New principal approved for Helena Elementary School

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–Helena Elementary School has a new principal for the first time in 17 years after the Shelby County Board of Education approved Jeff Norris to the position at the Jan. 25 board meeting.

Norris replaces Mary Cooper, who served as the principal at Helena Elementary School since 2001, until recently being appointed to serve as the new Federal Programs Supervisor for Shelby County Schools.

Norris has been an educator for 13 years in the Shelby County School System and was formerly the assistant principal at Inverness Elementary School.

“I didn’t graduate from Shelby County Schools, but I feel like this is kind of like graduation,” Norris said. “I am lucky because my first principal that hired me into Shelby County Schools this year and my current principal is also here at the board meeting, so I’d love to recognize them. They have both been an inspiration, and honestly, there are so many leaders in our county that have played a part in where I am, so I thank all of them. I can remember day one back at Chelsea Elementary School about 13 years ago and how excited and how energetic I was and how much of an impact I wanted to make. It’s amazing that day one at a new position I feel the same excitement, energy and enthusiasm and the same willingness to make a difference in the lives of students.”

Norris has an educational specialist degree in teacher leadership and a master’s degree in instructional leadership from the University of Montevallo. He also has a master’s degree in gifted education from the University of South Alabama and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Alabama. He is also a National Board Certified Middle Childhood Generalist.

Helena Elementary School will have a meet-and-greet with Norris on Thursday, Feb. 1 and Friday, Feb. 2 from 8:30-9:30 a.m.