Douthitt accepted the job by phone Friday afternoon, shortly after the Anniston Board of Education unanimously voted to hire him. The board offered the former Anniston High School principal a base annual salary of $120,000 and plans to sign a contract with him Thursday during a called meeting.
Douthitt, 48, was one of four candidates the board interviewed for the job this month. Current Superintendent Joan Frazier will retire at the end of the school year.
Douthitt, an Ohatchee native, is the superintendent of the Butler County school system. He served as principal of Anniston High from 2001 to 2003. Douthitt has served as Butler County’s superintendent since May 2010. Eight schools comprise the district, which serves about 3,300 students.
"He's going to bring compassion, integrity and love to the community," said Donna Ross, president of the school board. "When he was here before he united the support of the community."
The other candidates up for consideration were Keith Stewart, superintendent of the Bullock County Schools; Gregory King, principal of Pershing High School in Detroit; and Vickie Scott, who works for Highpoints Learning, an education company in Duluth, Ga.
During a brief phone interview, Douthitt said he would not comment about his hire until after he spoke with the school board in Butler County.
"I haven't talked with them ... I don't want to get things out there that they haven't heard yet," Douthitt said.
Board member Bill Robison said Douthitt was a solid candidate for superintendent.
"He's a super individual and he's got great experience now," Robison said. "He knows the problems facing the Anniston school system and he's got more than his professional reputation on the line; he's got his personal reputation on the line because people know him here."
Board member C.K. Huguley said she liked how personable Douthitt was with area residents when he visited during his interview.
"I like how he connected to the population and he's very pro-children and I like that," Huguley said.
William Hutchings, board member, said many residents in his community wanted Douthitt to be superintendent.
"I'm 90 percent for community say-so," Hutchings said. "Darren Douthitt, he can come back here and rally the people."
Board member Mary Klinefelter said she would have been fine with any of the candidates being superintendent.
"I think he'll be a good superintendent," Klinefelter said. "I can work with him and I'm more than happy to have him."
Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.