Randall L. Woodfin

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Randall L. Woodfin
Randall Woodfin.jpg
Board member, Birmingham City School Board, District 5
Term ends
November 2017
Elections and appointments
Last electionAugust 27, 2013
First electedAugust 27, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sMorehouse College
J.D.Samford University
ProfessionPolitical consultant
Campaign website
Randall L. Woodfin was a candidate for the District 5 seat on the Birmingham City School Board that was up for election on August 27, 2013. His campaign focused on improving relations between school board members, developing community partnerships and improving student performance.


Woodfin was influenced at an early age by parents who worked in social work and elementary education. He earned a B.A. in Political Science from Morehouse College and later received a J.D. from Samford University. Woodfin has served as an appointee to the Mayor's Office Division of Youth Services and the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity. He is currently a political consultant working with local, state and national candidates throughout the Southeast.[1]



Woodfin ran for the District 5 seat on the board that was held by Emanuel B. Ford. He ran against fellow challenger Martha Casey McDowell and the election took place August 27, 2013.

Election results

Birmingham City Schools, District 5 General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngRandall L. Woodfin 70.4% 1,821
     Nonpartisan Martha Casey McDowell 29.6% 766
Total Votes 2,587
Source: Birmingham Office of the City Clerk, "City Election - August 27, 2013," accessed August 28, 2013 These results are unofficial and not certified. They will be updated once certified results are available.


Woodfin lost his bid for the District 3 seat up for election on August 25, 2009. He faced fellow challengers Elisa Burns-Macon, Bob Friedman and Brian Giattina for the open seat.[2]

Birmingham City School Board, District 3, 2009
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngBrian Giattina 45.9% 1,762
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngElisa Burns-Macon 26.7% 1,026
     Nonpartisan Randall Woodfin 17.7% 678
     Nonpartisan Bob Friedman 9.7% 371
Total Votes 3,837

Campaign themes


In an interview with The Birmingham Times, Woodfin highlighted his campaign themes for 2013:[3]

Board behavior

"Key factors to re-establishing the reputation of the Birmingham School System rest in returning the Board back to its intended function. How Board Members conduct themselves during School Board meetings, how they interact with each other, and whether they resist the urge to micromanage the School System will all go a long way in restoring confidence in our system."

Financial management

"We need school board members who can establish relationships and partnerships in the community and leverage financial and human capital to offset what our tax dollars are not providing for our students and school system."

Student success

"How do we define success for our school system? It is measured by students’ success, and their success is hinged on policies, administrative, and financial decisions being made in the students’ best interest; policies that include keeping the fine arts and alternative choices within our schools; administrative solutions that tackle disciplinary issues instead of arresting our students for non-criminal behavior; and financial decisions that take our students into consideration first."

What was at stake?

Nine seats, including every board officer position, were at stake. Incumbents Carol E. Clarke, W. J. Maye Jr. and Phyllis F. Wyne did not seek re-election.[4]

Gang of Five

Three members of the controversial "Gang of Five" coalition of board members that attempted to oust Superintendent Witherspoon were on the ballot. These members were Emanuel B. Ford, Virginia S. Volker and Tyrone H. Belcher, Sr., who all ran opposed races.[4] Ford and Volker are also plaintiffs in a lawsuit that seeks an injunction against the Alabama State Board of Education, Ed Richardson, and State Superintendent Tommy Bice. The suit alleges that the majority Caucasian State Board of Education overruled decisions made by the majority African American Birmingham City Schools Board of Education.[5] According to the Voting Rights Act, changes to Alabama elections must be pre-approved by a federal judge. A decision in this lawsuit is still pending.[6]


Student enrollment has dropped from 35,000 in 2000 to less than 25,000 in 2013.

On June 26, 2012, the Alabama Department of Education assumed control of Birmingham City Schools after the school board failed to pass a measure that would have cut hundreds of jobs over two years to bring the district into compliance with state law.[7] The discovery that schools in the district were operating without the mandated month of emergency reserve funds, which amounted to approximately $20 million, was another contributor to the state takeover.[8] The Alabama State Board of Education appointed former State Superintendent Ed Richardson to oversee the district. Working with the state board, Richardson has overridden several Birmingham Board of Education votes, including votes regarding the method of building consolidation and layoffs of over 100 employees. Since the takeover, the school board has consolidated seven schools and six office buildings in an effort to save the district approximately $8 million.[8]

About the district

The Birmingham City School District was created in 1910 when the Alabama State Legislature passed a bill creating Greater Birmingham. Through this bill, 40 schools were annexed by the Birmingham Free School, most of them substandard and in disrepair. Birmingham City Schools is now comprised of 51 schools including 25 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, seven K-8 schools, seven high schools, and one alternative school.[9]


Birmingham City Schools is located in Jefferson County, Alabama
Birmingham City School District is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama, located northeast of the capital, Montgomery. According to the 2010 US Census, Birmingham is home to 212,237 residents.[10]


Jefferson County outperforms the rest of Alabama in terms of median household income, poverty rates and higher education achievement in 2011. The median household income for Jefferson County is $45,750 when compared to $42,934 for the state of Alabama. The percentage of people below poverty level for Jefferson County is 16.2% while it is 17.6% for the state of Alabama. The 2010 U.S. Census also found that 29.0% of Jefferson County residents aged 25 or older attained a bachelor's degree compared to 22.0% in Iowa[11]

Racial Demographics, 2012[11]
Race Jefferson County (%) Alabama (%)
White 54.3 70.0
Black or African American 42.6 26.5
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.4 0.7
Asian 1.5 1.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 1.1 1.5
Hispanic or Latino 3.9 4.1

Presidential Voting Pattern[12]
Year Democratic Vote Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote Republican Vote (%)
2012 159,876 52.50 141,683 46.53
2008 166,121 52.15 149,921 47.07
2004 132,286 45.15 158,680 54.16
2000 129,889 47.45 138,491 50.59

See also

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