John Myrick has been a distinguished member of the Alabaster Board of Education since its beginnings in 2012. His wealth of experience and expertise in the fields of education, music, and science and his contributions to the Alabaster community have been both influential and commendable. His commitment to excellence has made him a respected figure in the Alabaster community and beyond. His most recent achievement is being named an Alabama Association of School Boards All-State School Board Member Nominee. The ACS Board of Education presented and approved Resolution No. 2023-05, which nominated Dr. Myrick to this prestigious class of school board members.
Dr. Myrick’s experience in education ranges from teacher to principal (all levels public and private) to central office (coordinator of Instruction for Mobile and Coosa counties) to superintendent (Choctaw County) to adjunct professor at the college level (Springhill College, University of South Alabama, University of Mobile, University of Southern Mississippi) to assistant professor of music (supervising music education and string students) for the University of Mobile Center for Performing Arts to educational consultant. And to top this off, he has been a member of numerous professional, union, and civic organizations as well as a small business owner.
We caught up with Dr. Myrick in the middle of a move, which is tiring at any age—“especially mine,” he says. Yet he took time to answer a range of questions about his life and career.
Alabaster Connection: Where did you grow up?
AC: What did your parents do for a living?
My father was a salesman and auto parts store owner, and mother was a teacher.
AC: Did you get interested in music as a child and what instrument(s) do you play?
Music was my interest, and my family encouraged me though they were not musicians. I started taking school violin in fifth grade. I still play the violin and viola.
AC: Can you suggest one or two of your favorite symphonies to listen to?
I’d highly recommend the Brahms and later Tchaikovsky symphonies.
AC: Tell us about your family?
My wife and I were high school sweethearts. She passed away last year; we were married 59 years. I loved her very much. I have one son, Jonathan, who is married to Sarah. They have four children— Catherine, Jacob, Eli, and Caroline in grades 12,11, 9, and 7. Jonathan and Sarah are both engineers for Southern Company.
AC: How long have you been retired and what was the last job you had before retirement?
I retired from full time work as an assistant professor in the music department of the University of Mobile at 69 and still do some parttime work at the present age of 82.
AC: Computer science/math and music education are not as far away from each other as many think, right?
Computer Science/Math and Music do have some similarities in their complexity and numerical processing.
AC: You have been on the school board since 2012. What has changed the most in that time?
The school system has improved in all aspects. Greater curriculum with excellence in academics, arts, and athletics. There have been wonderful improvements in the facilities. Though the high school is the envy of many in the state, there have been millions spent maintaining and upgrading all school facilities.
AC: What are some of the educational challenges we face now that we didn’t when you started?
We face more intensity than ever before. I am proud to work with an outstanding school board and superintendent. Social media can put everything on an immediate schedule, which sometimes calls for immediate response. Money seems always to be a need. We are fortunate to have very good mayor and council leadership.
AC: Alabaster has been growing rapidly for years. How do you think that growth has been managed?
The leaders of our city have and are doing a very good job for city progress. Especially with the variety of opinions that exist within any city. I applaud them.
AC: What do you enjoy about living in Alabaster?
The friendliness of the citizens of Alabaster has been very welcoming, including its leaders.
AC: Are you still involved in musical organizations?
The Pandemic made it hard for some organizations to survive, especially in the arts. I have kept my membership in the Musicians Local but have not had much opportunity to perform as a result of the Pandemic. I have played for students and did play in the orchestra for the high school musical this past spring.
AC: What do you do for fun?
I love to play string quartets with friends and play golf.
AC: What book is on your bedside table?
My Bible and related study material.
AC: Do you still live in Alabaster?
Yes. Even though I moved recently, it was to another house in Alabaster.
AC: As someone with a concentration in computer science, are you concerned about AI’s future impact on education in terms of plagiarism and cheating, or do you believe AI will help teachers and students in the future?
I believe AI can be a great help to learning, but not a substitute to learning. We have seen how the at home instruction for the great majority of students during the Pandemic was a negative in comparison to previous years.