Fifteen people apply for 2021 Hoover school board vacancy

Fifteen people applied for an opening on the Hoover school board this month, seeking to fill the seat being vacated by Deanna Bamman, who is nearing the end of her five-year term.

The applicants included eight men and seven women, ages 32 to 70, and live in a wide range of communities including Greystone, Bluff Park, Riverchase, Ross Bridge, Trace Crossings, The Preserve, Chace Lake, The Park at Hoover and Shades Mountain.

EDITOR’S NOTE: One of the 15 candidates, Fred Ledbetter of Greystone, has withdrawn his application.

They come from a variety of professional backgrounds, including finance and accounting, education, health care, law, religion, real estate management and computers.

The council plans to conduct interviews in early April and make a selection on April 19, said Councilman Steve McClinton, the new chairman of the council’s Education Committee. The Education Committee will hold a meeting at 4 p.m. on April 19 to vote on a recommendation to the full council, he said.

Whoever is chosen will begin his or her five-year term on June 1. Hoover school board members serve five-year terms on a staggered schedule, with one new board member appointed each year.

Here is some information on each applicant, pulled from their applications.


DOUG COLE

Age: 43

Neighborhood: The Preserve

Occupation: Founding partner of TherapySouth; has served as vice president of operations since 2015 and was clinic director 2006-15; previously was clinic director for Physiotherapy Associates for 3½ years and physical therapist and clinic director for HealthSouth Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center for two years

Education: Master’s degree in physical therapy and bachelor’s degree in pre-professional health services from University of South Alabama

Years lived in Hoover: 19

Hoover school ties: Has three children at Gwin Elementary, Simmons Middle and Hoover High

Community involvement: Young adult Sunday school teacher at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church for 11 years; coach in Hoover Soccer Club (2014-20); former political action committee chairman for Alabama Physical Therapy Association; Alabama federal affairs liaison for American Physical Therapy Association; physical therapy board for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Reasons for applying: Has desire to serve community; firm believer in public education and excited about future of Hoover, which begins and ends with a strong school system

Critical issues: Rezoning to make best use of current facilities; class sizes; effective busing/transportation; equal educational programs and offerings


LUCAS DORION

Age: 42

Neighborhood: Riverchase

Occupation: Associate coordinator for Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; formerly was associate pastor for families with children and youth at College Park Baptist Church in Orlando for four years

Education: Master of Divinity degree from Emory University; bachelor’s degree in congregational studies from Samford University

Years lived in Hoover: 12½ years

Hoover school ties: Two children at Riverchase Elementary and Berry Middle

Community involvement: Berry Middle School PTO Armchair Fundraiser Chairman and member of bylaw review committee; Hoover City Schools Parent Equity Committee and Textbook Committee; Hoover City Schools Foundation Grant Review Committee and Student Council Committee; Hoover Parent Teacher Council treasurer since 2019; Riverchase Residential Association board of directors since 2019; Riverchase Elementary Diversity Committee, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) certification parent advisory board; Lighthouse Blue Ribbon Parent Advisory Board; PTO board (including term as president); Vestavia Hills Baptist Church youth ministry advisory board, deacon and youth minister search committee; founder and director of Collide After School Program (2010-12); Hoover Coalition for Safe and Drug Free Schools Advisory Board (2006-08); school volunteer in Acworth, Georgia, and Orlando

Reasons for applying: Believes in importance of public education and transformative power it has for students and their families; believes in mission of Hoover City Schools and deeply appreciates the system’s excellence and has desire to take active role in its continued success

Critical issues:  Learning deficits related to COVID-19 pandemic; taking action to fully meet federal court desegregation goals and be released from decades-long court case; thinking strategically about issues of equity and diversity; impact of growth, especially on facilities, transportation, staffing and finances


SHILPA GAGGAR

Age: 45

Neighborhood: Trace Crossings

Occupation: Clinical pharmacist, UAB Hospital (2001-present)

Education: Doctorate in pharmacy, University of Michigan

Years lived in Hoover: 13

Hoover school ties: One child at Bumpus Middle School and one at Trace Crossings Elementary School

Community involvement: Served on Hoover City Schools Advocacy Committee; Hoover City Schools Foundation Executive Board (2019-present); Trace Crossings Elementary School PTO board since 2014, including stints as president, treasurer, historian and parliamentarian; Hoover-AHEAD associate since June 2020; Alabama Symphony Orchestra Chorus (2010-present); Birmingham Concert Chorale Executive Board (2008-10)

Reasons for applying: Strong supporter of Hoover schools and believes schools have the ability to ensure every child receives a high-quality education and opportunities for ongoing development and future success; school board should develop policies that couple best practices in education with academic curriculum and benchmarks set by state; advocate for equity in education for all students

Critical issues: Addressing funding as size of district grows but income is not commensurate with growth; taking action to fully meet federal court desegregation goals and be released from decades-long court case, ensuring equitable experience for all students


KIMBERLY GRAY

Age: 41

Neighborhood: Shades Mountain

Occupation: Accounts payable and accounts receivable coordinator for OHD occupational health care manufacturer; has more than 15 years accounting experience; previously worked as operational risk analyst for Cadence Bank; also worked for UPS

Education: Attended Troy University; graduate of Baker High School

Years lived in Hoover: Eight

Hoover school ties: Has son at Berry Middle School

Community involvement: Served on Shades Mountain Elementary School PTO board, one year as president; one year as vice president and three years as treasurer; made and distributed toiletry bags to homeless people in Birmingham on monthly basis; volunteered with United Way

Reasons for applying: Enjoys being part of Hoover community and dedicating time to Hoover schools; wants to provide best learning environment for students and make sure they have tools to perform at the highest level

Critical issues: Acceptance, inclusion and diversity of the many cultures, ideas and people of Hoover


FRED LEDBETTER

Age: Not available

Neighborhood: Greystone

Occupation: Retired attorney and mediator with experience in criminal and civil law, litigation, family law, divorce and post-divorce issues, estate planning, general business consulting; taught at Homewood High School 12 years; was air traffic controller in U.S. Air Force

Education: Law degree; master’s degree in public administration; bachelor’s degree in business management and organization; associate’s degree in applied science in air traffic control

Years lived in Hoover: 30

Hoover school ties: Son graduated from Spain Park High School

Community involvement: Not available

Reasons for applying: Enjoys working with people for best interests of the community, residents and especially education of young people because they will be future leaders of community, state and country; good education is paramount priority for success and fulfilling dreams of young people

Critical issues: Not listed


BRIANA MORTON

Age: 40

Neighborhood: Lake Wilborn

Occupation: Executive director for College Admissions Made Possible since 2019; served two years as assistant principal at Corner Middle School and 10 years as classroom teacher at North Jefferson Middle School and Homewood Middle School; three years as assistant buyer for Saks Inc.’s Parisian Division

Education: Doctorate in educational leadership from Samford University; master’s degree in secondary education and educational specialist degree from University of Montevallo; bachelor’s degree in apparel merchandising, design and production from Auburn University

Years lived in Hoover: Five

Hoover school ties: Has one child at Bumpus Middle School and one at Deer Valley Elementary

Community involvement: Birmingham Education Foundation Community Action Fellow and Mental Health Coalition; Bumpus Middle School PTO fundraising committee; education steering committee for Alabama College Attainment Network and United Way of Central Alabama Bold Goals Coalition; member of The Women’s Network of Birmingham and Homewood Middle School Career Advisory Committee; mentor for Hoover RISE; active in The Service Guild of Birmingham since 2016; former teacher at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church; founder and co-director of Homewood City Schools “Seed to Plate” initiative

Reasons for applying: To be an advocate for all children in Hoover and empathetic ear for parents; to ensure children continue to have access and exposure to opportunities that will develop and enhance their character and personal excellence

Critical issues:  Selecting best superintendent; ensuring equity and representation for minorities in schools and on school board; addressing future growth of city and need for additional schools


ALAN PAQUETTE

Age: 55

Neighborhood: Chace Lake

Occupation: Vice president of property management for Jim Wilson & Associates since 2007; has been in commercial real estate management and operations for about 30 years, except two years as president of Bama Fever retail stores; U.S. Air Force 1985-1993

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Troy University; Associate’s degree from Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois

Years lived in Hoover: 27

Hoover school ties: Two children at Berry Middle School

Community involvement: Chace Lake Neighborhood Board; secretary for Riverchase Business Association; member of Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce and Hunter Street Baptist Church

Reasons for applying: Wants to ensure his children have a great school system and be an advocate for all students; wants to be part of cultivating an environment and culture that is positive and unified and where teachers, administrators, support staff, coaches and students are striving for excellence; believes his experience in commercial real estate taught him broad spectrum of skills, including finance, facilities management, contracts and construction

Critical issues: Funding; quality educators, space allocation; future growth needs; taking action to fully meet federal court desegregation goals and be released from decades-long court case


MADISON PROKOP

Age: 32

Neighborhood: Riverchase

Occupation: Regional manager and clinical recruiter for Envision Physician Services since 2013; formerly office manager for HAS Engineers & Scientists in Pensacola for one year

Education: Master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration from University of Montevallo

Years lived in Hoover: 32

Hoover school ties: 2006 graduate of Spain Park High School; two children at Riverchase Elementary School and third child on way

Community involvement: None listed

Reasons for applying: 100% invested in well being and growth of Hoover City Schools; over past year was vocal about need for children to be in school; believes she can be part of meaningful solutions for Hoover schools

Critical issues: Rapid growth of families moving into Hoover City Schools; determining proper zoning and potential new schools to fit growing student population; make sure student-teacher ration is safe and sufficient for children to reach their highest learning potential; determining need for new facilities; assessing teacher staffing levels and wages; making sure there are enough substitute teachers available; looking into budget further to determine if there are any unnecessary expenses that could be allocated better


DENNIS QUIRK

Age: 66

Neighborhood: Ross Bridge

Occupation: Business consultant since 2013; retired from U.S. Steel Corp. after 36-year career, including stints as shift manager, foreman, tooling engineer, operations manager, organizational development manager, plant manager and general manager

Education: Bachelor’s degree in industrial management and economics, Carnegie-Mellon University

Years lived in Hoover: 8 1/2 years currently; also 1994-2003

Hoover school ties: Two children at Bumpus Middle School and one at Hoover High

Community involvement: Past board member of Hoover Softball Association; library volunteer at Deer Valley Elementary; Hoover City Dad Brigade volunteer 2012-14; Range Mental Health Feed the Needy Holiday Dinner Fundraiser (2006) in Minnesota; various high school and technical school outreach programs to encourage and develop higher work skills in Lone Star, Texas (2009-12); boards of directors for Iron Mining Association and Assumption School (2005-07)

Reasons for applying: This is a critical time for Hoover City Schools. The district is facing many major issues, including working with a new superintendent, budget issues, COVID-19 uncertainties, improving virtual instruction platforms, growing enrollment with need for future capital expenditures; believes his background in business management, managing large budgets, engaging large groups of employees and building consensus and making difficult decisions could be useful to Hoover City Schools; deeply passionate about Hoover City Schools; has flexible work schedule

Critical issues:  Working with new superintendent; managing any budget shortfalls; managing increasing enrollment while improving the quality of education; increasing funding by working with superintendent and public officials; COVID-19 and associated recovery issues


NANNIE REED

Age: 44

Neighborhood: The Park at Hoover apartment complex

Occupation: Birmingham assistant city attorney since April 2020; staff attorney for Legal Services of Alabama 2017-20; manager of project for nonprofit Lullaby Guild, focusing on academic and social educational programming for young Black and Latina females in foster care in Los Angeles County 2015-20; law clerk in Mobile, Columbia, South Carolina, and Tokyo (2011-13)

Education: Law degree, Samford University; master’s degree in mass communication, Miami University of Ohio; bachelor’s degree in English literature, Spelman College

Years lived in Hoover: Four

Hoover school ties: None

Community involvement: WBHM Junior Board member; project manager for Lullaby Guild nonprofit; PBS African-American Council, 2014; Healing and Hope for the Homeless Project volunteer; Delta Sigma Theta service sorority

Reasons for applying: Wants to do more for her neighbors and children in Hoover (including her future children); interested in schools in regard to COVID-19 pandemic and other health and safety issues schools face, diversity and inclusion among students and educators, and helping parents feel they have a voice and place at the table; the Board of Education should reflect the landscape and values of the community

Critical issues: Full reopening of schools in regard to COVID-19; children feeling emotionally and physically safe in their learning environment without fear of shaming, bullying and violence; children with disabilities having equity in education


ROBIN SCHULTZ

Age: 58

Neighborhood: Bluff Park

Occupation: Owner, senior network engineer and cybersecurity consultant with PC Medics of Alabama; owner of Bluff Park Drone, an aerial videography and photography company; network administrator for Alabama Psychiatric Services (2000-16)

Education: Palm Beach Gardens High School graduate; Microsoft certified systems engineer; licensed Federal Aviation Administration remote pilot

Years lived in Hoover: 32

Hoover school ties: Three children graduated from Hoover High School; grandson at Simmons Middle School

Community involvement: Attended Hoover school board meetings since 2007; co-founder of Learning to be the Light nonprofit that refurbishes computers and gives them to needy Hoover students; appointed to several Hoover City Schools committees by former superintendents (2015-21); Hoover City Schools Foundation board member (2016-19); Hoover Parks and Recreation youth baseball umpire (1997-2007) and youth coach (2017-present); founder & CEO of BluffParkAL.org website (2006-present); Hoover City Dad Brigade team leader (2017-present); Hoover Special Education Community Alliance steering committee (2016-17)

Reasons for applying: Believes school board should represent residents of Hoover, including those who, like him, do not have a college degree but have been successful; As non-English-speaking immigrant who learned English in first year in United States, believes he can relate to Hoover’s large immigrant population; believes he has knowledge and passion to continue making Hoover a top-rated school system in the country

Critical issues: COVID-19 issues; capital improvements, including new facilities; school capacity issues; funding issues; zoning issues


JACKIE TAYLOR

Age: 50

Neighborhood: Riverchase

Occupation: Worked for HealthSouth 1992-2003, including positions such as vice president for inpatient operations; assistant vice president; operations coordinator and senior human resources coordinator

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration, Auburn University

Years lived in Hoover: 20

Hoover school ties: Two children at Spain Park High School and one at Berry Middle; two children who are graduates of the Hoover school system; sister is former principal at Shades Mountain Elementary

Community involvement: Former volunteer coordinator for Riverchase Elementary PTO; has served as room parent and Read-A-Thon chairwoman; recently matched nursing home residents with Hoover children during the COVID-19 quarantine time; organized support for a teacher battling brain cancer; held Bible studies for fifth-graders and teens

Reasons for applying: Wants the best outcome for Hoover children and for them to reach their fullest potential

Critical issues:  Deficit in academic development due to pandemic; opportunities to promote unity of purpose and spirit throughout schools and within each student body


HENRY TORRES III

Age: 49

Neighborhood: Trace Crossings

Occupation: Assistant treasurer, Cadence Bank (2018-current); worked in institutional fixed income sales with Morgan Stanley (2014-18); has been in financial services more than 20 years

Education: Master’s degree in accountancy, University of Houston; bachelor’s degree in political science, University of St. Thomas in Houston

Years lived in Hoover: 12

Hoover school ties: Two children at Hoover High School and one at Bumpus Middle School

Community involvement: Farm For Hope director (2021); volunteer on usher team and English as a Second Language ministry at Church of the Highlands; Lemonade Day volunteer (2019)

Reasons for applying: To bring the perspective of a parent of children with a wide variety of educational experiences; children need to be prepared to compete on the state and national level by establishing support and mentoring they deserve; school system should be identifying and clearing roadblocks so administrators and teachers can focus on students and their progress

Critical issues: Students falling behind due to COVID-19; aligning student and parent goals


CODY WATSON

Age: 70

Neighborhood: Bluff Park

Occupation: Associate director, Frontier Fellowship; former intern with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ); was missionary for three years in South Korea and three years in Bangladesh; former director of Presbyterian Center for Mission Studies in Pasadena, California; pastored two Presbyterian churches in South Carolina

Education: Doctorate, Columbia Theological Seminary; bachelor’s degree in business administration, Emory University; associate’s degree, Emory University at Oxford

Years lived in Hoover: 26

Hoover school ties: Son graduated from Hoover High School in 2014

Community involvement: Volunteer food deliverer for Good Shepherd Society; Sunday Club volunteer (2000-20); Hands on Birmingham volunteer since 2008

Reasons for applying: Is concerned about the drift of young people these days and wants to have an impact.

Critical issues:  Don’t know.


CHASTITY WESTRY

Age: 46

Neighborhood: Ross Bridge

Occupation: Former agriculture and food industry executive now pursuing her passion as child advocate/adoption attorney; held five executive positions with Pepsico/Frito Lay North America over 10 years, ending as senior director of sales (2008-18); regional sales manager for General Mills (2004-08); national account manager for Pilgrim’s Pride (2001-04)

Education: Law degree, Birmingham School of Law; Master’s degree in business administration, Keller Graduate School of Management in Atlanta; bachelor’s degree in agribusiness and economics, Auburn University

Years lived in Hoover: Five

Hoover school ties: Son at Bumpus Middle School

Community involvement: Auburn University Alumni Board; Leadership Hoover board of directors; Children’s Village of Birmingham board of directors; volunteer for Children’s Policy Council and Junior League of Birmingham; Auburn University Agriculture Alumni Board (2017-21)

Reasons for applying: Wants to see as many children succeed as possible; believes her experience as executive in agriculture and food industry (overseeing more than 1,000 people and revenues over $1 billion) will benefit Hoover City Schools; every child influences the trajectory of the community, state and country

Critical issues: Academic equality; usage of technology and traditional methods of teaching; serving the whole child (education, social and emotional learning)