Shelby County Schools extends learning to adults

Published 2:30 pm Wednesday, April 20, 2011

By KATIE HURST/ Lifestyles Editor

Children aren’t the only ones learning new skills through the Shelby County Board of Education. Through the board’s adult enrichment program, hobby and skill classes are offered to adults based on community interest, said Janet Gulledge, community enrichment manager.

Classes are offered every day of the week with subjects including cake decorating, digital photography, ballroom dancing, book publishing, computer skills, grant writing, cooking on a budget and more.

“Our focus is that learning never ends,” Gulledge said. “These classes offer adults the chance to learn new things they might be interested in or pick up a new hobby.”

Classes are offered year-round and range in prices from free and on up, Gulledge said. Several are pay-by-the-class, while others require a one-time supply fee.

Classes’ subjects are based on the community’s needs and interests, Gulledge said.

“We did a survey trying to offer classes based on what the community needs and is interested in,” she said. “A popular class has been the ‘Average to Amazon, A writer’s boot camp,’ where the instructor shares his tips and inside knowledge of writing and getting a book published. Obviously, that is a large interest in the area.”

The program plans to offer a women’s self-defense class in the summer, and though the class is not officially on the calendar yet, Gulledge said she’s already received many calls of interest.

Class instructors are community members who have signed on to teach the class and share their skills and expertise, Gulledge said. New instructors are always welcome to come to her with ideas for new classes, she said.

“I’m southern, and I talk a lot,” Gulledge said. “So just talking with different people, new instructors always pop up. We interview them first to make sure they have enough material to teach a class. But we’re open to all topics. Just because I’m not interested, doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t be.”

All classes are held at the Shelby County Instructional Services Center in Alabaster. For a full calendar of classes and to register, visit