Over 200 community, business, and school leaders gathered at the Birmingham Marriott on Wednesday, April 15 to hear about the most recent accomplishments of the Shelby County School District and it’s schools and students during the second annual State of the System Showcase. The event was hosted by the Greater Shelby Education Foundation and was sponsored by Regions Bank.
The event featured a networking time during which attendees visited showcase tables featuring schools from the seven school zones of Calera, Chelsea, Columbiana, Helena, Montevallo, Oak Mountain, and Vincent, as well as the Shelby County College and Career Center and the Linda Nolen Learning Center.
Fox 6 anchor and reporter Sarah Verser was one of the featured speakers during the luncheon portion of the event. Verser shared with attendees how she was inspired to start the “What’s Right With Our Schools” feature in 1999 in response to negative stories about education. Verser said she was tired of seeing the one percent of negative things in education being highlighted by the media, while the other 99 percent of positive education news stories were ignored.
Verser showed clips of four stories that she has covered in Shelby County this year. The stories included the Read Across America event at Forest Oaks Elementary, which highlighted how teachers used various Dr. Seuss books to teach across all subject areas, and the Sports Medicine Career Technical program at Helena High School, which is giving students real-world experiential training in the field of sports medicine. The other stories featured Montevallo High school student and aspiring App developer Wezley Sherman, and Montevallo Elementary School student Nancy Kay Sharman, who raised money to purchase American Girl Dolls to donate to cancer patients at Children’s Hospital.
Superintendent Randy Fuller was the other featured speaker, where he recognized accomplished students and alumni who were in attendance – including Oak Mountain High School alumni Ameen Barghi who is Shelby County’s first Rhodes Scholar. Fuller also recognized Chelsea area students Christopher Robinson, a national merit finalist; Taylor Stafford, who won the state superintendent’s art show; and Kapil Nathan, the state Geographic Bee winner. Fuller also recognized Calera High School students Braxton Stokes, a 5A regional academic winner of the Bryant Jordan Scholarship Award, and ShaKeith Tyes, the overall state winner of the Bryant Jordan Achievement Award. The video produced for the Bryant Jordan Awards Ceremony about Tyes was played, which describes how he has overcome extreme adversity to become a leader in his school and community – both on and off the football field.
Fuller also shared his message of “How Shelby County Schools are Prepared for An Uncommon Future.” Fuller shared how the district has survived and continued to be successful despite several years of reduced funding from state pro-ration and the separation of the Alabaster and Pelham city school districts. The success has been the result of the district’s Strategic Plan and an intentional effort to keep community stakeholders invested in the success of the schools.
““Education has no room for spectators, we all have to be active participants and I truly believe everyone in Shelby County are active participants and that’s why we continue to be successful,” said Fuller. “We are very optimistic about the future of Shelby County Schools because we have a plan and a process to continue to invest the needs and move forward.”