Morgan County Schools Superintendent Bill Hopkins Jr. has been named the next director of schools for the Fayetteville, Tennessee, school system.
The Fayetteville school board met in a five-minute special called meeting Thursday morning and voted 5-1 to hire Hopkins. Board member Joyce Eady voted against the hire. She did not return an email from The Daily.
Hopkins, 53, is in his third term as Morgan school superintendent and earns $145,600 annually.
Hopkins said negotiations on his salary and start date will begin at 9 a.m. today. He said his salary “will be comparable” to his current pay.
Hopkins, a 1985 graduate of Falkville High School, has more than 30 years in education as a teacher, principal and superintendent in Morgan County.
The Fayetteville school board narrowed its list of six finalists to two and interviewed Hopkins and Myles Hebrard, supervisor of special education, Oak Ridge (Tennessee) Schools on Tuesday, Hopkins said.
“I’m excited for this opportunity, and this is definitely a new frontier for us,” Hopkins said. “It’s a really good move financially and a wonderful opportunity to work in a city that has one school system.”
Hopkins will receive his full Alabama retirement as well as his full salary in Tennessee.
The Fayetteville school system has about 1,500 students at one elementary school, one middle school and one high school. Morgan County Schools has 18 schools and about 7,500 students.
Hopkins said he will miss the students and people of Morgan County, where he has spent most of his life.
“Everyone in Morgan County has been very good to me my entire career,” he said. “People who know me know I am a relationship person. I look forward to making new relationships in Fayetteville.”
He said he plans to take his “passion and love for students and their education” with him to Tennessee.
“Based on the way I was brought up, I spend every day trying to do my part of paying back those educators who invested in my life.”
Hopkins said he will meet with Morgan County Board of Education Chairman John Holley at 8 a.m. today to discuss the transition of the superintendent’s job.
“I will not give an opinion (on a successor) unless it is asked,” he said.
Julie Clausen, chairwoman of the Morgan County Republican Party Executive Committee, said it is up to the school board to hire a superintendent to fill out the remaining 30 months of Hopkins’ term. She said if the board is unable to find a replacement, State School Superintendent Eric Mackey would appoint a successor.
In 2018, Hopkins, a Republican, received 78% of the vote in the general election to defeat Democrat Glenn Bryant for reelection.
Morgan County school board member Paul Holmes said he is glad for the opportunity for Hopkins.
“He has done a great job for us and I know he’ll do the same for Fayetteville," Holmes said. “We’ll put a search committee together and find somebody to fill the role until the next election in two years.”
Hopkins replaces Director of Schools Janine Wilson, who is retiring.