Today, Coach Willie Spears made the decision to withdraw from the Escambia Superintendent of Schools race.
Here is why:
During my first season as Head Football Coach at Escambia High School I looked at the data for our seventy plus freshmen football players. My quantitative study revealed terrible news. Most of the students were considered at risk because they scored a level 1 or level 2 on the FCAT. Many of them were labeled ESE (Exceptional Student Education) because they had an IEP (Individual Education Plan). Over eighty five percent were minority and ninety percent were considered a product of poverty due to the fact they received free or reduced lunch. The chances of these students graduating were not very likely.
At the time the male graduation rate (all our players were male) at Escambia was forty nine percent. ESE was twenty five percent. Poverty was forty six percent. At risk was twenty three percent. African American was forty two percent.
I implemented a plan and things changed. These are the same techniques and strategies used to educate the most at risk six grade male population in Montgomery Alabama at Valant Cross Academy, a school I help launch. If it worked for these groups I thought it may work for Escambia County School District.
As I looked at the problems in the district I wanted to do whatever I could to help. This past January I started interviewing teachers at different schools, I also polled community leaders in an effort to see if I would have enough support to run for Superintendent.
I sold them on the idea of providing training to reach all students in Escambia County. The district does an excellent job with the middle group, however the gifted students and the sixty two percent who live in poverty are neglected.
I formulated a plan to have our graduates ready for the workforce. Equipped with life management skills and interview skills to obtain one of the 10,000 plus jobs offered by Navy Federal and other local business leaders. We have all heard the phrase “it doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist” when referring to a simple task that doesn’t require brilliance. We fail to recognize the builder of the rocket; the welder, painter, the blue color vocational expert.
I also planned to pay teachers twice a month, pay bus drivers year round and put administrators on two year contracts instead of annual contracts.
My decision to run for Superintendent was not out of spite, malice or personal gain. My natural ability combined with my training qualifies me to help; and that was my intention. My strategy for winning the election was compromised when a Democratic candidate filed this past Friday. My decision to run was based on Malcolm Thomas running unopposed, that has changed. That mixed with my heart strings being connected with Vernon High School has lead me to continue working as Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at the best school in the panhandle.
Escambia County I wish you the best.