By Sam Prickett
For The Birmingham Times
More than half the seats on the Birmingham Board of Education will be decided today in the runoffs. The vote follows an Aug. 22 municipal election that resulted in the stunning defeat of incumbent board president Wardine Alexander in District 7.
Polls open today at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. in the nonpartisan races. Elected officials begin their four year terms on Oct. 24.
The only incumbent still vying to keep a seat on the board is Daagye Hendricks in District 4. All the other Districts — 1, 4, 5, 7, and 8 — will have new representatives. The winners on Oct. 3 will join four others who won outright in August: District 2’s Terri Michal, who secured a narrow win over Brandon McCray; District 3’s Mary Drennen Boehm, who handily beat former interim superintendent Larry Contri and incumbents Cheri Gardner in District 6 and Sandra Brown in District 9.
Cedric Small and Douglas Lee Ragland will meet to see who replaces Sherman Collins Jr. who made an unsuccessful bid for Birmingham City Council. Small received 1,497 votes, 37.10 percent, while Ragland received 1,027 votes, 25.45 percent in the Aug. 22 municipal election.
Small, pastor of New Mount Zion Baptist Church and a political newcomer, is running on a platform of developing “creative ways to engage students, keep parents informed, equip educators and promote community involvement.”
Ragland is the former superintendent of the Midfield City School System who retired in 2010. He also served in various roles in the Birmingham School System from 1978 to 1989, and again from 1998 to 2004. His platform centers around creating responsible board policies, establishing a general fund budget, increasing parental and community involvement, and creating stability in the superintendent’s position.
Incumbent Daagye Hendricks finished with 1,308 votes, 34.29 percent to Edward Maddox’s 1,790 votes, 46.91 percent in the Aug. 22 municipal election.
Hendricks has been a member of the Board of Education since 2013. She had served as the vice president of operations at Wee Care Academy Inc. and worked as a disadvantaged business enterprise liaison and parking manager at the Birmingham Airport Authority. The main issues of Hendricks’ campaign are increasing technical opportunities in Birmingham schools and improving academics.
Maddox, a former board president, had previously served as the District 4 school board representative from 2009 to 2012. He stepped down from the Board of Education in 2012 as part of a plea agreement with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.
Michael “Mickey” Millsap received 1,236 votes, 30.16 of the vote in the Aug. 22 election to David T. McKinney, who 628 votes, 15.4 percent in the Aug. 22 municipal election.
Millsap is an entrepreneurship and innovation professor at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), as well as a volunteer with educational organizations including the Birmingham Education Foundation and Teach for America. He previously served as a teacher at Livingston High School and Sumter Central High School. Millsap is running on stabilizing leadership, investing in innovation, and focusing on holistic education for students.
McKinney is a communications professor at Jefferson State Community College, and has previously taught courses at Miles College and UAB. He is also a member of the National Education Association and the Alabama Education Association. McKinney is running on keeping schools safe, supporting teachers, reducing student-teacher ratios, and implementing grant-writing programs and first-year mentoring programs for teachers.
Patricia S. McAdory and Walter Wilson finished first and second, respectively, in the Aug. 22 municipal election, stunning Wardine Alexander, the incumbent. McAdory accumulated 1,836 votes, 40.21 percent in the municipal elections to Wilson’s 1,530 votes, 33.53 percent.
McAdory served as a board member of the Oxmoor Valley Homeowner Association from 2014 to 2015. She has several decades of experience in the Birmingham school system, having served as a teacher from 1979 to 1993 and as a library media specialist from 1993 to 2010. McAdory is running on increasing communication between the board and the surrounding community.
Wilson has previously served as a constable for Alabama’s 57th district in 2012 and 2016. He has worked as a supervisor for Birmingham’s Department of Public Works since 1999, and as a substitute teacher and assistant football coach with the Birmingham city school system. Wilson’s main issues in the campaign are improving curriculum, hiring qualified teachers, improving parental involvement, and funding extracurricular activities.
Sonja Q. Smith finished with a slim 74 votes lead over Patricia Bozeman-Henderson in the Aug. 22 municipal election. Smith finished with 1,252 votes, 31.44 percent to Bozeman-Henderson’s 1,178, 29.58 percent.
Smith currently serves as a project coordinator for AIDS Alabama; she’s previously served as an instructor at Malcolm X College and ACE Technical Charter High School, both in Chicago. Smith’s campaign is centered on “advocacy, communication, and transparency,” with a focus on community engagement.
Bozeman-Henderson has served as a substitute teacher and special needs case manager with Birmingham City Schools for over the past 15 years. She has also served as PTA president at McArthur Elementary, Daniel Payne Middle and Central Park Elementary Schools. Her campaign has focused on improving workforce readiness in BCS students, as well as improving outreach between the school system, the community, and corporations.