Dothan Preparatory Academy’s principal has qualified as a candidate for the Henry County superintendent seat, opposing two other hopefuls, including its incumbent.

Darius McKay electronically filed his intent to run for the seat Oct. 28 as a Democrat, running against the present Superintendent Chris Padget and federal programs supervisor Lori Beasley, who both filed as Republicans.

On a website created for his campaign, McKay’s slogan is “Laying a sure foundation for student success.”

McKay, a 1995 graduate of Headland High School and resident of Headland, announced his candidacy publicly on his Facebook Page in an Oct. 24 video post.

In the video, McKay said if elected he will focus on economic and workforce development, bringing technology into the classroom, and community engagement and involvement.

Dothan City Schools Superintendent Phyllis Edwards said that McKay is in the first year of his three-year contract with the school system.

“As an employee, just basic things would be any kind of campaigning, anything that he might want to do related to his interest in becoming a superintendent — an elected official — he would have to do of course outside his duties as principal,” Edwards said. “He’s certainly well-known in his community, and we wish him all the best, but we will have to make sure there’s enough support at the school.”

The general election will be Nov. 3, 2020, after the 2020-21 school year begins. Edwards said that although the timing would be difficult for transition, central office support staff already at Dothan Prep will make sure that all bases are covered in the event McKay is elected.

McKay, 42, has been an educator and administrator for 19 years, recently ascending to the position of principal at Dothan Preparatory Academy, Dothan’s consolidated middle school with more than 1,700 students. He was previously the principal at Girard Middle School, a position he held for four years.

Before his stint with Dothan City Schools, he was principal at Tarrant High School for two years.

He has a bachelor’s in biological science from the University of Alabama at Huntsville and a master’s in educational leadership from Salem University in West Virginia. McKay started his career as a science teacher at Gardendale High School.

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