Willingham gets promotion; Hagood salary set

Walker County BOE hires new CSFO

By NICOLE SMITH
Posted 12/27/18

A new chief school financial officer has been chosen for Walker County Schools, and an appointment has been made for an assistant superintendent.At the Dec. 13 meeting of the Walker County Board of …

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Willingham gets promotion; Hagood salary set

Walker County BOE hires new CSFO

Posted

A new chief school financial officer has been chosen for Walker County Schools, and an appointment has been made for an assistant superintendent.

At the Dec. 13 meeting of the Walker County Board of Education, John Skalnik was named the school system's new CSFO. He will replace Margaret Scurlock, who is retiring.

Skalnik previously served as director of operations and accountability for Walker County Schools. He also formerly held two positions at Jasper City Schools — once as CSFO and later as director of operations.

"John has also worked for Northwest Alabama Mental Health. He's operated multi-million dollar budgets at various organizations, and he has a skill set that you just don't find everyday," Walker County Schools Superintendent-Elect Dr. Joel Hagood said.

Hagood added that Skalnik is a certified public accountant and an attorney, and he currently serves on the Jasper Industrial Development Board.

Skalnik will assume his new role as CSFO after Christmas break.

The school board also approved Dennis Willingham as the assistant superintendent for Walker County Schools — a position that has not been held for a number of years in the school system. 

Willingham has been employed with Walker County Schools as elementary curriculum director and will continue those duties in his new role, in addition to other tasks.

Hagood said Willingham may be the longest standing administrator with Walker County Schools.

He served a number of years as the principal of Oakman Middle School, beginning in 2003, and led the school when it was rebuilt in the late 2000s. In 2013, Willingham was named administrative evaluation director for Walker County Schools, and he has worked in the central office since.

Hagood said Willingham serves on the Alabama Association for Supervision and Curriculum Board of Directors and is a professor in the educational leadership department at the University of West Alabama. Willingham is also a lead evaluator for AdvancED, an organization that accredits primary and secondary schools.

At the school board meeting Dec. 13, the board also appointed Lee Ann Headrick, the board member for District 4, as the vice chairman of the board.

"I'm honored that the other board members have confidence that I can handle the duties, should Mr. [Brad] Ingle be absent," Headrick said in an emailed statement to the Daily Mountain Eagle 

Hagood said he has great faith in all employees of the school system, and he is confident in those taking on new leadership roles as well.

"We've got a very capable staff in moving forward to do what's best for the school system," he said. "I've got some good people surrounding me." 

In other business, the school board:

• Approved an agreement between Hagood and the school system, involving his salary as the new superintendent.

Hagood said the board approved an annual base salary of $165,000 — $5,000 less than the salary received by former superintendent Dr. Jason Adkins.

Unlike Adkins' agreement with the board, Hagood has agreed not to receive automatic travel of $1,000 monthly. Instead, Hagood will only get funding for travel as needed. He will also not receive insurance benefits from the school system.

Hagood said choosing not to receive extra benefits will save tax payers approximately $35,000 to $40,000 annually, in comparison to his predecessor.

"I promised people during the campaign that I would not take those extra perks and benefits, and I'm holding true to that," he said.

In other cost saving measures, Hagood has reportedly cut $360,000 in central office salaries, which includes the elimination of two director positions— along with consultants and administrative assistant posts — since he took office as interim superintendent.