But, Howell noted, those are finite obstacles.

"The school system and its challenges have continued to be a focus of need," he said.

The school board put Felton on immediate paid administrative leave and installed the system's director of federal programs, Joan Frazier, as interim schools chief.

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