The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 18, 2013

UPDATE: Swanner ‘welcomed home’ as school finance chief

Limestone school system hires its interim CSFO to fill vacancy

By Kim West

— The Limestone County Board of Education on Thursday voted 6-0 to select Ann Swanner as chief school finance officer.

During a 10-minute special meeting, six board members approved hiring Swanner, the system’s interim CSFO. She also served as Limestone’s finance director from 1984 to 1997.

Board member Bret McGill, who favored choosing Swanner, said he abstained from the vote since he was out of town when the final three candidates interviewed with the school board.

During closing remarks, board member Anthony Hilliard said, “Welcome home,” to Swanner and added, “We had strong applicants, and all had strong points.”

Marty Adams, school board chairman, said the three finalists were “fine candidates” and highlighted Swanner’s strengths, including “explaining things very well.”

“I feel that we have chosen the right person for the position, someone who will lead the finance department and staff for the school system,” said board member Charles Shoulders.

The board interviewed Swanner, Greene County Schools CSFO Christopher Martin and Birmingham City Schools accountant Tieasha Abdur-Rasheed during a special meeting held Tuesday.

Swanner has been Limestone’s interim finance chief since Sept. 1, when former CSFO Jonathan Craft accepted the same position with Hartselle City Schools.

School officials said a contract would be negotiated with Swanner, with the intention to approve it at the Nov. 5 regular meeting.

Superintendent Dr. Tom Sisk thanked the six-member screening committee, which whittled the search from 22 applicants to the final three considered by the board.

“Any one of the three presented would do a good job, and they all had unique skill sets,” said Sisk, who added he was “delighted” with Swanner’s hiring. “We have hit it off right, and I can take her advice and act on it with confidence. This is important as a (second-year) superintendent.”

Swanner, who worked in tandem with Craft to finalize the 2013-14 budget, will oversee an $89.9 million operating budget and assist with a $26.1 million capital campaign approved by the board in March.

“I was very thrilled to have the full support of the board,” Swanner said. “I feel they have confidence in my ability to lead the Limestone County Board of Education in the financial area.

“It is very exciting to come back to the (system) where I actually started my career and I look forward to working with everyone.”

Swanner said her immediate areas of focus are the launch of a purchasing card program, staff development and cross-training, an $18 million bond issue to help finance the capital plan and a database program that identifies certified and support units to the state Department of Education for funding purposes.