Mims earned his bachelor's degree from Oakwood College in Huntsville. He went on to earn a master's at Armstring State College in Savannah, Georgia and a second master's and doctorate at Columbia University in New York.
After earning his doctorate, Mims entered the field of public education administration and worked his way up from school principal to superintendent of New York City's District 9 in the Bronx. In that position he oversaw the schooling of 35,000 students with 5,000 employees and an annual budget in excess of $320 million.
He left New York to take over the Round Lake School District in Round Lake, Illinois, a system with 6,500 students and 500 employees which was operating under the financial oversight of the State of Illinois. In June 2004 Mims was hired as interim superintendent for Illinois' East St Louis School District 189 where he was responsible for 10,000 students and 1,200 employees. His hiring was part of an agreement to avoid a state takeover of the system. During his one-year term he reported to a transition committee rather than to the school board. After a permanent Superintendent was hired, he stayed on as a consultant on a month-to-month basis. In 2005 he was given an award for outstanding leadership from the Congressional Black Caucus.
He resigned from that contract in February 2006, announcing his retirement and plans to publish a book on school leadership while collecting a pension from New York City Schools.
After the retirement of Wayman Shiver, Mims became a candidate for the position of Superintendent of Birmingham City Schools, a system with 30,730 students and over 4,000 employees. His three-year contract was approved by the Board on June 12, 2006. His base annual salary was set at $170,000. On December 13 the Board praised his enthusiasm and innovation but critiqued his communication habits and punctuality. He was given a $5,000 per year raise.
On Febraury 22, 2007 Mims asked the Board for a $3 million fund from which to buy out employees eligible for early retirement. After protest from the Board he withdrew the request. At his next annual evaluation on July 10, the Board found his performance to have fallen short of expectations and requested that he draw up a list of goals for their approval and scheduled a re-evaluation after 6 month's time.
In September 2007 an audit conducted by the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts found numerous problems with system financial records, some of which pertained to Mims' expenses
On January 10, 2008, following heated discussion of his plans to close up to 18 schools, Board member Phyllis Wyne announced her intention to submit Mims' future with the system for discussion. The motion was tabled, in part because Mims had not provided a statement of goals requested previously.
Mims repeatedly argued for aggressive consolidation and closure of under-utilized schools in the Birmingham system. His proposals were typically met with public displeasure, which was mirrored in the elected school board.
Report and termination
In September 2007, on Mims' recommendation, the Board commissioned a report on the system's administrative structure and resource allocations from the Council of the Great City Schools. Chief Operating Officer Ken Wasmund, rather than Mims, was the Council's primary contact with the system. Despite never receiving much of the information requested, a final report was completed in December and distributed to the Board at a work session on January 3, 2008. After that meeting, and before the report was discussed in a public meeting, Mims removed the "findings" section, 5 pages which included recommendations for positions to be eliminated. It was the redacted report that was forwarded to the Birmingham News for publication. In explaining his actions, Mims first said that he had been directed not to make the findings public. He later admitted to censoring the report on his own initiative, to avoid injuring morale among system employees when the document was presented to the Board at a public meeting on January 14. After it was accepted by the board, the full report was posted by the Council of the Great City Schools to its own website.
Subsequently the News discovered the discrepancy and conducted an investigative report, which appeared in its February 12 edition. On the same day the board held a press conference and placed Mims on administrative leave, promoting Chief of Staff Barbara Allen to acting superintendent. The Board then asked retired Circuit Court Judge Joseph Battle to conduct an investigation into Mims' conduct. The result. dated March 3, concluded that a preponderance of evidence showed Mims to have violated the terms of his contract by distributing an altered report.
Mims' contract was terminated by the board at their March 11 meeting. Subsequently he threatened to sue for severance pay. A settlement was negotiated by which Mims was allowed to resign, received neutral references from the board, and collected five months of severance pay ($75,000) after his resignation took effect on April 2.
He was later hired as a consultant to the East St Louis School District he had once led.
|Superintendent of Birmingham City Schools
Barbara Allen (acting)
- Curtis, Ramona (February 28, 2006) "Stan Mims' Tenure in ESL Schools Ends Today." Belleville (Illinois) News-Democrat
- Leech, Marie (September 29, 2007) "Audit of city schools finds problems." Birmingham News
- Leech, Marie (January 11, 2008) "Birmingham, Alabama, school board may discuss Superintendent Stan Mims' future during meeting." Birmingham News.
- Leech, Marie and Jeff Hansen (February 12, 2008) "Birmingham schools hid the bad news: Report critical of system altered." Birmingham News
- Leech, Marie (February 13, 2008) "Birmingham Board of Education places Superintendent Stan Mims on leave pending investigation into altered report." Birmingham News
- Battle, Joseph L (March 3, 2008) "Fact Finding Report Regarding Dr. Stan Mims." - accessed from the Birmingham News
- Leech, Marie (March 12, 2008) "Birmingham school board votes to fire Superintendent Stan Mims." Birmingham News
- Leech, Marie (March 26, 2008) "Board, Mims settle dispute." Birmingham News
- Leech, Marie (July 3, 2008) "Former Birmingham schools superintendent Stan Mims rehired in former school system in Illinois." Birmingham News