Rafael McDaniel retired recently after a 49-year career in public education. Like countless educators across the state, he is sickened by the on-going debacle at the state department of education under the “leadership” of state superintendent Mike Sentance.
So he sent a letter to Governor Ivey expressing his concerns. With his permission, here is what he told the governor:
“Dear Governor Ivey:
Please accept this letter as a representation of the feelings of the overwhelming number of educators in Alabama regarding the present conditions with the State Board of Education and the Department of Education. Irreparable damage has been caused by ex-Governor Bentley, board member Mary Scott Hunter and employees of the state department. This damage continues to expand under the inept leadership of Michael Sentance, legal counsel and political operatives seeking personal and financial gain.
After 49 years of service in the public schools of Bessemer, Vestavia Hills and Jefferson County, I retired eight months ago. I grew up in Alexander City and both my parents worked for Russell Mills their entire lives. Neither had a high school education, but they provided for six children. The teachers at Russell elementary and Benjamin Russell high school changed my life and encouraged me to do the best in school and life. Their influence led me to become a teacher and administrator.
I worked directly for Dr. Craig Pouncey, Jefferson County superintendent my last two years. Not only is he humble, he is a team player and accepts everyone as his equal. He has the respect of teachers, administrators, other superintendents and government officials.
A person of this caliber should have been appointed state superintendent last year. But this did not happen thanks to the influence of ex-Governor Bentley, Mary Scott Hunter, the department’s legal counsel and former interim state superintendent Phillip Cleveland.
There is no excuse for the politically-inspired selection of Michael Sentance. This was a “slap in the face” of dedicated teachers and administrators in public schools. We deserved much better.
I encourage you to review the facts and take immediate corrective action to remove Michael Sentance and select a competent state superintendent. Your actions would send a strong and positive message to all educators and parents.
Thank you for your consideration of this personal request.