Making the grade: Welti Elementary, Fairview Middle teachers named among top 25 in state

Photo courtesy Gina Marie Webb

Welti Elementary faculty (Photo courtesy Gina Marie Webb)

CULLMAN –, an online rating group described by Forbes Magazine as a kind of “Yelp” for education, has included several Cullman area schools in its “2019 Best Teachers in Alabama” rankings.  Two, Welti Elementary School and Fairview Middle School, were ranked in the top 25 overall among all schools across the state: Welti was number 20, and Fairview came in at number 23.

On Thursday, Cullman County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette, who just the day before had announced Alabama State Department of Education reading improvement awards to Parkside School and Cold Springs Elementary, sent out an announcement which began, “Once again!  I hate to brag about our school system BUT… great things are happening in Cullman County Schools! Two schools from Cullman County made the Top 25 schools with the best teachers in Alabama list.”

On Thursday evening, Barnette told The Tribune, “Once again…great things going on in Cullman County Schools!  I am so proud of the teachers at Welti Elementary and Fairview Middle School. They are a fine example of the wonderful teachers that we have throughout our system.”

On Friday morning, Welti Principal Gina Marie Webb told The Tribune, “It’s very easy for me to brag unapologetically about Welti Elementary’s teachers.  They do an awesome job! I am so proud that everything that they do on a daily basis for our students was recognized in this effort, in the top 25 of Alabama.”

Niche describes itself as “a website that helps you discover the schools, companies, and neighborhoods that are right for you.  We rigorously analyze dozens of public data sets and millions of reviews to produce comprehensive rankings, report cards, and profiles for K-12 Schools, Colleges, Places to Live, and Places to Work.”

Niche compiled its “2019 Best Teachers in Alabama” rankings based on factors including state assessment proficiency, parent/student surveys, teacher absenteeism, average teacher salary in the district and salary v. area median income, the length of time teachers have been teaching, and ratio of teachers to students.

Rankings among public school faculties in Alabama

Breaking the results down into public elementary, middle and high school categories yields the following statewide best teachers rankings for several Cullman area schools.  Only those in the top 25 in each category are listed.

Elementary schools (out of 702 schools)

  • Welti Elementary School ranked number 18

Middle schools (out of 383 schools)

  • Fairview Middle School ranked number 4
  • Cullman Middle School ranked number 9
  • Parkside School, which serves both elementary and middle school students, ranked number 11
  • West Point Middle School ranked number 19
  • Cold Springs Elementary School, which also serves middle school students, ranked number 23
  • Vinemont Middle School ranked number 25

High schools (out of 351 schools)

  • West Point High School ranked number 17
  • Cullman High School ranked number 23
  • Cold Springs High School ranked number 25

Other Niche overall statewide “best” rankings

  • Cullman City Schools was ranked as the number 5 district with the best teachers, number 6 best place to teach, and number 10 best overall school district out of 136 districts.
  • St. Bernard Prep School was ranked number two among Alabama’s eight Catholic High Schools and 13 among 106 private high schools.

Reading awards update

Earlier this week, the Tribune reported that Cold Springs Elementary School and Parkside School had won state awards for reading improvement.  See  Later in the week, it was revealed that Harmony School and Welti Elementary had also achieved the scores necessary for the award but did not qualify for the monetary prize only because their small numbers of students did not meet the minimum enrollment requirements for consideration.

For more on Niche’s “best teacher” and other rankings, visit

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