City school board approves early adoption of 2.5% pay raise for teachers; open house schedules


East Elementary Principal David Wiggins addresses the Cullman City School Board Thursday morning (Nick Griffin for The Tribune)

CULLMAN – The Cullman City School Board early Thursday morning approved the early adoption of the state’s 2.5 percent pay raise for teachers. The increase will go into effect in July, ahead of the beginning of the new school year.

Cullman City Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Patterson is excited to go ahead and apply the raise early and believes CCS teachers are more than deserving.

“We did approve to go ahead and implement the 2.5 percent pay raise for teachers early this year, so they will go ahead and receive that. Just a little bit of help; they do such a good job, and I know it’s well-deserving that they get the raise and even more so, we appreciate all that our teaches do. We know that we are only as successful as our teachers in the classroom because they’re the ones that make the impact.”

East Elementary Principal David Wiggins was on-hand to present the current state of his school and share ideas for how to continue improving. One of the ideas currently in place at East is the “Bigs and Littles” mentor program.

“’Bigs and Littles’ is our highlight,” Wiggins said. “Our counselor gets with these students and trains them on how to be mentors for kids in grades two through four, and every day while other kids are in band, chorus, office aid, school store, snack bar, library, yearbook or whatever it may be, these kids are working directly one-on-one with other students. Some of these students are working on just talking to kids to meet an emotional need. It’s not always academic at East; we find the need and then we fill it. These kids are absolutely a strong component of why our academic success is so high and our discipline problems are so low.”

Wiggins elaborated on some other programs in place at East Elementary that have been successful such as Cubcat Clubs, the new outdoor classroom, student-lead conferences and more. Wiggins is excited to be able to expand some of these programs going forward and continue raising expectations at East Elementary.

“Our expectations are clear, and I do mean for both teachers and students. Our teachers know the expectations from Cullman City Schools; we’ve got to be the best,” he said. “They know the expectations that I give out. We want to be a happy school, but we want to be a successful school for our kids as well.”

Several new faculty members were also introduced at Thursday’s meeting. Cullman High School (CHS) Principal Kim Hall introduced Heather Carter and Caroline Lunsford to the board as the newest additions to the high school teaching staff. Hall believes both new additions will fit in well at CHS.

“We’re losing (Donaldson) to Wallace State; she got the opportunity to be down there as a teacher and she’s done a great job for us for a long time and we will certainly miss her, but we have hired Heather Carter to come in and she’ll be teaching biology this year. We have someone in the department that will be moving to AP biology and Heather will be teaching pre-AP biology,” Hall said. “So, we’re excited to have her on staff and we have hired Caroline Lunsford in our English department. She did her student-teaching with us a couple of years ago with Mrs. (Denise) Burroughs in AP literature and we’re excited to have her on campus as well. She did some fill-ins last year at the middle school so we’re lucky to have her.”

Wiggins also introduced a new teacher that he is bringing on to the East Elementary staff. Nicole Heptinstall will be coming on as a third-grade teacher to replace Alex Patterson, who, according to Wiggins, is moving to Hazel Green to be closer to family. Heptinstall has filled in for teachers at East Elementary twice over the last two years and Wiggins said he is excited to bring her on full time.

The school board approved the following:

– permission to bid #06-21-18-01 and accept the lowest responsible bidder for occupational and physical therapy services.

– Cullman High School to enter into an agreement with BSN Sports/ Under Armour Athletic Apparel to be an exclusive Under Armour school beginning May 1, 2018 through May 31, 2023.

– Cullman City Parks and Recreation to conduct summer theatre camp at Cullman High School.

– 2018-2019 Head Start Baseline Grant Application

– Head Start FY2019 Cost Allocation Plan

– FY2019 Head Start Salary Schedules. These schedules have been approved by the Head Start Policy Council.

– Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Narrative and Plan

– Head Start School Readiness/PFCE Goals 2018-2019

– Head Start School Readiness Action Plan 2018-2019

– Head Start Self-Assessment and Improvement Plan 2018-2019

– stipends to Head Start teachers and staff for “Managing Children’s Challenging Behaviors” training at Cullman City Primary School during the summer of 2018. (Head Start funds)

– stipends to Head Start staff to attend medication training during the summer of 2018. (Head Start funds)

– Cullman City Primary School to supplement the mathematics instruction with Kindermath for kindergarten and Miss Giraffe for first grade. Submitted and agreed by the CCPS Textbook Committee.

– permission to contract with Wayne Cooke and Sarah Jane Skinner to conduct summer theatre camp (paid by Cullman Parks and Recreation Camp fees).

– permission to contract with Annette Barnett to provide part-time secretarial duties for Student Services beginning August 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019

Personnel considerations


Alex Patterson, third grade teacher at East Elementary

Jacqueline Moore Donaldson, science teacher at Cullman High School

Crystal Long, resource teacher at West Elementary

Brooke Kelley, kindergarten teacher at Cullman City Primary School

Carrie Woods, instructional assistant at Cullman City Primary School


Jennifer Yeager, transfer from social studies teacher at Cullman High School to In-School Suspension teacher at Central Office


Amber Nicole Heptinstall, third grade teacher at East Elementary

Heather Carter, science teacher at Cullman High School

Caroline Lunsford, English language arts teacher at Cullman High School

Jessica Justice Brooks, Head Start Pre-K Teacher at Cullman City Primary School

Jordan Harris, first grade teacher at Cullman City Primary School

Maegan Whitmire Long, kindergarten teacher at Cullman City Primary School

Jenna Bates, instructional assistant at Cullman City Primary School

Samuel Ryan Long, part time custodian at West Elementary

Bruce Bentley, special education bus assistant

Open House Schedules for 2018-2019

  • Cullman City Primary School – Aug. 3, 2018 – 4-6 p.m.
  • East Elementary School – Aug.1, 2018 – 4-6 p.m.
  • West Elementary School – Aug. 2, 2018 – 4-6 p.m.
  • Cullman Middle School – Aug. 2, 2018 – 5:30 p.m.
  • Cullman High School – Aug. 3, 2018 – 4-6 p.m.
  • Cullman City Head Start – Aug. 13, 2018 – 4 p.m.
  • Head Start Pre-K – Aug. 3, 2018 – 4 p.m.

The Cullman City School Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, July 17 at 7:30 a.m. in the Central Office Board Room.

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