Pelham Principal Kim Kiel named Principal of the Year

Published 12:04 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2022

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By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer

 PELHAM – Kim Kiel, principal of Pelham High School, has been named the District 5 Alabama High School Principal of the Year, an award presented by the Alabama Association of Secondary School Principals.

Kiel was nominated by fellow principals in the district, which includes high schools in Jefferson, Shelby, Tuscaloosa and Walker counties.

“Principal Kim Kiel is indeed one of the most inspiring and devoted educational leaders I have encountered,” teacher and colleague Rebecca Burnett said. “She epitomizes the qualities necessary for our school leaders. She is a devoted servant leader who is conscientious, honest, dependable and unabashedly loves our school and community.”

Kiel has previously been recognized for her dedication to students and the community with several awards including the AHSAA Making a Difference Award, AHSAA Athletic Director of the Year and Shelby County Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.

“I was absolutely shocked and humbled at the same time regarding this honor,” Kiel said. “This is really about my great team, my admin team, our teachers, our students and our community. We are so very fortunate in Pelham. I can’t do this by myself, and this honor truly should be shared with everyone.”

Superintendent of Pelham City Schools, Chuck Ledbetter, also spoke to the talents and leadership displayed by Kiel.

“Ms. Kiel is an outstanding leader and has proven herself adept at creating a school culture that is truly a family, making Pelham High School a great place to teach and a great place to learn,” Ledbetter said.

Kiel is currently a member of the Leadership Shelby County Class of 2023, and serves on the Central Board of Control for the AHSAA.

“It is a tremendous honor to represent District 5 and have your peers and colleagues nominate you and vote for you for an award like this,” Kiel said.

Kiel has worked at Pelham High School for 26 years in the roles of teacher, coach and athletic director.  She is now in her third year as the school’s principal.

“Driving a bus, teaching and coaching multiple sports, being named athletic director, serving as an assistant principal, and my present role as principal, has allowed me to give back to a community that has provided me with immeasurable opportunities,” Kiel said. “More importantly, these various roles— none more important than another— have allowed me to develop a unique understanding of the hurdles, pitfalls and frustrations of each, as well as the blessings. In my opinion, no training could be more purposeful to become a servant leader.”

Pelham High School currently has 1,081 students according to Kiel and more than 70 teachers.

“My greatest contributions, accomplishments, and success as a principal all center around my past roles in education,” Kiel said. “The ability to grasp the strategic importance and numerous struggles of each position in your school is crucial to the success of a principal. Directly this greatly contributes to my success with our positive school culture. Albeit the most intangible of successes, it is ironically the most glaringly obvious. I am extremely proud of my relationships with my community, students, faculty, staff and administrative team and consider those to be my greatest successes.”

Kiel said many of the teachers at Pelham High School participate in multiple different sports and programs and many students participate in multiple extra-curricular activities and that the school is small enough to create a tight knit community.

“It is the relationships that you build,” Kiel said. “When people know that you care about them and people know that you are authentic and transparent and truly care about them, they will work hard. In turn, when our teachers are happy and they are provided with all the resources necessary, they are going to turn that around to provide that for our students.”

Those interested in finding more information about Kiel and her time as principal of Pelham High School can visit