ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — Baldwin County’s newest school system will start its first year of classes with a veteran education at the helm. In a special meeting called Tuesday afternoon in Orange Beach, the city school board approved the hiring of Randy Wilkes as superintendent.

Wilkes comes from the Phenix City School System where he was superintendent for the last 8 years but he has spent more than three decades in education. “I’m 33 years in education now and I really feel like I’m at my apex now in my prime and coming and starting made a lot of sense,” says Wilkes

“As far as giving a school system that is brand new a vision I think that would be a mistake tonight. I think we need to go in, determine who we are and collectively we need to build that vision together,” says Wilkes.

The city school board reviewed twenty-one applicants, interviewed five and School Board President Robert Stuart says the board kept coming back to Wilkes. “You can tell with his passion and his conviction and it just sold every one,” says Stuart.

He was voted superintendent of the year in 2019 for his work in Phenix City.  He previously headed the Crenshaw County School System and was a finalist last year in the search for a new superintendent for the Hoover City School system.

Wilkes earned his education specialist degree from Auburn University at Montgomery and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Troy State University.

After signing his contract, Wilkes says he is ready to get to work. “Whatever we create now we want it to be able to be sustained in the future doing it right the first time is imperative.”

The City of Orange Beach voted to break away from the Baldwin County School System and form its own independent school district on March 15.