Kerby wants DCS to find niche, ‘leapfrog’ other systems

Olen Kerby, Senior Executive Vice President of Sweet Water State Bank and Director and Manager of the bank’s Demopolis office, was added to a long list of nominees for the Demopolis Board of Education at the city council’s last meeting.

Kerby said his goal as a BOE member would be to help the system to find something unique that would allow it to “leapfrog” other systems and other states, adding that such a niche “could be a game changer for our kids.”

Kerby was born in Demopolis and lived in Gallion until age 10.  He attended Demopolis Public Schools until his family moved to Thomasville when the Hobson State Tech Institute opened and his late father, Jack Kerby, was named Dean of Instruction.

He finished high school at Marion Military Institute and graduated from Livingston University in 1977 with a degree in Business Administration.

Kerby’s wife, mother, sister and cousin all are current or former teachers in the Demopolis system, and all three of his sons went K-12 in Demopolis City Schools.

Kerby said his first vision for the system “would be to stop the bleeding.  From there, find the best superintendent and his vision is the one that will be important.

“I do believe we have seen a drain on our teaching and administrative staff, which will be very important to replace with good or hopefully great applicants,” he continued.

Kerby added that order and discipline are critical to a solid school system, along with strong programs such as athletics and art.

“But the main driver is a good staff with high standards,” he emphasized. “If we as citizens do our job right, our school will again grow and be a magnet to the outlying areas. This would help Demopolis grow and enable the school to have more offerings.”

Kerby also mentioned the need for a new middle school facility.

The council will hold a called meeting Monday, presumably to select a BOE member from among the seven nominees.

Editor’s Note: The other six BOE nominees – Gary Brown, Lucy Chu, Hunter Compton, Lee Pritchett, Chuck Smith and Chris Stewart – were profiled in an April 16 West Alabama Watchman story.