By Jeff Helms
MONTGOMERY, Ala., April 20 — The Alabama State Board of Education (SBOE) today named Dr. Eric Mackey Alabama’s next state school superintendent.
Mackey, 48, currently serves as executive director of the School Superintendents of Alabama (SSA). A native of Cherokee County, Mackey began his teaching career in Calhoun County before serving as superintendent of Jacksonville City Schools from 2002-2010.
“I think that we stand poised to do a lot of great things in the state, and I think we can move forward,” Mackey said in his interview preceding today’s vote.
Citing Gov. Kay Ivey’s “Strong Start, Strong Finish” education initiative, Mackey said the superintendent must be focused on preparing students for fulfilling careers.
“Those four simple words encompass a very complex idea — that we want students to be prepared early,” Mackey said. “We want them to have a strong K-12 education, and we want them to finish strong. So, that every child that finishes from our system, whether they’re in a rural county or they’re in downtown Birmingham or they’re in a suburban school system — every child has the opportunity to do what they want to in life. And that’s our responsibility as educators — that we give them the opportunity to make their own choices.”
Mackey was selected from four finalists who were interviewed by SBOE members. He received five votes, and Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Warren (Craig) Pouncey received four. The other finalists were Hoover City Schools Superintendent Kathy Murphy and Texas Star Alliance Principal Robert Scott.
Alabama Farmers Federation’s Matthew Durdin said the organization looks forward to working with Mackey to strengthen academic and career tech programs.
“We’re excited about working with Dr. Mackey,” said Durdin. “As a local school superintendent, he supported successful career tech and agriscience programs. He understands the importance of preparing students for the future and working with parents, potential employers and other stakeholders. Eric has done a good job uniting everyone interested in making education stronger.”
Mackey said he decided to apply for the position in December after hearing the SBOE’s desire to hire a superintendent who would provide long-term leadership for Alabama schools.
A contract will be negotiated and presented to the SBOE at its May 10 meeting. Mackey will tentatively assume the superintendent’s duties May 14.
Mackey earned his bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville State University and holds master’s, education specialist and doctorate degrees from the University of Alabama. He and wife Robin have three sons. They worship at Woodland United Methodist Church in Pike Road.