Coastal Alabama Community College’s new president speaks at First Friday Forum

By Melanie LeCroy
Posted 1/10/20

Coastal Alabama Community College welcomed Dr. Craig Pouncey as its new college president in October, 2019. He spoke to the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber members at the First Friday Forum of …

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Coastal Alabama Community College’s new president speaks at First Friday Forum

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Coastal Alabama Community College welcomed Dr. Craig Pouncey as its new college president in October, 2019. He spoke to the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber members at the First Friday Forum of 2020.

Pouncey told the crowd that he has big plans and hopes to expand the programs offered in South Baldwin County, if he can find a location to house them. The current campus in Gulf Shores does not have the space to expand and building would take approximately two and a half years. He is currently looking for a 50,000 square foot space.

“We would like to add a marine mechanics program and an aviation program. Right now, at our campus at Brookley Field, we had to turn away 60 students because we don’t have room for them. We are also full at our Fairhope campus because aviation is a career that will provide a young person with a great living. We would love to expand that to the Gulf Shores area. We need to expand industrial maintenance because with the condos and hotels, people with industrial maintenance skills can fix most anything.”

Pouncey also encouraged the local business leaders to encourage their workforce to continue their education by utilizing Coastal Alabama Community College’s low tuition and online classes. At a cost of $160 per credit hour, CACC has some of the lowest tuition rates in the state if not the lowest.

“Those kids that got out of high school and went straight into the workforce are supporting many of our local business and industry needs within our communities. We need our business partners to encourage those kids to take advantage of online courses after hours,” he said.

Pouncey also took time at the podium to introduce himself to the crowd.

A career educator and administrator, Pouncey has more than 38 years of classroom and leadership experience in Alabama at the state and local levels. Pouncey’s most recent position as superintendent of the Jefferson County School System is where he is credited with the expansion of both dual enrollment and career technical programs in the area’s 13 high schools, ensuring that pathways for students lead to high-demand skills. In 2018, he was named Superintendent of the Year by the School Superintendent of Alabama.

Pouncey started his career as a sixth-grade teacher in Crenshaw County where he grew up on his grandparent’s farm.

“I got to spend 15 years with my grandparents, and they instilled in me the value of being respectful and treating people right. That has carried me far in my career because that is still the foundation that I use today,” Pouncey said.

At the age of 35 he opted to run for Superintendent of Crenshaw County where he served three elected terms.

“It doesn’t take long to realize that often the barriers that prevented us from doing better for our children existed in Montgomery. In the ways the law was written, or the way funding formulas were calculated,” Pouncey said.

In 2003, Pouncey moved on to work for the Alabama’s State Department of Education for over 10 years where he served as Chief of Staff, Deputy State Superintendent and Assistant State Superintendent of Administrative and Financial Services and Director of Administration and Finance.

His final post was as the appointed Superintendent of Jefferson County. When he took the position, the county had been through four superintendents in four years and had overspent $10 million a year for the four previous years.

“I believe in people. All people want to excel and do good. You just must give them something to believe in. I spent the last five years in Jefferson County giving people the encouragement and sharing in a common vision. At the end of the day the five years were over in October and we had corrected our financial woes, renewed taxes for another 30 years, started a $300 million building program and listed as a B school district. A credit to all the hard-working people we have in Jefferson County,” he said

If you would like an opportunity to welcome Pouncey to the community, the City of Orange Beach is hosting a welcome reception Jan. 14 at the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach from 5 – 6:30 p.m.