CCBOE’s Barnette honored as 1st-ever Blue Ribbon Superintendent

Dr. Judy Warden Fields, CEO of Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, presents the organization’s lighthouse banner to Cullman County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette at Tuesday evening’s Cullman County School Board meeting. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – At Tuesday evening’s Cullman County Board of Education (CCBOE) meeting, Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette received a surprise as Dr. Judy Warden Fields, CEO of Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence (BRSE), came out of the audience to address the board.  She began by announcing that this was the first time in the history of the organization that the BRSE administration has ever attended a local school board meeting to make a presentation, and followed by reading a letter from the organization.

“Dr. Shane Barnette, we recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for college, successful careers and productive lives in Cullman County. We have watched Cullman County Schools move up 12 slots to the 30th highest ranking school district in the state, out of 129 districts. Congratulations to you and your school community.”

She went on to commend Barnette for “vision,” “leadership” and “listening, caring and communicating,” before announcing his being named as a Blue Ribbon School Superintendent and presenting him the organization’s Lighthouse banner. Barnette is the first superintendent to ever be given the distinction.

Banners are usually issued to local schools. According to Fields, this will be the first banner to hang in a system’s central office.

Afterward, Barnette told The Tribune, “It’s the faculty and staff and the administration that have earned that award, because they have worked so hard at improving their schools, and we all are reaping the benefits from it, I guess, but I’m just excited to be part of their team. 

“They’ve accomplished some great things. I mean, Blue Ribbon Schools, they assess all of the schools and put together an action plan, and the faculty and staff and the administration on each campus have worked hard at raising test scores and creating a culture where kids want to be at school. They’ve done all the work; I just got to be part of it.”

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W.C. Mann