"Life is better here"

Welcome to the City of Orange Beach's
community newsletter. 

Vol. 5, Issue 24

Welcome, Randy Wilkes - Orange Beach City Schools
First Superintendent!

On Tuesday, June 7, 2022, Orange Beach City Schools Board of Education President Robert Stuart made an emotion-filled recommendation during the board's special meeting to approve a contract for Randy Wilkes to serve as the new city school system's first superintendent. It was unanimously approved by all members at the meeting. 

The teary-eyed motion was completely understandable as it was the culmination of 12 weeks of an unprecedently fast and intense process to
guarantee separation from the Baldwin County Public School System on July 1st. From the City Council's vote to break away from the county system on March 15th to appointing board members on April 5th to Dr. Robbie Smith stepping up to serve as acting superintendent on April 12th to amazingly smooth negotiations with the county - leading to the final signing of the separation agreement on May 23rd, and finally to Wilkes signing his contract along with Stuart on Tuesday, the future continues to get brighter for Mako Nation thanks to countless hours of hard work and dedication to the children of Orange Beach. 

There are many people to thank for making Orange Beach City Schools a reality so quickly and they include: Mayor Tony Kennon and City Council members Jeff Boyd, Annette Mitchell, Joni Blalock, Jeff Silvers and Jerry Johnson; school board members Robert Stuart, Nelson Bauer, Shannon Robinson, Tracie Stark and Randy McKinney; acting superintendent Dr. Robbie Smith, school board attorney Nash Campbell and chief school financial officer Ford Handley; Baldwin County Superintendent Eddie Tyler and the county school board; and the support by city staff and the entire community of Orange Beach. Go Makos!

After the school board's unanimous vote, Wilkes shared the following: 

"Thank you so much, board members, for the trust and confidence that you are placing within me and really within this entire district. You are going to find that participatory leadership is my style. I like to gather a lot of input from all of the stakeholders so I look forward to meeting people and greeting people and getting things underway here. I also want to thank Dr. Smith. She has done a fantastic job. I’ve been able to talk to her several times, and I don’t know if you’re the type of people to give a round of applause, but I really think she deserves that this evening. 

"So thank you for what you’ve done and mayor, sir, and city council, I’ve been watching from a distance and I said to a certain realtor in town who is working with my family now currently. Two years ago, I said I’d love to be your superintendent one day. And very little did I know that I would be standing in front of you. 

"So for the vision to create this wonderful school system, kudos. And for the pace with which you did that and the rigor it’s taken to do that, I’m glad it’s fast paced. I really appreciate that guys. Congratulations. Thank you so much. 

"So I will just say a couple of things. You gave me a mic so I may just talk a little while. Cut the air off and I’m finished though. So keep the air going. 

"I want to just say that a priority with me, first and foremost, would be that of safety. I know that’s on the frontal lobe and Dr. Smith has a lot of great ideas and I know you guys have probably talked about that. But we are certainly going to incorporate that in everything that we do. 

"That’s first and foremost. After that every decision that we make will be based upon what’s best for students, what’s best for the children. 

"Second, we're going to look at evidence, we’re going to look at best practices, and we’re going to look at research. And third, and I’ve learned in 33 years of being in education and 11-plus of being superintendent, the importance of being good stewards of the public’s money. So we will absolutely be frugal with what we do. It is a beautiful city because of the people, first and foremost, and there are tremendous resources here but I promise, mayor and city council, board, taxpayers, I will be absolutely frugal with what is given to us. And I’m just really, really excited; my family is. We look forward to coming down and getting involved in the very near future. ... But, again, thank you so very much." 

Wilkes will officially take the helm on July 1st but will serve as a consultant, working with the board and Dr. Smith, until that time. 

Stuart said Wilkes rose to the top of the candidate pool. 

"It was clear to us, after our interviews, that we had found our person and it’s only been confirmed to me through our discussions here in the last couple of days in talking with Dr. Smith," Stuart said.  "We are ready to make this happen. I call them 'foxhole friends' and I feel like we’re now all foxhole friends. We’re ready to go to battle for the kids of Orange Beach and we thank you, again." 

Wilkes comes from Phenix City Schools, where he served as superintendent since 2014. His resignation from Phenix City School will be effective June 30th. Prior to Phenix City he was superintendent of Crenshaw County Schools from 2011 to 2014. While Orange Beach is projected to have just over 1,000 students among its elementary school and middle/high school this coming year, Phenix City’s enrollment was 7,067 this past school year with its 13 schools, including one high school and a freshman academy.

Wilkes earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree (mathematics and history education) from Troy State University in 1989. In 1993, he earned a Master of Science degree (mathematics education) from Troy. In 1996, he earned a Education Specialist degree in educational leadership from Auburn University of Montgomery. 

Additionally, from 2003 to 2010 Wilkes served as supervisor of Crenshaw County Public Schools in Luverne; from 1996 to 2003 he served as principal of Highland Home School in Highland Home and he served as assistant principal there from 1995 to 1996; from 1993 to 1995 he was a teacher at Luverne High School in Luverne (taught applied physics and physics, and defensive coordinator for varsity football); also from 1993 to 1995 he served as an adjunct instructor at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Greenville, where he taught Algebra I;  in 1993 he was an adjunct instructor at Faulkner University in Enterprise, where he taught Algebra I; and from 1989 to 1993 he was a teacher at Charles Henderson Middle and High Schools in Troy (taught geometry, math and Algebra I and served as offensive and defensive line coach for the varsity football team and served as the girl's varsity basketball head coach.)

In the photo below, from left, are school board member Shannon Robinson, Board President Robert Stuart, Superintendent Randy Wilkes, Board Secretary Tracie Stark, and Board Vice President Nelson Bauer.

A Meet & Greet reception was held for Superintendent Wilkes on Wednesday night at the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach. His wife Cathy also attended the reception. 



Orange Beach City Board of Education 

Upcoming scheduled meetings and/or work sessions: 
  • Monday, June 13, 2022, 10:30 A.M. - Work Session in Council Chambers
  • Wednesday, June 15, 2022, 10:30 A.M. - Special Meeting in Council Chambers
Latest News
Planning Commission to meet June 13

The Orange Beach Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Monday, June 13th for its regular meeting in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Find the agenda for the June 13th Planning Commission meeting on the City Website.


“A Touch of Magic” - Disney Musical Showcase will be presented by the City of Orange Beach's Expect Excellence Music Department on June 23-25 on the main stage of the Orange Beach Performing Arts Center. 

Tickets are $15 (all ages). Click on the links below to purchase tickets via OnTheStage. 

Enjoy performances by soloists, ensembles, musicians and dancers as they take the stage to celebrate the magic of Disney music. You'll hear classic pieces, new music, princesses, villains, and some of your favorite animals brought to life by our  talented cast of performing artists and instrumentalists.

The box office at the Performing Arts Center, 23908 Canal Road, is open from 2-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The public can purchase tickets for community theatre or school plays there. 

OBFD accepting applications for Fall 2022 Resident Volunteer Firefighter Program

The Orange Beach Fire Department is now accepting applications for the fall 2022 semester of the Orange Beach Resident Volunteer Firefighter Program. This program is an excellent opportunity for young men and women looking to enter the fire service.

Applicants that are accepted into the program are expected to successfully complete Firefighter I/II training. After successful completion of the training program and receiving their Firefighter I/II certification, they will be assigned to a regular shift in the Orange Beach Fire Department where they will serve alongside our career members working twenty-four (24) hour shifts performing all of the duties of a firefighter, gaining valuable experience and training to prepare you for a career within a full-time fire department.

Additionally, applicants may have the option to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or Advanced EMT (if already an EMT) by completing the training requirements. Participants can stay in the program for up to two years; a minimum of one year commitment is required. In exchange for this commitment to the program, participants are provided with the following:

  • Lodging, with all utilities paid for
  • Certification as a Firefighter I/II (based on successfully completing the course and passing the certification exam)
  • Opportunity for additional fire service certifications (for example: Apparatus Operator, Hazardous Materials Technician, Rope Rescue Technician, etc.)
  • A monthly stipend
  • An opportunity to become a certified Ocean/Surf Lifeguard (via the United States Lifesaving Association)

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, possess a high school diploma or GED, and have successfully completed a Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT).

Those interested in applying should submit an application through our website no later than June 30, 2022. You may view additional requirements and find the application link here:

Friends of Army Aviation return with helicopter flights on June 15-16 in Orange Beach

On June 15 and June 16, the nonprofit Friends of Army Aviation group is scheduled to return to Orange Beach to offer rides in a vintage Vietnam War-era Bell UH-1 “Huey” combat helicopter from the helipad near Orange Beach Event Center at The Wharf.

The flights will begin at 9 a.m., weather permitting, each day and go to 7 p.m. on June 15 and 5 p.m. on June 16.  Each flight will last approximately 10 minutes and the cost is $75 per person. 

Tickets can be purchased onsite during flight days or in advance on the Friends of Army Aviation website: 

There is room for up to 10 people on each flight.  Children must be at least 2 years old and big enough to be safely buckled in a seatbelt. Young children cannot ride in a parent's lap. All minors under the age of 16 must ride with a parent or guardian. Children 16-17 may ride with parents/guardians written permission.

The public is invited to come out and experience history along with breathtaking views of Orange Beach. Take a break from the sun and sand and head over to the Wharf. 

For more information, visit

Gallery After Hours: Conserving our Coast event set for June 16 at Coastal Arts Center

The Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program (PPBEP) will host Gallery After Hours: Conserving our Coast at the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach on Thursday, June 16th from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.  The public is invited to attend this free event and learn about our local waters, efforts to restore and protect them, and what they can do to help.  

Light hors d'oeuvres will be served and participants will be able to view works by Gulf Coast artists while overlooking the scenic Wolf Bay.  

The event will highlight: 

  • PPBEP’s plans to protect and restore Perdido Bay
  • Information about manatees in our area
  • Local wildlife on display at PPBEP’s touch tank
  • Plans for the restoration of the Perdido Islands (Moffatt and Nichol)
  • Initiatives of The City of Orange Beach Coastal Resources Division

Manatee swag will be provided to attendees while supplies last and all attendees will be entered to win a gift basket from Turtle’s Nest.  

Registration is free but required:

The mission of the Pensacola & Perdido Bays Estuary Program is to restore and protect the Pensacola and Perdido Bay watersheds through restoration, education, and unbiased monitoring of the health of our bays, estuaries, and watersheds.  



Congratulations to the 2A State Champion softball players at Orange Beach High School who earned spots on the Alabama Sports Writers Association's High School All-State Class 2A teams. 

First Team: 
Pitcher: KG Favors
Pitcher: Justine Henderson
DH: Ava Hodo

Second Team: 
IF: Daigle Wilson

Honorable Mention: 
OF: Krystin Kennell
DH: Teagan Revette



Marching Makos Summer Camps 

It is going to be another fantastic Marching Band Season. Marching Makos Summer Camps have been announced.  For more information, regarding the upcoming season follow this link to the Conservatory of Fine Arts website:


Find all of the latest school news on Facebook at: 

There is a full calendar of events for the kids and "Oceans of Possibilities" at the Orange Beach Public Library this summer! Stop by to pick up a calendar and sign up for the library’s 2022 "Oceans of Possibilities" Summer Reading Program to get a free summer reading swag bag! Also available at the library are summer reading Teen Event Calendars.

Visit the Orange Beach Library Facebook page or call 251-981-2923, for more information. The library is at 26267 Canal Road.


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Copyright 2022 | City of Orange Beach | All rights reserved.

City of Orange Beach 
4099 Orange Beach Blvd.
Orange Beach, Alabama 36561

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