Alabama’s new state magnet school focusing on cyber technology got its first leader Friday and its largest financial donation to date, catapulting the school toward a 2020 opening.
Matt Massey, twice elected superintendent of Madison County Schools, will resign next month to become the first president of the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering.
And Redstone Federal Credit Union announced a $3 million donation to the school whose model was built on private partnerships for funding alongside state money. It’s the largest donation to the school so far.
“This is exciting for the state, it’s exciting for Madison County and it’s exciting for the nation,” Massey said following the announcements at The Atrium at Redstone Federal Credit Union on Wynn Drive in Huntsville.
The school also announced that the school’s location in Cummings Research Park – following the Huntsville city council’s approval Thursday of a proposal to donation the land at a cost of $1.8 million – will open its doors in 2022.
Until then, the University of Alabama in Huntsville will serve as a temporary site for the school starting in the fall of 2020.
Massey said his resignation will take effect July 14. Massey will begin his duties at the cyber school the next day.
David Weis, president of the Madison County school board, said in a statement Friday that the board will soon announce a special meeting “to discuss future leadership for Madison County Schools.”
“The Board will not rush through the process of appointing a new superintendent,” Weis said in the statement. “We will be thoughtful and methodical in our process and make our decision based on what is best for our students and school system.”
Joe Newberry, president and CEO of Redstone Federal, said the donation was an easy decision for the credit union leaders.
“This is one of the biggest things we’ve ever done in the state, in my opinion, and for the nation,” Newberry said. “We are in a clear and present danger right now with cyber. Every industry, every individual and we realize that in our credit union and that’s why we want to support this school.”
Massey has a background as a math teacher and earned college degrees in math as well.
“The opportunity to kind of build a school for scratch is pretty much any educator’s dream come true,” Massey said. “But to get to do one of this magnitude and this importance is just an incredible opportunity. So I’m really excited to be a part of it.”