With less than a full year under his belt as the State Superintendent, Michael Sentance has found himself on the firing line as the Alabama Board of Education decides the fate of his future in the position.
Sentance, who oversees nearly 900 employees at the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), will be under review Tuesday in a special-called meeting by the board.
There, they will decide whether or not Sentance stays in the position.
Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, board members were asked to submit evaluations of the superintendent months ahead his scheduled December review. The request came as a surprise to many members, who said there was no mention of the early evaluation at their July 11 board meeting.
“I believe it is a move to try to unseat him. I believe that this was demanded of us after the last board meeting,” Board member Mary Scott Hunter told WHNT News 19. “If this was so urgent we could have discussed it at the last board meeting, it was not discussed, it was not voted upon.”
Despite his lack of time in the position, Sentance has made great strides to turn Alabama’s failing school systems around. Since he beat out five other educators from across the country for the position last August, he’s:
- Created a new advisory group of educators, which will provide a direct avenue of communication with the state superintendent to discuss important issues regarding education;
- Taken over the 27 failing public schools in Montgomery;
- Received permission from the federal government to allow for standardized testing flexibility as the state drops the ACT Aspire test for its students in favor of an alternative test;
Currently, Sentance’s contract runs through Dec. 31, 2018, but with a simple majority vote the board may terminate his contract at any time. If he were to be let go, he would receive any remaining salary for the balance of his contract for that specific calendar year.
When Yellowhammer News asked Sentance if he believes there’s an effort to get rid of him, he said, “Yes, it is true that some people are working very hard to try to remove me from the position.”
Sentance did not respond to Alabama Today’s request for comment.