Gulf Shores appoints school board

By: Crystal Cole/ Islander Editor
Posted 12/6/17

The Gulf Shores City Council took another step toward establishing its own city school system at its most recent council meeting as it appointed five citizens to the Gulf Shores City Board of …

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Gulf Shores appoints school board


The Gulf Shores City Council took another step toward establishing its own city school system at its most recent council meeting as it appointed five citizens to the Gulf Shores City Board of Education. The five-member board collectively brings nearly 90 years of related, yet diverse experience and was unanimously selected from a group of 34 applicants. Each board member will serve staggered initial terms from one to five years beginning December 4.

“We were amazed by the level of qualifications all 34 applicants offered,” said Mayor Robert Craft. “We admire each of them for their willingness to serve our community in this critical role and look forward to keeping them engaged in helping to raise the bar for education in Gulf Shores.”

Craft said the five citizens who were selected distinguished themselves in their personal interviews with the City Council.

“We held 20 personal interviews which gave us a tremendous opportunity to get to know these candidates on a deeper level,” Craft said. “The group we have chosen offers an incredible depth of related experience, but also represents very diverse ages, backgrounds and skill sets that will be invaluable as they serve our community.”

The board will represent the Gulf Shores community in all education-related matters including working with the Baldwin County Board of Education to finalize a separation agreement and will ultimately hire the school system’s Superintendent and Chief School Financial Officer.

“We are ecstatic to have this group of extremely qualified residents who will now be empowered to make local education decisions based on the needs and desires of our community,” Craft said.

The members of the Gulf Shores City Board of Education are listed below in alphabetical order:

Kevin S. Corcoran

Kevin Corcoran graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing. He also attended Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law. After moving to Alabama in 1996, he joined RE/MAX of Gulf Shores in 1999 and purchased the franchise in June of 2004, where he and his wife, Domini, are co-owners.

Corcoran has more than 10 years of experience serving on a board of education during which time he held the office of president, vice president and secretary. He served as the Chairman of the Baldwin County Community Advisory Task Force for Education as well as the Co-Chairman of the Island Wide Task Force for Education. Corcoran’s engagement in the community has allowed him to serve on numerous Boards of Directors including serving as President for the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber, Gulf Coast Athletic Club and Dolphin Athletics Club. Corcoran spent eight years providing play-by-play for the Gulf Shores High School Dolphins football team and the last two as the public address announcer at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium for GSHS home football games. Corcoran has eight children, five which have graduated from GSHS, two who currently attend GSHS, and one who attends Gulf Shores Middle School.

Dr. Ralph R. Gold, Jr.

Dr. Gold began his teaching career in 1978 as an elementary physical education teacher and swimming instructor. During his thirty-nine years in education, Gold has held numerous academic positions such as; elementary teacher, high school teacher, junior high principal, athletic director, university intramural director, high school varsity coach and university professor.

Gold received his Bachelor’s degree in physical education from Clearwater Christian College, a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Tampa, an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision from Samford University

Gold and his wife Carolyn have two children. Sherlyn is a nurse in Atlanta and Ralph (Rusty) is a high school teacher and coach.  

Dr. Nichole (Nicky) P. Gotschall

For 17 years, Dr. Nichole (Nicky) Gotschall has enjoyed a successful career in post-secondary education. As an academic administrator, Gotschall chaired the Department of Developmental Studies at Sullivan University. There she was the inaugural recipient of the Above and Beyond Award, Sullivan’s Faculty Member of the Quarter Award. She joined Columbia Southern University in 2007 and chaired the Department of General Education at CSU. Gotschall then served as dean for the College of Arts and Sciences and was later appointed dean of the undergraduate programs at CSU. Gotschall has also participated in the accreditation reaffirmation process at SACSCOC and DEAC institutions. Currently, she is a professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences at Columbia Southern University.

Gotschall is also an active member of the Gulf Shores community. An advocate for the success of all students, she has been a parent representative for Gulf Shores Elementary School’s Parent Involvement Planning Committee since 2012 and the School Improvement Leadership Team since 2014. She has served on the Gulf Shores Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization Board since 2013 and is the current president. In 2017, Gotschall co-authored the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant which awarded $450,000.00 to the after-school program at Gulf Shores Elementary School.

Gotschall holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Livingston University, a master’s degree in the art of teaching from the University of West Alabama and a doctorate in higher education leadership from Walden University.

Gotschall is married to her husband, Mark. They have one son, Ian, who attends school in Gulf Shores. In their spare time, the Gotschalls can be found kayaking or exploring museums and antique stores.  

Dale Kayser Jernigan RN, MSN

Dale Kayser Jernigan RN, MSN, holds a specialty area 5 teaching certification in secondary education. She previously was the Director of Education, and Director of Nursing Administration at SBRMC. Jernigan was a governor’s appointee to the Alabama Board of Nursing, has written two textbooks on standards of practice and human resource management and has published in numerous periodicals. She halted her career to raise two sons, who were educated through Gulf Shores schools, while serving as an active parent volunteer and PTSO officer during those years.

In August 2012, Jernigan was hired to design, implement and develop a Health Science Career Academy at GSHS, where she also teaches progressive levels of health science coursework.

Jernigan and her husband Leo, a Gulf Shores dentist, have been local residents for 41 years.

Kelly L. Walker

Kelly Walker is a Special Needs Specialist for the Georgia Department of Education online school, Georgia Virtual Learning. Walker serves as a liaison between schools, parents and online instructors to accommodate middle and high school students with special needs in order to give the best chance at success in the online classroom. She provides supports to special needs students and online instructors to help raise student achievement. She also creates and administers regular professional development for online instructors regarding special needs students and best teaching practices. Prior to this administrative role, she taught high school science for Georgia Virtual School.  

In her fifteen years as an educator, she has also taught in a traditional classroom. She taught for nine years in a face-to-face classroom working with at-risk students. Some of her roles included leading a team of teachers on a freshman/career academy, mentoring new teachers, coaching volleyball and developing county-wide science curriculum based on state standards.

Walker believes it is important for teachers to have the resources and technology needed to challenge each individual student to prepare graduates to successfully compete in our global economy. She is passionate about providing all types of learners with a rigorous, quality education. Moreover, she recognizes that a quality education rests not only in the hands of individual teachers, but is shared equally with all stakeholders, including students, parents, administrators and the surrounding community.

Walker received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Georgia, and her Master of Arts in Special Education from Piedmont College. Originally from Athens, Georgia, she and her husband Bobby have lived in Gulf Shores since 2012 and have three young children attending Gulf Shores Elementary. She and her family enjoy traveling, being on the beach, fishing, biking, participating in recreation sports and attending Gulf Shores United Methodist Church.

Also approved at the council meeting were:

-The proposed fiscal year 2018 budget. Cindy King, Director of Finance and Administration, talked through the 160-page document which has won the city multiple awards through the years.

“We’ve increased our reserves by another 5 percent this year,” King said. “It’s up to 65 percent from last year, which we hit our target. We’ve done advanced payments on the 2016 line of credit totaling $3 million. Most of that work on the 2016 line of credit was to fund the Gulf Place redesign.”

The budget has an overall total 1.91 percent decrease in expenses from amended budget 2017 to 2018 budget. Decreases are due to reduction in reductions in city match funds for transportation projects and reductions for debt service as well as Gulf Place upgrades. General fund revenue increase of 4.44 percent and expense decrease of .77 percent, primarily due to a 2 percent lodging tax increase approved in 2017 budgeted specifically for infrastructure and transportation improvements.

-Award Bid for County Road 6 Intersection Improvements Project to McElhenney Construction Co. in an amount not to exceed $630,000. McElhenney Construction was the lowest conforming bidder with a bid amount of $604,684.01. Since this is a unit bid contract, Public Works recommends awarding the contract in an amount not to exceed $630,000. The Co. Rd. 6 Intersection Improvements Project will improve the intersection of CR 6 and Hwy 59 to accommodate existing and future traffic demands generated by the Sportsplex, existing and proposed development and tourism. Intersection improvements included in the scope are:

*Hwy 59 southbound right-turn lane onto CR6 West

*Lengthening of Hwy 59 northbound left-turn lane onto CR6 West

*Widening of CR6 West to include additional westbound and eastbound lanes

*Lengthening of CR6 West left-turn and thru lanes

*Restriping and resurfacing of CR6 East

*Mast-arm signal

-A public assembly permit for Robertsdale Rotary Club to host Doc’s Hot Trot for ARC 5k and 1 mile run to benefit ARC to be held June 16, 2018 at LuLu’s Homeport from 6:30-10:30 a.m.

-A contract renewal for Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc. so they may continue to provide representation and public affairs support concerning various federal legislative issues. Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc. monitors and evaluates various federal legislative issues and advises the city on the components of an agency and legislative plan and the appropriate strategy necessary to achieve the goals of such a plan. They also perform such other services with regard to federal legislative issues as mutually agreed to between Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc. and the city. The contract is for $5,500 per month, plus actual and reasonable expenses and is a budgeted item.

-Authorizing staff to pursue 2018 TAP Grant to secure $640,000 to fund the construction of approximately 6,600 feet of sidewalks in the Gulf Beach Walking District. This project will improve pedestrian access and safety in the Gulf Beach District, and will enhance sidewalk and pedestrian improvements currently underway along HWY 59 and Beach Blvd (HWY 182). The total cost of this project is estimated at $800,000, with the city’s total matching share estimated at $160,000. If approved, the city will need to amend the FY 2018 budget to accommodate the match share requirement.