Why Does Plainview Not Have a Principal?
February 24, 2015
Southern Torch (3401 articles)

Why Does Plainview Not Have a Principal?

Why does Plainview not have a principal? There’s no shortage of interest. Plainview is the #23 ranked public school in the state of Alabama. The school has very good facilities and a very good record of performance, both academically and athletically. So, why does Plainview not have a principal?

By all accounts, Assistant Principal Marilyn Bryant is doing a great job…but it isn’t fair to her that she’s been saddled with the responsibility of principal and assistant principal just 15 weeks after she arrived at Plainview High School. And there seems to be no urgency in the process from the Central Office as dictated by the timeline of events.

  • December 7: Principal Rita Barksdale submits her letter of resignation.
  • December 17: Board of Education officially accepts Barksdale’s resignation at monthly meeting.
  • January 6: The position for Principal at Plainview High School is finally posted.
  • January 22: No recommendation is made by Superintendent Hugh Taylor.
  • February 12: No recommendation is made by Superintendent Hugh Taylor.

In contrast, the position of head football coach at Sylvania (Matt Putnam) was posted, interviewed for, and filled within a few short weeks.

The Board members have no nomination power. They’re there to defend and look out for their respective school’s best interests. Their power allows them to vote down actions that they believe are arbitrary to the schools and their beliefs. So the question must be asked is it that the Superintendent hasn’t made a recommendation, or is it that the Superintendent will not make the recommendation that the Board members are willing to approve?


Nepotism law? There is the thought that a candidate/candidates involved may conflict with the Nepotism law and this may be the reason Superintendent Hugh Taylor hasn’t made a recommendation. For example: Dr. Jason Barnett, Assistant Principal at Collinsville High School, has put in for the position and is thought to be on the shortlist of finalists. His wife is an English teacher at Plainview High School, which may be the reason the Nepotism law has came into question.

The law states:

(c) Any person within the fourth degree of affinity or consanguinity of a public employee shall not be the immediate supervisor for or in the chain of command of, or participate in the hiring, evaluation, reassignment, promotion, or discipline of, the public employee within any state department, board, bureau, committee, commission, institution, corporation, authority, or other agency of the state.

However, this subsection shall not apply to an employee of a city or county board of education that is currently employed or to a future employee hired into a non-supervisory position posted in accordance with Section 16-22-15, where his or her relative will not be the employee’s immediate supervisor, and where the employee’s relative made no recommendation, cast no vote, and otherwise had no involvement concerning the employee’s hiring.


I posed the scenario of Dr. Barnett to Senator Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City), co-sponsor of the bill itself.


“My understanding of the Nepotism law is that it prevents people from preferentially hiring their family members over otherwise qualified individuals. I cannot see how it would be a factor in Dr. Barnett’s hiring.”

Senator Phil Williams 

If the Nepotism law isn’t a factor, why is it being used as one?

To add to the situation, Hall of Fame football coach, Dale Pruitt, has left Plainview for Albertville. In a community where what’s on the scoreboard matters most, Plainview finds itself without a football coach or someone in place to find that coach. The earliest a principal will be named at Plainview High School is March 19, which will be over 100 days since Rita Barksdale informed the Superintendent that she would be resigning.

So, the question remains…why does one of the top ranked public schools in the state of Alabama not have a principal?

Southern Torch

Southern Torch