Hartselle's Walters becomes Tuscumbia superintendent
By Deangelo McDaniel
firstname.lastname@example.org · 340-2469
HARTSELLE — If Joe Walters had gotten his way, he'd probably be a doctor or engineer.
But the oldest child of a longtime college band director entered music as a college junior and this carried him into education.
Fate has a way of putting you where you should be, he said.
an employee of the Hartselle City school system, is leaving the place
he has called home for 22 years to become superintendent of Tuscumbia
A unanimous Tuscumbia school board hired him Monday night. He will receive a three-year contract that pays $112,000 annually.
Walters, it's not about the power or the money. Accepting the Tuscumbia
job is about fulfilling a dream he developed about 10 years ago when he
entered school administration in Hartselle.
after I got to the central office here, I knew where I wanted to be,"
he said. "For the past 10 years, it's been in the back of my mind."
will start in his new position July 1, succeeding the retiring Royce
Massey. He'll take over a system that has a high school, middle school
and two elementary schools. The system, which includes Deshler High, is
smaller than Hartselle with 1,800 students.
But he'll face some of the same challenges.
have done a real good job with the money, but like systems throughout
the state they are facing some tough times," he said.
The toughest challenge will be trying to build the reserve the state Department of Education is recommending all systems have.
only way to accomplish this, Walters said, is by looking at personnel.
He said this may mean not filling positions when teachers retire.
immediate goal is to evaluate where changes will have to be made," he
said. "What the board wants is a quality product. What they desire and
what I want to do is the same. So I think this is a good match."
Walters, who is director of instruction for Hartselle, finished second in the race for Hartselle's superintendent job in 2005.
In his 22 years with the system in Hartselle, he held just about every position but superintendent.
Decided to study music
1969 graduate of Jacksonville High, enrolled in Jacksonville State
University as a pre-engineering student. His father was band director
at the college. He thought about the medical field, but opted for music.
"I'm probably the only person in the state with 172 hours with a degree that requires 128 hours," he joked.
graduated from JSU in 1974 and taught music one year in Georgia. He
returned to Alabama as band director of West Point High School for
three years. In 1978, he went to Tarrant High School, where former
Hartselle Superintendent Lee Hartsell was superintendent.
When Hartsell came to Hartselle in 1984, he hired Walters to replace the band director, who had resigned.
Walters was the Hartselle High band director seven years before serving as director of special services for eight years.
was director of secondary instruction two years and then for five years
was principal at Crestline Elementary. Walters returned to the central
office when Bobbie Long retired.
He earned most of his advanced degrees, including his doctorate in education leadership, while working in Hartselle.
Walters said he has fond memories of Hartselle and it will be sad when he leaves.
His three sons, Michael, Chris and Josh, are all Hartselle graduates and former baseball players.
"You know, they all wore No. 13 and we followed Hartselle baseball for 13 seasons," Walters said.
His wife, Shelia, teaches at F.E. Burleson Elementary. She has been in the classroom 32 years and can retire.
"I hope she retires and possibly works part time," Walters said.
See story at The Decatur Daily's website: