Dothan’s school board will soon embark on a search for a superintendent — again. Dr. Phyllis Edwards issued a letter of resignation last week after overseeing significant changes to the city school system and enduring a great deal of public acrimony in the process.
That’s unfortunate. Dr. Edwards carried out the will of the school board — men and women elected by voters in the city to oversee the operation of the public schools. The school board determines direction, and depends on a superintendent to carry out their directions.
Are the changes made during Dr. Edwards’ administration positive? Time will tell. What’s apparent is that Dothan schools, like public school systems all over the nation, needed attention. Public schools are losing students to private schools, faith-based schools, and home-schooling. Even the state legislature seems to have thrown in the towel, creating a nebulous ranking structure to grade schools and offering a tax credit incentive to families who want to transfer their child from an underperforming public school to a private school.
Dothan’s school board wanted to identify and address deficiencies in the local schools, and hired an administrator to see those changes through.
From that perspective, Dr. Edwards’ work here has been a success, and we applaud her contributions and wish her well in her future endeavors.
The future of Dothan’s schools remains in the hands of school board members. They tapped Dr. Dennis Coe as interim superintendent, and he inherits both a collection of schools still adjusting to the system’s realignment and adapting to additional changes brought on by a continuing pandemic.
The road forward is difficult, and there may well be more changes ahead. We’re fortunate to have a school board with the courage to make changes, and if they don’t work, make more changes.
The alternative — doing nothing and expecting different results — is untenable.
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