Chambley defeats Hodge in CCSD Superintendent election

Published 10:32 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2020

After 10 years, the Chambers County School District has a new superintendent, as current Valley Assistant Principal Casey Chambley has defeated incumbent Dr. Kelli Hodge.

“We’re very satisfied and thankful to the voters and all the people of our team that worked so hard,” Chambley said. “Everybody worked so hard to come together and get this done. We put together a team of folks and they’re the ones that pulled together the money and the resources to get this done. That’s what we’re going to have to do as a school system. I’m just super happy for our kids, school system and our team. I’m excited to get to work. We’re going to do some really great things.”

Chambley said the difference in the voting came down to the targeted areas in LaFayette, Valley and Huguley.

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“We showed out in those areas,” he said.

Chambley’s platform was B.R.I.C.K., which stands for buildings, respect, identity, commitment and kids.

Alongside B.R.I.C.K., Chambley wants to bring the best possible teachers to the school district and be able to keep them for more years than in the past.

“Academics are always first, and we need to make sure that we increase our rigor in the classrooms. The way to do that is we have got to surround ourselves with the best teachers, and we have to keep those teachers,” Chambley said. “We have got to figure out a way to recruit teachers here and keep them. We get a lot of good teachers, and they’re here for a year or two and they leave. We’ve got to a better job of getting folks here and giving them incentives to come here and stay.”

Chambley also wants to improve the district’s test scores and athletic facilities.

“We have to improve our test scores and make sure those are where they need to be,” Chambley said. “Athletically, we have to look at our facilities and increase our facilities. We’re in competition with people from all over, including the surrounding counties. We have to make sure that our athletic facilities are comparable. That doesn’t mean we’re going to have athletic facilities like Auburn or Opelika, but we have to start working in that direction. Opelika is a 6A school, and [Valley High School] is a 6A school. If you’re going to compete against them, you’re going to need to have the facilities to compete against them.”

Chambley ran for superintendent because he thought the school district needed a change. He was even considering leaving Chambers County to help improve the situation for his children. 

“It’s really huge,” Chambley said. “It’s a weight lifted off of our shoulders. I can’t even begin to tell you how tough this has been on our family, not just the election but just a lot of different things thrown at us. We’re happy, humbled and appreciative of a lot of people.”

Hodge was surrounded by her family in the Chambers County Courthouse watching the votes come through. 

“I appreciate having them [her family] there. I loved every minute of being the superintendent,” Hodge said. 

She will serve as the superintendent until Dec. 31, which is when Chambley will take over. 

Hodge was proud of the accomplishments she was able to have in her 10 years as the superintendent. These include growing the pre-K programs in the district and Inspire Academy, which used to be known as Career Tech, and the fact that the graduation rate has risen in the district from the mid-70s to the 90s.