Board of Education

The Huntsville City Schools are under the direction of a five-person elected Board of Education, with its powers and duties set by Alabama law. Members of the board are elected to serve four-year terms and each represents a geographic area in the city. Board members appoint the Superintendent, unlike other cities in which the Superintendent runs for elected office. The board meets twice a month.

Board Members & Schools by District
Beth Wilder | District 2 | President

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President - As the mother of an elementary-aged daughter in Huntsville City Schools, Wilder became deeply involved in volunteering at her child’s school with the PTA, as a Pre-K Spanish teacher, student mentor, and as Destination Imagination Team Manager. She also served as a substitute teacher and became an advocate for educational initiatives, both locally and at the state level. She is a Leadership Huntsville/Madison County graduate, L-29 & F-30.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Science from the University of Florida, and was a project manager with the St. Johns River Water Management District.

District 2 Schools:
SchoolType
Blossomwood Elementary SchoolPre-K-6
Chapman P-8 SchoolPre-K-8
Goldsmith-Schiffman Elementary SchoolPre-K-5
Hampton Cove Elementary SchoolPre-K-5
Hampton Cove Middle SchoolGrade 6-8
Huntsville Jr. High SchoolGrade 7-8
Jones Valley Elementary SchoolPre-K-6
Lee High SchoolGrade 9-12, Performing Arts Magnet
Monte Sano Elementary SchoolPre-K-6
New Century Technology High SchoolGrade 9-12, Technology Magnet
Michelle Watkins | District 1 | Vice President

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Vice President - Michelle Watkins is a lifelong resident of Huntsville, Alabama. Upon graduating from James Oliver Johnson High School of the Huntsville City School System, she furthered her education at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University by completing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Masters of Secondary Education, and an Education Specialist Degree.

She is also a graduate of Leadership Huntsville Focus Class 27 and a Certified Oracle Instructor. Michelle has taught at Johnson High School and J. F. Drake State Technical College and has been actively involved in various community organizations and activities in the Huntsville City and Madison County area. She presided as PTSA President for Johnson High School during its last school year, and has worked with the Junior League of Huntsville, the United Way of Madison County, the City of Huntsville Community Development Citizens Advisory Council, and the Alabama A&M University Youth Motivational Task Force. Currently, Michelle is a Management & Program Analyst for the United States Army Garrison at Redstone Arsenal.

District 1 Schools:
SchoolType
Academy for Science and Foreign LanguagePre-K-8, IB Magnet
Dr. Ronald McNair Jr. HighGrade 7-8
James I. Dawson Elementary SchoolPre-K-6
Lakewood Elementary SchoolPre-K-6
Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary SchoolPre-K-5
Montview Elementary SchoolPre-K-5
Rolling Hills Elementary SchoolPre-K-6
Dr. Sonnie Hereford Elementary SchoolPre-K-6
Dr. Mae Jemison High SchoolGrade 9-12, College Academy
Elisa Ferrell | District 3

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A mother of five, Ferrell is a former insurance specialist and currently works in adult education at Willowbrook Baptist Church.  She served as President of the Huntsville Council of PTAs from 2012-2014.  She received the National Legislative Advocacy award by National PTA. She was President of the Grissom High PTSA, the Grissom Building Programming Committee and the Huntsville City Schools Policy Committee.  She also volunteered at Mountain Gap Elementary and Farley Elementary. Ferrell is a graduate of Scripps College.

District 3 Schools:
SchoolType
Chaffee Elementary School (Pre-K-5)Pre-K-5
Challenger Elementary School (Pre-K-5)Pre-K-5
Challenger Middle School (Grade 6-8)Grade 6-8
Farley Elementary School (Pre-K-5)Pre-K-5
Grissom High SchoolGrade 9-12
Mountain Gap P-8 SchoolPre-K-8
Weatherly Heights Elementary School (Pre-K-5)Pre-K-5
Walker McGinnis | District 4

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An educator for 36 years, McGinnis is currently a local realtor. He served as assistant principal at Grissom High and Whitesburg Middle schools and was principal at Chapman Middle from 2001-2006. He served for 7 years as a speaker on special education and Section 504 issues nationally. He also spent 20 years as a signal corps officer in the Alabama National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves. McGinnis earned a BA from Rhodes College and a master’s from Alabama A&M. He and wife Jeaneen have two grown children.

District 4 Schools:
SchoolType
Huntsville Center for Technology 
Huntsville High SchoolGrade 9-12
McDonnell Elementary SchoolPre-K-5
Morris P-8 SchoolPre-K-8
Ridgecrest Elementary SchoolPre-K-5
Whitesburg P-8Pre-K-8
[Vacant] | District 5

[District 5 Seat is Currently Vacant]

District 5 Schools:
SchoolType
Academy for Academics and Arts (Pre-K-8) - Performing Arts MagnetPre-K-8, Performing Arts Magnet
Columbia High School - IB MagnetGrade 9-12, IB Magnet
Highlands Elementary School (Pre-K-6)Pre-K-6
Providence Elementary School (Pre-K-5) - IB MagnetPre-K-5, IB Magnet
Williams Elementary School (Pre-K-5) - Gifted & Talented MagnetPre-K-5, Gifted & Talented Magnet
Williams Middle School (6-8) - Gifted & Talented MagnetGrade 6-8, Gifted & Talented Magnet
Meeting Information
Board Meetings

The goal and purpose of a Board Meeting is to effectively and efficiently complete the business before the BOE as outlined by the agenda, and for the BOE to give final consideration to, and vote on matters recommended by the superintendent.  On occasion, the BOE will both consider and vote on matters that are time sensitive during a board meeting.

Board meetings are generally held on the third Thursday of each month.  (On occasion a board meeting will be rescheduled to accommodate events such as holidays and professional training.) 

Although not required, the BOE, as elected officials, acknowledge the need to be of appropriate and reasonable assistance to the constituents of Huntsville City Schools; therefore, the BOE provides an opportunity at meetings of the BOE to receive HCS related questions or suggestions submitted by constituents by using the Constituent Services cards provided outside the board room or via the online Constituent Services Form

Please return completed cards to the basket outside the board room when the meeting is adjourned. Only cards that are filled-out completely will receive responses. The name and residential street address of the Citizen of Huntsville, AL (or annexed area), parent and guardian of a child enrolled in Huntsville City Schools, or Huntsville City Schools employee, making inquiry must be provided. We will be in contact within three business days. (Frequently asked questions may be posted on the HCS webpage and/or shared at a subsequent meeting of the BOE.)

Work Sessions

The goal of a Work Session is to effectively and efficiently complete the business before the BOE as outlined by the agenda that is open to the public to attend and observe as outlined in the Open Meetings Act (Title 36, Chapter 25A). 

Work sessions are generally held on the first Thursday of each month. (On occasion, a work session will be rescheduled to accommodate events such as holidays and professional training.) 

The purpose of a work session is for the superintendent and administration to keep the BOE informed and to present information to the BOE for consideration and discussion.  Voting on superintendent recommendations will generally occur at a subsequent board meeting to allow time for thoughtful consideration of each topic.  On occasion, the BOE will both consider and vote on matters that are time sensitive during a work session.

Although not required, the BOE, as elected officials, acknowledge the need to be of appropriate and reasonable assistance to the constituents of Huntsville City Schools; therefore, the BOE provides an opportunity at meetings of the BOE to receive constituent questions and suggestions related to an agenda item, so the BOE can give thoughtful consideration to the questions and suggestions prior to voting.  

Further, constituents may submit any HCS related question or suggestion by using the Constituent Services cards provided outside the board room or via the online Constituent Services Form. The online version will also allow remote viewers the opportunity to submit questions and suggestions.

Constituents shall return completed cards to the basket outside the board room when the meeting adjourns. Only cards that are filled-out completely will receive responses. The and residential street address of the Citizen of Huntsville, AL (or annexed area), parent and guardian of a child enrolled in Huntsville City Schools, or Huntsville City Schools employee, making inquiry must be provided. We will be in contact within three business days. (Frequently asked questions may be posted on the HCS webpage and/or shared at a subsequent meeting of the BOE.)

After Work Session

As part of the BOE Constituent Services, the BOE, upon completion of the business of the Work Session will adjourn/end the meeting, take a short break, and upon return, provide time to listen to constituent concerns and suggestions during Citizen Comments. 

Citizens of Huntsville, AL (or annexed area), parents and guardians of a child enrolled in Huntsville City Schools, and Huntsville City Schools employees that desire to address the Board at a public meeting, will provide the Superintendent with written notice of their request to speak no later than seventy-two (72) hours prior to the work session. The reason for requesting to appear shall be included in full detail in the written request, and shall also contain the requester’s full name and residential street address. The goal in providing advance notice and full details is to allow the Superintendent and BOE opportunity to be proactive in addressing an issue.

Citizen Comments

As part of the Board of Education (BOE) Constituent Services, the BOE, at the first regularly scheduled board meeting of each month, and upon completion of the business of the Work Session, will adjourn/end the meeting, take a short break, and upon return, provide time to listen to constituent concerns and suggestions during Citizen Comments.  NOTE: Citizen Comments are not heard in connection with other board meetings, including special called board meetings.

Citizen Comments provides an opportunity for the BOE to listen to constituent concerns regarding public education (Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12).

The Board will thoughtfully consider all expressed concerns, issues or requests and may respond at a later date.

Specifications:
  1. Speaker must be a citizen of Huntsville, Alabama (or annexed area), a parent/guardian of a child enrolled in Huntsville City Schools or a Huntsville City Schools employee.
  2. Speaker must have submitted written notice seventy-two (72) hours prior to the work session.
  3. Speaker must state his/her name, address, organization he/she represents, and subject matter prior to addressing the BOE. 
  4. Speaker has up to three minutes to present.
  5. Speakers may not delegate his/her time to another person.
  6. Speakers will not be limited unless they become repetitive or offer no new information.
  7. Speakers must be respectful. Use of any disparaging remarks, comments or statements pertaining to the good name and character of any individual will result in the forfeiture of the remainder of his/her time.
  8. The Board reserves the right to establish such other lawful and reasonable rules and procedures as it may deem necessary and appropriate to further the efficient execution of BOE business.
  9. The specifications will be read aloud by a board member prior to the start of Citizen Comments.
How to sign up to speak during Citizen Comments:
  1. Citizens of Huntsville, AL (or annexed area), parents and guardians of a child enrolled in Huntsville City Schools, and Huntsville City Schools employees that desire to address the Board at a public meeting, will provide the Superintendent with written notice of their request to speak no later than seventy-two (72) hours prior to the work session. The reason for requesting to appear shall be included in full detail in the written request, and shall also contain the requester’s full name and residential street address.
  2. The goal in providing advance notice and full details is to allow the Superintendent and BOE opportunity to be proactive in addressing an issue.
  3. Written notice shall be submitted online through the Constituent Services Form, or mailed/delivered to ATTN: Superintendent; 200 White Street, Huntsville, AL 35801.    
Bylaws
Articles I - V
ARTICLE I

Name

The name of this organization shall be the Huntsville City Board of Education.

ARTICLE II

Object

The object of the organization shall be that which is set forth for city boards of education in the Code of Alabama.

ARTICLE III

Members

The members shall be elected the fourth Tuesday in August and shall take office according to state statute.

ARTICLE IV

Officers

Section 1 - The officers of this Board of Education shall be president, vice president and third presiding officer.  The president shall preside at all meetings of the Board.  The vice president shall preside in the absence of the president and shall serve as timekeeper.  The Board shall elect at third presiding officer to preside in the absence of both the president and vice president and to be timekeeper in the absence of the vice president.

Section 2 - The Superintendent shall be the secretary of the Board as required by state statue.  The Board shall designate the treasurer or School Chief Financial Officer as custodian of all funds of the school system.

Section 3 - Officers shall be elected at the annual reorganization meeting.

ARTICLE V

Meetings

Section 1 - Regular meetings of the Board of Education shall be the first Thursday and third Thursday of each month in the boardroom of the Annie C. Merts Center unless otherwise ordered by the board.

Section 2 - Special meetings may be called by the president or a majority of the Board.  The purpose of the meeting shall be stated in the call.  At least 24 hours prior notice shall be given unless the meeting is deemed an emergency.

Section 3 - A majority of the Board shall constitute a quorum.

Articles VI - IX
ARTICLE VI

Constituent Services

Constituent Services provides time for the Board of Education (BOE) to listen to constituent concerns and suggestions. As part of the (BOE) Constituent Services, Citizens Comments will be held at the first regularly scheduled board meeting of each month, and upon completion of the business of the Work Session. 

Section 1 - Citizen Comments will not be heard in connection with other board meetings, including special called board meetings.

Section 2 - Citizens of Huntsville, AL (or annexed area), parents and guardians of a child enrolled in Huntsville City Schools, and Huntsville City Schools employees that desire to address the Board at a public meeting, will provide the Superintendent with written notice of their request to speak no later than seventy-two (72) hours prior to the work session. The reason for requesting to appear shall be included in full detail in the written request, and shall also contain the requester’s full name and residential street address. The goal in providing advance notice and full details is to allow the Superintendent and BOE opportunity to be proactive in addressing an issue.

ARTICLE VII

Committees

The committees of the Board shall be appointed by the president if they are considered necessary to carry on the work of the Board.  The Superintendent shall be an ex officio member of all committees.

Special committees may be constituted at any time by action of a majority of the Board or the president. Members shall be appointed by the president. At the time a special committee is created, its mission shall be specifically established by action of the Board or by the president. In creating such special committees, the president shall specify the time within which the committee is to make their findings of fact and/or their recommendations for the consideration of the Board. The committee is discharged by the Board's acceptance of its report unless otherwise determined. The superintendent shall be ex officio a member of all committees.  

ARTICLE VIII

Parliamentary Authority

The rules contained in the current edition of Roberts’s Rules of OrderNewly Revised shall govern the Board in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with state statute, these bylaws, and any special rules of order the Board my adopt.

ARTICLE IX

Amendment of Bylaws

These bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting of the Board of Education by a two-thirds vote of the Board, provided the amendment shall have been discussed and submitted in writing at the previous regular meeting.

Standing Rules for Board of Education Bylaws
  1. Meetings of the Board of Education (BOE)
    1. Meetings shall start at 5:30 P. M., unless otherwise approved by the BOE.
    2. Meetings shall not extend beyond four hours. Unanimous consent of board members present shall be required to extend the meeting beyond four hours.
  1. Agenda
    1. All agenda items will be reviewed by the board president and vice president* before the printed agenda is sent to the board. Each board member will have the opportunity to submit items to be placed on the agenda at least 5 days before the agenda is reviewed by the board president and vice president*. All items must be forwarded to the president for consideration. Only the board president and vice president* can edit items to the board package within 48 hours of the scheduled meeting.
    2. The printed agenda for each meeting and all supporting documents should be available to all board members at least 48 hours before each meeting. 
    3. Items not on the printed agenda or items on the printed agenda that require a vote must have supporting documents within 24 hours before the meeting. Any modifications to the printed agenda (within 24 hours) of the meeting will require the majority vote of the board members.
    4. The printed agenda may only be adjusted by the president and vice president* up to 24 hours before the meeting.  Adjustments must be made at the beginning of the meeting.
  1. Constituent Services
    Constituents may submit any agenda item or HCS related question or suggestion by using the Constituent Services online form or paper copies provided at the board meeting. 
    1. We will be in contact within three business days. (Frequently asked questions may be posted on the HCS webpage and/or shared at a subsequent meeting of the BOE.)
    2. Constituents shall return completed cards to the basket outside the board room when the meeting adjourns.  Only cards that are filled-out completely will receive responses. The name and residential street address of the Citizen of Huntsville, AL (or annexed area), parent and guardian of a child enrolled in Huntsville City Schools, or Huntsville City Schools employee, making inquiry must be provided.
  2. Citizen Comments
    As part of the BOE Constituent Services, the BOE, upon completion of the business of the Work Session will adjourn/end the meeting, take a short break, and upon return, provide time to listen to constituent concerns and suggestions during Citizen Comments.
    1. Citizen comments will not be allowed during special called meetings.
    2. No BOE action should be expected on a request or comment under Citizen Comments, since the BOE would want to study/research all proposals or requests.
    3. Speakers may not delegate his/her time to another person.
    4. Speakers must state his/her name and address prior to addressing the BOE. 
    5. Speakers have up to three minutes to present.
    6. Written notice shall be submitted through the online Constituent Services Form, or mailed/delivered to the ATTN: Superintendent 200 White Street, Huntsville, AL 35801.
    7. Citizens of Huntsville, AL (or annexed area), parents and guardians of a child enrolled in Huntsville City Schools, and Huntsville City Schools employees that desire to address the Board at a public meeting, will provide the Superintendent with written notice of their request to speak no later than seventy-two (72) hours prior to the work session. The reason for requesting to appear shall be included in full detail in the written request, and shall also contain the requester’s full name and residential street address. The goal in providing advance notice and full details is to allow the Superintendent and BOE opportunity to be proactive in addressing an issue.
  3. Per Huntsville City School’s Policy 100-13, board members will provide reports about training experiences at the next board meeting following the training.

*or in the absence of the president or vice president, the third presiding officer

Model Code of Conduct for Local Boards of Education

The Board of Education desires to operate with the highest standards of stewardship and principles of public service possible and to that end the board adopts this Code of Conduct to provide that members of this public governing board will:

I. Conduct of Individual
  1. Attend and participate in regularly scheduled and called board meetings.
  2. Read and prepare in advance to discuss issues to be considered on the board agenda.
  3. Recognize that the authority of the board rests only with the board as a whole and not with individual board members.
  4. Uphold and enforce applicable laws, rules and regulations of the local board and the State Board of Education, and court orders pertaining specifically to the school system.
  5. Render all decisions based on available facts by exercising independent judgment instead of the opinion of individuals or special interest groups.
  6. Work with other board members and the superintendent to establish effective policies to further the educational goals of the school system.
  7. Make decisions on policy matters only after full consideration at public board meetings.
  8. Comply with the requirements of the School Board Governance Improvement Act.
  9. Communicate in a respectful, professional manner at all times with and about fellow board members and the superintendent both in and out of the Board room.
  10. Take no action that will compromise the board or school system administration.
  11. Refrain from using the position of school board member for personal or partisan gain or to benefit any person or entity over the interests of the school system.
  12. Inform the superintendent and fellow board members of business relationships or personal relationships for any matter that will come before the board.
  13. Abstain from voting on or seeking to influence personnel or other actions involving family members or close associates or private interests.
  14. Communicate to the board and the superintendent public reaction to board policies and school programs.
  15. Advocate for the needs, resources, and interests of the public school students and the school system.
  16. Safeguard the confidentiality of nonpublic information.
  17. Show respect and courtesy to staff members.
  18. Immediately inform the Superintendent, or their representative, of any concern that needs to be investigated. 
  19. Will not insert themselves into any outside transaction that is being developed or negotiated by the executing arm of the Board.
II. Conduct of Individuals at Board Meetings
  1. Work with other board members in a spirit of harmony and cooperation in spite of differences of opinion that may arise during the discussion and resolution of issues at board meetings.
  2. Take actions that reflect that the first and foremost concern is for the educational welfare of all students attending system schools.
  3. Make decisions in accordance with the interests of the school system as a whole based on system finances available to accomplish educational goals and comply with the School Fiscal Accountability Act.
  4. Abide by and support all majority decisions of the board.
  5. Act on personnel recommendations of the superintendent in a timely manner, particularly when there are financial implications of such decisions.
  6. Approve operating budgets and budget amendments that are aligned with system goals and objectives and are fiscally responsible.
  7. Honor and protect the confidentiality of all discussions during executive session of the board.
III. Conduct of the Board as a Whole
  1. Recognize that the superintendent serves as the chief executive officer and secretary to the board and should be present at all meetings of the board except when his or her contract, salary or performance is under consideration.
  2. Honor the superintendent’s authority for the day-to-day administration of the school system.
  3. In concert with the superintendent, regularly and systematically communicate board actions and decisions to students, staff and the community.
  4. Review and evaluate the effectiveness of policies and programs to improve system performance.
  5. Develop, in concert with the superintendent, the vision and goals for the school system to address student needs, advance student performance, and monitor the implementation of policies and programs.
  6. Provide opportunities for all members to express opinions prior to board action. 
Certificate of Affirmation of School Board Member

As required by the School Board Governance Improvement Act of 2012, I do hereby affirm all of the following principles of educational governance:

  1. That each decision, action and vote I take or make as a member of the school board shall be based solely on promoting and elevating the needs and interests of students or the system.
  2. That I will take or make no decision, action or vote to serve or promote my personal, political, or pecuniary interests.
  3. That each decision, action and vote I take or make shall be based on the best educational interests of the school system as a whole.
  4. That I will consider the views of all members of the board and the superintendent before making a decision or taking an action on any measure or proposal before the board.
  5. That, except to the extent otherwise provided by law, I shall take formal action only upon the written recommendation of and in consultation with the superintendent, and that I may not individually or jointly attempt to direct or corrupt the daily operations of the school system in a manner inconsistent, or in conflict, with the discharge of the statutory functions and responsibilities of the superintendent.
  6. That I shall actively promote public support for the school system and a sound statewide system of public education, and shall endorse ideas, initiatives and programs that are designed to improve the quality of public education for all students.
  7. That I shall attend scheduled meetings and actively participate in school system functions, activities and training programs that promote quality boardsmanship unless good cause is shown.
  8. I shall make the Superintendent aware of any concern or complaint that I, or a constituent, has so that the Superintendent, or their representative, may investigate and report the findings to the Board.
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