Before coming to Birmingham, Witherspoon headed the Edgecombe County, North Carolina school system for four years. After taking the job, one of his first initiatives was a plan to reduce the number of assistants and secretaries working in administration.
As superintendent, Witherspoon has pushed to implement many of the goals of the Birmingham Education Foundation and courted support from business leaders. Initiatives advanced by Witherspoon include the creation of "career academies" in city high schools and the expansion of International Baccalaureate programs in city schools.
In August 2011, the Birmingham Board of Education gave Witherspoon a 3.24/5.00 performance rating. On Good Friday, 2012, in the midst of a disagreement over how to evaluate his job performance, a special meeting was called which many believed would result in a vote to buy out the remainder of Witherspoon's contract. The superintendents supporters rallied at Linn Park and the special meeting was canceled.
A new board, more supportive of Witherspoon, was sworn in following the 2012 Birmingham municipal election. In July 2014, Witherspoon was given a four-year contract extension. Evidence of accounting irregularities surfaced later that year. Witherspoon announced his resignation, effective December 31, 2014, during a meeting on October 7 of that year.
Barbara Allen (interim)
|Superintendent of Birmingham City Schools
Spencer Horn (interim)
- Leech, Marie (December 19, 2009) "Craig Witherspoon promises to restore Birmingham school system's trust." The Birmingham News
- Gray, Jeremy (August 15, 2011) "Birmingham school board gives superintendent an evaluation of 3.24 out of 5." The Birmingham News
- Leech, Marie (April 5, 2012) "Birmingham school Superintendent Craig Witherspoon's job on the line Friday in special school board meeting." The Birmingham News
- Crain, Trish (April 12, 2012) "The Superintendent and the Board – A Cautionary Tale" Alabama School Connection
- Underwood, Madison (October 7, 2014) "Craig Witherspoon out as Birmingham City Schools superintendent." The Birmingham News