ACS hires new teaching and learning director

The Alabaster Board of Education recently hired current Opelika City Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brenda Rickett as its new director of teaching and learning. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

The Alabaster Board of Education recently hired current Opelika City Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brenda Rickett as its new director of teaching and learning. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The current assistant superintendent of the Opelika City School System soon will become the Alabaster City School System’s full-time executive director of teaching and learning after the city’s Board of Education voted recently to hire her.

During its April regular meeting, the Alabaster School Board voted unanimously to hire Dr. Brenda Rickett to the position. Rickett will fill the role with ACS previously filled by former Director of Curriculum and Instruction Cena Davis, who retired earlier this school year.

Rickett’s hire came after an ACS committee interviewed several candidates for the position, said the system’s Technology Coordinator Anthony Kingston, who was a member of the committee.

“We had several great candidates, but Dr. Rickett by far had the most experience. Her background and wealth of experience was what set her apart,” Kingston said.

Rickett currently is splitting her time between Opelika and Alabaster as she transitions into her new ACS job. She said she is planning to begin working full-time for ACS by June.

At ACS, Rickett will be in charge of organizing the system’s curriculum layout, special programs and classroom offerings.

“I will be leading everything involved with K12 instruction and curriculum. My job is to help support the classroom teachers,” Rickett said. “Classroom teachers are the most important position in the school system, in my opinion. My job is to support them any way I can.”

Rickett has 31 years of education experience, including serving as a teacher at Woodland Forrest Elementary, an assistant principal at Inglewood Elementary and principal at Maxwell Elementary, all of which are in Tuscaloosa. She has been an assistant superintendent in Opelika for the past nine years, where she has been in charge of many of the same duties she will have at ACS.

Rickett holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Alabama.

Rickett said ACS has established a positive reputation across the state.

“I can come into this system and be a part of the great things that are already here. It’s not about my agenda, it’s about being a part of what’s already here,” she said. “Alabaster has built a good reputation in the past three years, and (ACS Superintendent) Dr. (Wayne) Vickers has a good reputation across the state.”

Vickers and ACS acting coordinator of curriculum and instruction Mark Gray praised Rickett’s experience, and said she will help strengthen the system’s educational offerings.

“She is bringing a wealth of knowledge to our teachers and our district,” Gray said. “Our interactions with her have been so positive, and I look forward to working with her.”

“We are very fortunate to be able to find someone with nine years of experience in this position,” Vickers said. “To be a three-year-old school system and be able to hire someone of her caliber is a credit to our system.”