By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Many questions remain regarding the selection of Michael Sentance for State School Superintendent, a man with no experience as an educator.
The Alabama Political Reporter recently acquired an email in which Sentance withdrew his name from consideration for the position. In an email time-stamped June 27, 2016, 2:19 PM, Sentance informed Juliana Teixeira Dean, General Counsel for the Alabama Department of Education (ALSDE), that he was removing his name for the State School Superintendent due to “a series of personal issues.” Sentance further explained to Dean, those issues rendered him “unable to commit to the challenges of leading the Alabama Department of Education.”
In an email marked Monday, June 27, 2016, 2:53 PM, Dean send an acknowledgment of his withdrawal, “Thank you very much for the time and attention you have devoted to this process. I will relay to the State Board of Education your decision to withdraw your application.”
As promised, Dean notified all State School Board members, Phillip Cleveland (acting Superintendent), and Ann Starks, of Sentance’s decision to terminate his participation in the selection process. Just over 24 hours later on June 28, 2016 3:16 PM, Sentance emailed Dean confirming a voice message he left rescinding his departure for “personal issues.” Sentance’s email states, “Just to confirm my voicemail message, I will remain a candidate for the State Superintendent position. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.” A few minutes later at 3:47 PM, Dean notified the State School Board members that Sentance was back in the bidding. Dean’s email reads, “ Mr. Sentance has just contacted me rescinding his withdrawal and confirming his candidacy” She also writes, “ Should you have any questions, please contact me individually.”
The press is blocked from contacting Dean directly; she is behind a wall of ALSDE bureaucracy.
Why did Sentance withdraw his name from consideration?
What lead Sentance to rescind his withdrawal the next day?
Senator Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) is requesting an Attorney General’s Investigation. He is also working to create his own investigative committee.
Last week, Dial asked the board to postpone finalizing Sentance’s hiring on September 8, to allow time to answer the many troubling questions surrounding his selection.
In 2011, Sentance submitted his name and his resume for the Superintendent position. The board ignored it.