After moving the announcement up by five days, the Enterprise City Schools Board of Education unanimously selected Dr. Zel Thomas to serve as the next Superintendent of Enterprise City Schools in a special called meeting Thursday evening.
With the end of this school year, Thomas wrapped up over two decades with Enterprise City Schools and will leave behind his position of Coordinator of Student Services and drop the “assistant” in Assistant Superintendent. Even after working a total of 27 years in education, he said he still feels like he has more to offer.
“I still feel great. I still feel like I have something to bring to the table, and I hope to continue to bring that,” Thomas said. “I’m excited. We’re doing a lot of good things now, but we can do better in some regards. You always strive to get better. In the world of education, you always have a new crop of kids to work with and see to their needs.
“The objective is to take them all as far as you can take them, and that’s a special opportunity to be able to do that. I have a lot of good people behind me, and with the support of the community, we’re going to make sure Enterprise remains a shining star.”
Thomas said that while he wasn’t 100 percent sure he was going to be chosen for the position, he liked his chances.
“I felt good about it. I wasn’t certain, but I felt good,” he said. “I know what I bring to the table, I know my level of experience and the varying experiences I’ve had and I knew I had a pretty good interview as well, too. It’s a humbling experience, but I’m very excited about the opportunity before me. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m looking forward to working with everyone.”
At the start of the meeting, Board President Rodrick Caldwell said the board understood the importance of selecting the right candidate for the job.
“This is an important, impactful position to fill, and we certainly do not take the decision lightly,” he said. “This selection is from a pool of strong candidates, but a decision that has to be made, and a decision I hope to make in unity.”
Each board member shared an overview of speaking with each of the four candidates’ references. Steven Duke said the overwhelming theme from speaking with Thomas’s references was strong leadership and communication.
The other three candidates were Patrick Cain, assistant superintendent and director of Human Resources of Enterprise City Schools, April Tucker, assistant superintendent of Cullman County Schools, and Dr. Lee Hicks, former superintendent of Troy City Schools.
“We have our superintendent here, I really believe we do,” Caldwell said before issuing his recommendation. Robert Doerer made the motion, Duke seconded and the vote was unanimous.
After the meeting, Caldwell said Thomas’s years of service and experience with the school system was a major factor in his decision to make the recommendation, but also a “touching” email he received from one of Thomas’s former students.