UPDATED: RCS BOE sees two new members
In the Russellville City Council meeting July 17, the council (with the exception of Councilman Darren Woodruff – (District 2) voted in favor of filling the expired Russellville City Schools Board of Education positions of Greg Batchelor (District 3) and Jerry Groce (District 4) with Ike Rogers (District 3) and Howard Hillman, Jr. (District 4).
Hillman’s term will will expire in May 2028, and Rogers’ term will expire in December 2026. All board term ending dates are staggered. Rogers and Hillman were approved through a single vote. The motion for the vote was made by Councilman Dexter Hamilton (District 4) and seconded by Councilman David Palmer (District 1).
Groce described his time on the board as “a great honor and privilege.”
“I am very proud of the leadership provided by Dr. Grimes, our principals, administrators, teachers, coaches and support staff, and they deserve the credit for the success of the Russellville City School system,” Groce added.
“Their success is shown by an impressive improvement in academic performance, advancement in our statewide ranking (#22), national recognition, facility upgrades, the growth and competitiveness of our sports teams and maintaining an environment conducive to learning.”
Batchelor could not be reached for comment.
“I really appreciate Mr. Batchelor and Mr. Groce’s service,” Palmer said. “I really appreciate the time and hard work they have put in through the years, and we just voted to make the changes because we felt it was time to move in a new direction and give some other folks an opportunity to serve. I really appreciate their service, and I think a lot of both of them.”
Rogers, a RHS graduate, along with his wife, said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to serve.
“I have three children in the school system, and my mother and grandmother taught at Russellville,” he said.
Rogers is a graduate of Auburn University and the Alabama Banking School, as well as the president and CEO of Valley State Bank.
Hillman said the role will allow him to help the community, an opportunity he’s eager to begin.
“I’m looking forward to helping the community and the school system in any way possible,” Hillman explained. “I’m a UNA graduate with a GIS degree and a minor in math. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish.”
Woodruff said his vote against the motion was not personal against either Rogers or Hillman.
“I think both will be excellent board members,” he explained. “I voted ‘No’ because the city just annexed Mr. Rogers’ property inside the city limits two weeks ago,” Woodruff said after the July 17 council meeting where the changes were approved.
“I had to consider the public perception in District 3 and in the city as a whole. I requested the votes to be separated, and I was ignored,” he added. “If the vote had been separated, I would have voted for Mr. Hillman. He has lived in the city his entire life.”
RCS BOE member Kim Clonts shared her enthusiasm for the new members. “Both are fine members of our community who love RCS, and I look forward to serving with them,” she said.
The other members of the RCS BOE include Greg Trapp (president) and Radford Hester. Trapp’s current term as a member of the RCS BOE is set to end May 2025. Hester’s term on the board, his first, is set to end May 2026.
* This article contains revisions not present in the print edition.