Superintendent Fowler delivers address on the state of Hoover City Schools

Published 6:15 pm Wednesday, August 30, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

PELHAM – Hoover City Schools Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler provided an update on the state of the school system during a recent community luncheon.

The Shelby County Chamber hosted its annual “State of our Schools” Community Luncheon on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at the Pelham Civic Complex during which, the superintendents of each school system in Shelby County provided an update on the state of their schools.

Hoover City Schools, Alabaster City Schools, Shelby County Schools and Pelham City Schools all had their superintendents in attendance to share updates.

During his address, Fowler spoke of the success of the schools within the county as a whole.

“I can’t think of a greater place to be than Shelby County,” he said. “I have the utmost respect for this county and the work this county has done throughout the years and I have the utmost respect for the school districts in Shelby County.”

Six of Hoover City Schools’ 18 campuses are located within Shelby County and include, Spain Park High School, Berry Middle School, Riverchase Elementary School, Riverchase Career Connection Center (RC3), Bumpus Middle School and Greystone Elementary School.

“Shelby County is a leader in education, and it’s an honor to be a part of Shelby County,” Fowler said.

Hoover City Schools hosts more than 13,000 students, with almost 2,000 employees.

Fowler shared what his ambitions for the school district were after becoming the superintendent in July 2021.

“I said, ‘We’ll build this district on the rock of academics,’” he said. “School safety is always number one, but after school safety, everybody knows that, at Hoover, academics is number one. We’ll hang our hat on that, and we’ll keep digging and trying to make that even better than we can.”

Hoover is one of only five districts in the state where every school received an A on the State Report Card and, for two years in a row, HCS has been listed as the best place to work in Alabama by Forbes.

“It’s not what I’ve done, it’s what our staff has done and our board of education and our community by committing to making academics the rock in Hoover,” Fowler said.

Hoover City Schools boasts a 97.3 percent graduation rate with an 86.9 percent acceptance by colleges and universities. Out of its graduates, 55 percent received scholarships in a gross amount of $67,382,511 with the average scholarship worth $40,873.

The good thing and the bad thing about high expectations are, if you reach a goal, then you can’t stop—you’ve got to keep moving forward,” Fowler said.

Out of students in advanced placement classes in HCS, 71 percent received qualifying scores on their AP exams.

“I love what one of our principals in our district said. This principal’s motto is, ‘We didn’t come this far to this far, we’ve got more ways to go,’” Fowler said. “That’s why we want to look at education in the city of Hoover. It’s a big challenge, it’s a big opportunity for us.”

Fowler congratulated Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Lewis Brooks on having a teacher receive the state’s Teacher of the Year and shared that HCS had the runner up.

HCS boasts 115 National Board Certified Teachers in its school system.

“Teachers with National Board Certification is a big deal,” Fowler said. “They did research on this and it is more significant, it has more of an impact than getting a master’s degree, it has more impact than getting an EDS, it has more impact than getting a PhD. 10 percent of our teachers now are Nationally Board Certified.”

Fowler talked favorably of the school system’s RC3 campus and its various offerings, including its fire academy.

He shared a story in which he was in an accident and an ambulance had arrived to help.

“I was shaking, I was shook up and the little body put his hand on me and said, ‘Don’t worry, I got you.’—(he was) a graduate of our fire academy,” Fowler said.

The RC3 campus also offers other fields, including construction, culinary arts, computer science, medical fields, cosmetology, barbering and one more program is set to be added next year.

Fowler discussed one of the major challenges for the school system.

“We’re starting to see population shifts,” he said. “A city is always actively changing. We’re seeing that, in one part of our school district, we don’t have enough classrooms and in another part of our district, we have too many classrooms. That means at some point we’re going to have to rezone.”

Before closing, Fowler shared that the school system is “doubling down” on math and will have a mathematics specialist working each of the elementary schools.

Fowler will continue to serve as HCS’s superintendent until Saturday, Sept. 30 in which he will transfer to an assisting role as Kevin Maddox becomes the new superintendent.

“As I get ready to leave Hoover city in Shelby County, I want to say ‘Thank you,’” he said. “Thank you for the hospitality that you have shown my wife Marcia and me, thank you for the collaboration and thank you for always being there. Shelby County will always have a special place in my heart.”