Morton to Head Alabama Schools

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The Alabama Board of Education voted seven to one Tuesday to make Joe Morton, 57, the permanent replacement for Ed Richardson.

Richardson resigned in January to become acting president of Auburn University.

Morton was once superintendent of Sumter County, Ala., Schools.

Moments after Morton was named superintendent, Ethel Hall announced she is stepping down as vice president of the board to spend more time with her husband. The board then voted six to nothing to make longtime board member David Byers the new vice president.

The vice president runs board meetings and work sessions when Gov. Riley is not present. The governor is president of the board.

Hall of Fairfield said she will remain a member of the board, but does not plan to run for re-election when her term ends in two years.

Board member Ella Bell of Montgomery cast the lone vote against Morton. She said she believes the board needed to conduct a national search to give people confidence the board had found the best superintendent.

The board also voted to make Sandra Ray of Tuscaloosa president pro tem.