West Elementary’s Shaddix named state school counselor of the year


Left to right are West Elementary Principal Dr. Jay Page, West Elementary Guidance Counselor Elizabeth Shaddix and Cullman City Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Patterson. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN – Elizabeth Shaddix, guidance counselor at West Elementary School, has received statewide recognition, being named the 2019 Alabama School Counselor of the Year by the Alabama School Counselor Association. Shaddix will represent Cullman City Schools and Alabama in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 1, 2019, where she will be honored at a black-tie gala along with other top counselors from across the country.

Shaddix was recognized for her achievement at Tuesday’s Cullman City School Board meeting.

Also recognized were the school board members themselves, including Superintendent Dr. Susan Patterson; each was presented with a certificate in observance of National School Board Recognition Month by the city school principals.

Patterson said of the board, “They take on a difficult job and assume enormous responsibilities. These individuals work collaboratively to set and maintain our policies that provide the framework for Cullman City Schools. As strong advocates for public education, they stand up to the needs of our students, our staff, and they provide the vision that our community desires.”

Also recognized at Tuesday’s meeting was Erica Rutherford, reading coach at Cullman City Primary School. Rutherford recently completed her doctorate in education. 

Superintendent performance report

The results from a yearly  evaluation conducted by the school board regarding the superintendent’s performance for the 2017-2018 school year was presented. Patterson received high marks and excelled in financial management, technology management, educational leadership, communication and community relations.

Said Patterson, “I focused on communications and community relations. One of the things, I had developed a weekly newsletter. That is published once a week and sent through social media. Also, there is a link to the website that you can sign up so anyone can access the newsletter each week. We deployed a mobile app for informational and emergency notifications. I facilitated a design and the update of our district and school websites through the technology department and to make sure that they met all the ADA requirements. We implemented an electronic messaging system to track state needs from year to year.”

She continued, “I organized and worked with our city council to meet and discuss the needs of both our school system and the city. I am currently serving on a three-year term as a board member for the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce and through this board, I am able to provide a voice for our school system and businessmen. At the state level, I serve on the Superintendent’s Association of Alabama’s board and serve as an advocate for our students and our schools at the state level.”

School calendar

The board approved all agenda items and new business including the calendar for the  2019-2020 school year. Students will begin the 2019-2020 school year in Aug. 7, 2019. This year, students will enjoy a full week out of school for Thanksgiving. Christmas break will begin after an early dismissal on Dec. 20, and students will return on Jan. 6, 2020. The last day of the 2020 school year will be May 21 unless make-up weather days are needed. 

The Cullman City School Board will meet next on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. in the Central Office board room. 

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