Birmingham BOE fires Superintendent Castlin-Gacutan

By Barnett Wright

The Birmingham Times

Castlin-Gastlin during a special called board meeting held at Parker High Tuesday July 26, 2016 in Birmingham, Alabama (Frank Couch, The Birmingham Times)
Castlin-Gacutan during a special called board meeting held at Parker High Tuesday July 26, 2016 in Birmingham, Alabama (Frank Couch, The Birmingham Times)

The Birmingham Board of Education Thursday night voted 6-3 to terminate Superintendent Dr. Kelley Castlin-Gacutan’s contract effective immediately. Dr. Gacutan had served as superintendent since July 1, 2015.

In a separate vote, the board selected Dr. Larry Contri to serve as interim superintendent.

The decision to fire Gacutan – known as Dr. G. – came during a packed school board meeting which lasted less than an hour.

Board members who voted to fire were April Williams, Cheri Gardner, Daagye Hendricks, Sandra Brown, Sherman Collins Jr. and board President Wardine Alexander. Those who voted against were Brian Giattina, Lyord Watson and Randall Woodfin.

Castlin-Gacutan was terminated without cause and according to her contract the school system will have to pay her as much as $400,000 for the next two years.

Efforts to reach Gacutan for comment were unsuccessful.

Gacutan, a Hueytown native, held a broad range of positions since becoming an educator in 1991. After completing her undergraduate studies at Tennessee State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree, she earned a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from Brenau University and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. During her career, she has been a teacher, an assistant principal, and a principal; she also served as deputy superintendent of operations for Bibb County Schools in Georgia.

Dr. Contri, who’s been a city schools employee since 1967, is the longest-serving employee within the system. Prior to being named interim superintendent, Dr. Contri served as director of schools. He’s served as a teacher, elementary and high school principals, coordinator of research and planning and more with BCS.

“I’m very humbled and appreciative to the board for placing confidence in this position,” Contri said in a statement issued by the school system. “My plan for the district is to continue our vision and to make it a quality school system – preparing every child for college and career when they graduate,’’ he said.

Dr. Contri is a Birmingham native and product of Birmingham City Schools. He attended the now-closed Holman Elementary School and graduated from Woodlawn High School.

He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama, his master’s degree from Samford University and his doctorate from the University of Alabama.