In a surprise move, the Dothan City Schools Board of Education (DCS) appointed Dr. Dennis Coe as the new superintendent in a 4-3 vote Thursday night, despite opposition from some board members.
Coe, who was formerly the DCS chief operations officer, has served as the interim superintendent since the resignation of former superintendent Dr. Phyllis Edwards last September.
DCS board members Franklin Jones, Brenda Guilford and Chris Maddox expressed concern over the fairness of appointing someone from inside the system rather than reviewing all applications before a superintendent was named. All three members voted against Coe’s appointment.
The majority said that DCS needed continuity and stability. Voting in favor of the appointment were Board Chairman Mike Schmitz, Susan Vierkandt, Brett Strickland and Amy Bonds.
Schmitz said now is not the time to look outside for leadership, but to look within the system. Schmitz said he believes families of DCS students are weary of change right now considering the happenings of the last year.
“This is such an incredibly challenging time,” Schmitz said. “We have great employees and we need to look within to find leadership.”
Coe said he is excited to move forward as a team and continue with the progress the schools have been making.
“I’m relieved for not only my family and myself, but also for my staff,” Coe said. “They’ve been apprehensive for the last several months not knowing what direction we are going to take, so to have something permanent in place will be a relief for them.”
Information about Coe’s salary and benefits were not released at the meeting.
Recently, an attorney representing Edwards threatened a lawsuit against the school board unless she is paid $584,000 for wrongful termination. The attorney for DCS has denied the claim.
Sydney McDonald is a Dothan Eagle staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334.712.7906. Support her work and that of other Eagle journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at dothaneagle.com.