‘Prepared for the Journey:’ SCS superintendent touts schools’ progress

Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller talks talks about the school system's strategic plan accomplishments at a South Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon Aug. 6. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller talks about the school system’s strategic plan accomplishments at a South Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon Aug. 6. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller shared a lengthy list of accomplishments propelling the school system into another academic year at a South Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Aug. 6.

Fuller, who is in his ninth year as superintendent, leads the seventh-largest school system in the state, even with the loss of about 30 percent of its population with the formation of separate school systems in Alabaster and Pelham last year.

“We have taken a new, unified approach to what we do in Shelby County,” Fuller said, noting the Shelby County Schools tagline, “Prepared for the Journey.”

The school system has more than 20,000 students and 31 schools and programs, and 150 new teachers are coming into the system, Fuller said.

After showing a video featuring prominent Shelby County alumni including Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Fuller talked about projects in the system’s five-year, $80 million capital improvement plan.

Fuller noted renovated schools and new schools, such as Helena High School and Forest Oaks Elementary School, adding, “They’re outstanding schools we did with an $80 million budget.”

“Our group has done a wonderful job of getting these schools ready,” he said. “We create partnerships, and partnerships are the key. Community leaders, PTO leaders, business leaders, governmental leaders, we all work collaboratively … to make the best school system in Shelby County.”

Fuller emphasized the school system would continue to “prosper” regardless of the state Legislature’s decisions on education funding.

He also talked about instruction and professional development for all teachers in the Shelby County school system.

“We have expectations and standards for teachers to teach all our students,” he said. “We want to prepare all students to be ready for college or career. We spend a lot of time and a lot of funding training our teachers.”

In 2014, 2,243 students enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, $20,493,206 was awarded in scholarships and 81 percent of graduating seniors planned to attend a two- or four-year college, along with 10 percent who planned to enter the workforce, 4 percent to join the military and 5 percent who were undecided, according to a Shelby County Schools brochure.

“We’re never going backwards,” Fuller said. “We’re always improving our school system. Shelby County Schools are prepared for the journey into the future.”