The Gulf Shores City Council took another major step toward establishing its own city school system Monday as it appointed five citizens to the Gulf Shores City Board of Education. The five member board collectively brings nearly 90 years of related, yet diverse experience and was unanimously selected from a group of 34 applicants. Each board member will serve staggered initial terms from one to five years beginning December 4.
“We were amazed by the level of qualifications all 34 applicants offered,” said Mayor Robert Craft. “We admire each of them for their willingness to serve our community in this critical role and look forward to keeping them engaged in helping to raise the bar for education in Gulf Shores.”
Craft says the five citizens who were selected distinguished themselves in their personal interviews with the City Council.
“We held 20 personal interviews which gave us a tremendous opportunity to get to know these candidates on a deeper level,” Craft explained. “The group we have chosen offers an incredible depth of related experience, but also represents very diverse ages, backgrounds and skill sets that will be invaluable as they serve our community.”
The board will represent the Gulf Shores community in all education-related matters including working with the Baldwin County Board of Education to finalize a separation agreement and will ultimately hire the school system’s Superintendent and Chief School Financial Officer.
“We are ecstatic to have this group of extremely qualified residents who will now be empowered to make local education decisions based on the needs and desires of our community,” said Craft.
The members of the Gulf Shores City Board of Education are listed below in alphabetical order:
Mr. Kevin S. Corcoran
Kevin Corcoran graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing. He also attended Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law. After moving to Alabama in 1996, he joined RE/MAX of Gulf Shores in 1999 and purchased the franchise in June of 2004, where he and his wife, Domini, are co-owners.
Kevin has over 10 years of experience serving on a board of education during which time he held the office of President, Vice President and Secretary. He served as the Chairman of the Baldwin County Community Advisory Task Force for Education as well as the Co-Chairman of the Island Wide Task Force for Education. Kevin’s engagement in the community has allowed him to serve on numerous Boards of Directors including serving as President for the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber, Gulf Coast Athletic Club and Dolphin Athletics Club. Kevin spent eight years providing play-by-play for the Gulf Shores High School Dolphins football team and the last two as the Public Address announcer at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium for GSHS home football games.
Kevin has eight children, five which have graduated from GSHS, two who currently attend GSHS, and one who attends Gulf Shores Middle School.
Dr. Ralph R. Gold, Jr.
Dr. Gold began his teaching career in 1978 as an elementary physical education teacher and swimming instructor. During his thirty-nine years in education Dr. Gold has held numerous academic positions such as; elementary teacher, high school teacher, junior high principal, athletic director, university intramural director, high school varsity coach, and university professor.
Dr. Gold received his Bachelor’s degree in physical education from Clearwater Christian College, a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Tampa, an Educational Specialist Degree, in Educational Leadership and Supervision from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision from Samford University
Ralph and his wife Carolyn have two children. Sherlyn is a nurse in Atlanta and Ralph (Rusty) is a high school teacher and coach.
Dr. Nichole (Nicky) P. Gotschall
For 17 years, Dr. Nichole (Nicky) Gotschall has enjoyed a successful career in post-secondary education. As an academic administrator, Dr. Gotschall chaired the Department of Developmental Studies at Sullivan University. There she was the inaugural recipient of the Above and Beyond Award, Sullivan’s Faculty Member of the Quarter Award. She joined Columbia Southern University in 2007 and chaired the Department of General Education at Columbia Sothern University. Dr. Gotschall then served as dean for the College of Arts and Sciences and was later appointed dean of the undergraduate programs at Columbia Southern University. Dr. Gotschall has also participated in the accreditation reaffirmation process at SACSCOC and DEAC institutions. Currently, she is a professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences at Columbia Southern University.
Dr. Gotschall is also an active member of the Gulf Shores community. An advocate for the success of all students, she has been a parent representative for Gulf Shores Elementary School’s Parent Involvement Planning Committee since 2012 and the School Improvement Leadership Team since 2014. She has served on the Gulf Shores Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization Board since 2013 and is the current president. In 2017, Dr. Gotschall co-authored the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant which awarded $450,000.00 to the after-school program at Gulf Shores Elementary School.
Dr. Gotschall holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Livingston University, a master’s degree in the art of teaching from the University of West Alabama, and a doctorate in higher education leadership from Walden University.
Dr. Gotschall is married to her husband, Mark. They have one son, Ian, who attends school in Gulf Shores. In their spare time, the Gotschalls can be found kayaking or exploring museums and antique stores.
Mrs. Dale Kayser Jernigan RN, MSN
Dale Kayser Jernigan RN, MSN, holds a specialty area 5 teaching certification in secondary education. She previously was the Director of Education, and Director of Nursing Administration at SBRMC. Mrs. Jernigan was a governor’s appointee to the Alabama Board of Nursing, has written two textbooks on Standards of Practice, and Human Resource Management, and has published in numerous periodicals. She halted her career to raise two sons, who were educated through the Gulf Shores schools, while serving as an active parent volunteer and PTSO officer during those years.
In August 2012 Mrs. Jernigan was hired to design, implement and develop a Health Science Career Academy at GSHS, where she also teaches progressive levels of health science coursework.
Mrs. Jernigan and her husband Leo, a Gulf Shores dentist, have been local residents for 41 years.
Mrs. Kelly L. Walker
Kelly Walker is a Special Needs Specialist for the Georgia Department of Education online school, Georgia Virtual Learning. Mrs. Walker serves as a liaison between schools, parents, and online instructors to accommodate middle and high school students with special needs in order to give the best chance at success in the online classroom. She provides supports to special needs students and online instructors to help raise student achievement. She also creates and administers regular professional development for online instructors regarding special needs students and best teaching practices. Prior to this administrative role, she taught high school science for Georgia Virtual School.
In her fifteen years as an educator, she has also taught in a traditional classroom. She taught for nine years in the face-to-face classroom working with at-risk students. Some of her roles included leading a team of teachers on a Freshman/Career Academy, mentoring new teachers, coaching volleyball, and developing county-wide science curriculum based on State Standards.
Mrs. Walker believes it is important for teachers to have the resources and technology needed to challenge each individual student to prepare graduates to successfully compete in our global economy. She is passionate about providing all types of learners with a rigorous, quality education. Moreover, she recognizes that a quality education rests not only in the hands of individual teachers, but the onus is shared equally with all stakeholders, including students, parents, administrators, and the surrounding community.
Kelly Walker received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Georgia, and her Master of Arts in Special Education from Piedmont College. Originally from Athens, Georgia, she and her husband Bobby have lived in Gulf Shores since 2012 and have three young children attending Gulf Shores Elementary. She and her family enjoy traveling, being on the beach, fishing, biking, participating in recreation sports, and attending Gulf Shores United Methodist Church.
Left to right: Kevin Corcoran, Kelly Walker, Nichole Gotschall, Dale Kayser Jernigan, Ralph R. Gold Jr.