Shelby County school leaders share stories from winter storm - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Shelby County school leaders share stories from last week's winter storm

Posted: Updated:

Superintendent Randy Fuller sent a letter to all staff members on Monday commending them for a job well done following the events of last week's unexpected snow and ice storm.  Fuller said he was overwhelmed by the many stories he has heard of teachers, support staff, and principals going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure students, staff, and parents who were forced to spend the night in schools were provided a safe and caring environment.

"As I met with our senior leadership this morning, we shared stories of what went on in all of our schools in Shelby County.  As I listened to those stories, along with the ones I had previously heard, my chest filled with pride," Fuller wrote. "There were ‘heroes' in every one of our schools.  Teachers, administrators, staff, parents, fireman, law enforcement and other local agencies went above and beyond to ensure the safety and well being of our students, staff and parents."

Fuller also gave credit to local county and city agencies who helped provide food, blankets, and sleeping bags to some of the schools.  He also praised the efforts of local law enforcement and rescue personnel for helping to provide transportation for students the day of the storm, as well as the following day.

"There were heroes everywhere," Fuller said of the combined efforts of school officials and local agencies to coordinate those efforts.

Calera Elementary School Principal Celita Deem and Calera Middle School Principal Brent Tolbert reported that all of their students were able to get home by Tuesday night thanks to the assistance of the Calera Police and Fire Departments.  Mt Laurel Elementary Principal Angela Walker praised the Cahaba Valley Fire Department for helping to transport over 110 students and faculty members to selected meeting points along Highway 41 to be reunited with families.  Similar stories of first responders helping to transport students home safely were share by principals from Helena, Vincent, Pelham and many other areas of Shelby County.

The Chelsea Fire Department's Facebook page had a couple of posts from parents and fire officials praising Chelsea Middle School Principal Bill Harper, who along with several teachers, loaded up a four wheel drive pickup full of sand from the school's baseball field storage shed and used it to sand the intersection of County Road 39 and County Road 47.  Their actions helped to unclog a bottleneck at that intersection and allowed many parents to make it to the school to pick up their stranded children.

"As night fell on Tuesday and the snow ended, I realized that few if any cars were coming past the school on County Road 39 from Chelsea.  That is the main route for many of our parents hoping to pick up students," Harper said. "When I realized that the backup was probably at the intersection, a group of teachers volunteered to load up the one four wheel drive truck we had with sand from the athletic storage area.  Together, we drove to the intersection, which has a steep incline as you turn up County Road 39 from the light, and we spread a truck-load of sand across the iced road."

Mt Laurel Elementary Principal Angela Walker said she was reminded of her favorite quote from Dr. Martin Luther King when she recounted the actions of her school staff and others throughout Shelby County – "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

"These teachers and staff members really measured up," she said. "The teachers planned movie times, dance parties, story times, game times, and reading and writing activities.  Classroom and Special Education teachers and paraprofessionals sang songs, told bed time stories, and rubbed backs until every child in the building was asleep by 9:30."

"Our cafeteria staff stayed through the whole thing and we had biscuits, grits, chili, roasted turkey and pizza," Walker continued.  "All but one of our faculty stayed until the shuttles started running and we realized we were going to be able to get the kids home.  Leaving this school never crossed their minds until they knew their students could get home safely."

Nearby, at Forest Oaks Elementary School, Principal Resia Brooks and her staff turned the school into Camp Forest Oaks.  Activities there included movies and popcorn, play time in the gym, a disco dance party, and a birthday party for two of the teachers.  Dr. Brooks chronicled the Camp Forest Oaks Memories in a slideshow that she sent to all parents and also posted on the school's website.

Principal Joan Doyle said all her staff at Oak Mountain High School did a fantastic job, but she especially praised the efforts of her special education teachers and aides for taking care of students with profound special needs that stayed overnight.

"I will never be able to thank our special education teachers," Doyle wrote in an email to her staff. "Every single one of them and some of their aides stayed the night.  You know that we talk about the belief that teaching is a calling.  Teaching special education is without a doubt the highest of callings.  Our special education department took care of and nurtured these sweet children.  No one, and I do mean no one, could have done better.  I love each and every one of you for what you did for your students."

At Helena Middle School, once the students had been taken care of Tuesday night it was time to help Coach Chris Self reunite with his pregnant wife who was having contractions.  Self and his wife, Emily, who teaches in Vestavia Hills, were both stranded at their respective schools Tuesday night.  By Wednesday morning it was clear that they needed to get to the hospital, but roads were still impassible.

Teachers at Helena Middle helped Self get his car unstuck and he headed out to meet his wife, only to land in a ditch again half a mile from the school.  He then hitchhiked to his wife's location and the couple borrowed an ATV to get the rest of the way to St. Vincent's Hospital.  Judah Alexander Self was born Thursday morning at midnight.

Principal Bill Harper summed up the thoughts of many principals and district leaders when he praised his teachers for working together to create a calm, organized, and safe school response to the winter storm event.

"But isn't that what we all do every day all across Shelby County?" Harper asked.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Pike Road woman named new ASU Trustee

    Pike Road woman named new ASU Trustee

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:27 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:27:11 GMT
    Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Pam Ware of Pike Road as a trustee of Alabama State University.A spokeswoman for the governor says Ware replaces Elton Dean of Montgomery, who resigned last week at the request of the governor.Ware is an Alabama State graduate who works as manager of intergovernmental affairs at the Business Council of Alabama.Also on Monday, the governor scheduled a special meeting for the Alabama State trustees on Aug. 8. A spokeswoman for the governor says topics to be dis...More >>
    Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Pam Ware of Pike Road as a trustee of Alabama State University.A spokeswoman for the governor says Ware replaces Elton Dean of Montgomery, who resigned last week at the request of the governor.Ware is an Alabama State graduate who works as manager of intergovernmental affairs at the Business Council of Alabama.Also on Monday, the governor scheduled a special meeting for the Alabama State trustees on Aug. 8. A spokeswoman for the governor says topics to be dis...More >>
  • Alabama farmers honored at the White House

    Alabama farmers honored at the White House

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:52 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:52:40 GMT
    Two Alabama farmers are being honored at the White House. Bill Bridgeforth of Tanner and Lee Haynes of Cullman are among 15 people being recognized as "Champions of Change" in Washington on Tuesday. The the Agriculture Department honors people who are empowering and inspiring members of their local communities.Bridgeforth is a fourth-generation farmer in Limestone County. He's also a county chairman of the National Black Growers Association.Haynes is an egg farmer in Cullman County. After gra...More >>
    Two Alabama farmers are being honored at the White House. Bill Bridgeforth of Tanner and Lee Haynes of Cullman are among 15 people being recognized as "Champions of Change" in Washington on Tuesday. The the Agriculture Department honors people who are empowering and inspiring members of their local communities.Bridgeforth is a fourth-generation farmer in Limestone County. He's also a county chairman of the National Black Growers Association.Haynes is an egg farmer in Cullman County. After gra...More >>
  • FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:19:17 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:27:21 GMT
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
  • Principal address several job openings at Minor High School

    Principal address several job openings at Minor High School

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 00:14:34 GMT
    Students in Jefferson County return to school next week. Parents with kids at Minor High School wonder who will teach them and which classes they'll take. One emailed ABC 33/40 asking us to help get answers.The parent told ABC 33/40 through email, there are 20 vacancies on the staff and no counselors on the payroll Minor High. Principal Dr. JuntaAnnn acknowledged she is in a hiring blitz, but there's more to the story."Minor High School is a well-kept secret," said Dr.Annn.Dr.Annn is aware on...More >>
    Students in Jefferson County return to school next week. Parents with kids at Minor High School wonder who will teach them and which classes they'll take. One emailed ABC 33/40 asking us to help get answers.The parent told ABC 33/40 through email, there are 20 vacancies on the staff and no counselors on the payroll Minor High. Principal Dr. JuntaAnnn acknowledged she is in a hiring blitz, but there's more to the story."Minor High School is a well-kept secret," said Dr.Annn.Dr.Annn is aware on...More >>
  • Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:27:52 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown stood with her attorneys and supporters.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown stood with her attorneys and supporters.
    More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:27:21 GMT
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
  • Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:53 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:53:43 GMT
    A female juvenile and an adult male were shot around 7pm at Forrester Gardens Apartments in 1300 James Harrison Pkwy.More >>
    A female juvenile and an adult male were shot around 7pm at Forrester Gardens Apartments in 1300 James Harrison Pkwy.More >>
  • Pike Road woman named new ASU Trustee

    Pike Road woman named new ASU Trustee

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:27 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:27:11 GMT
    Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Pam Ware of Pike Road as a trustee of Alabama State University.A spokeswoman for the governor says Ware replaces Elton Dean of Montgomery, who resigned last week at the request of the governor.Ware is an Alabama State graduate who works as manager of intergovernmental affairs at the Business Council of Alabama.Also on Monday, the governor scheduled a special meeting for the Alabama State trustees on Aug. 8. A spokeswoman for the governor says topics to be dis...More >>
    Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Pam Ware of Pike Road as a trustee of Alabama State University.A spokeswoman for the governor says Ware replaces Elton Dean of Montgomery, who resigned last week at the request of the governor.Ware is an Alabama State graduate who works as manager of intergovernmental affairs at the Business Council of Alabama.Also on Monday, the governor scheduled a special meeting for the Alabama State trustees on Aug. 8. A spokeswoman for the governor says topics to be dis...More >>
  • Abuse suspect dead; 2 marshals, NY policeman hurt

    Abuse suspect dead; 2 marshals, NY policeman hurt

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:36 PM EDT2014-07-29 00:36:40 GMT
    Authorities say a sex-assault suspect got in a shootout with law enforcement in New York City that wounded the suspect, two federal marshals and a police officer.More >>
    A California man who skipped town after being accused of molesting a boy was killed and three law enforcement officers trying to arrest him were wounded in a daytime shootout inside a small smoke shop in one of New...More >>
  • Principal address several job openings at Minor High School

    Principal address several job openings at Minor High School

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 00:14:34 GMT
    Students in Jefferson County return to school next week. Parents with kids at Minor High School wonder who will teach them and which classes they'll take. One emailed ABC 33/40 asking us to help get answers.The parent told ABC 33/40 through email, there are 20 vacancies on the staff and no counselors on the payroll Minor High. Principal Dr. JuntaAnnn acknowledged she is in a hiring blitz, but there's more to the story."Minor High School is a well-kept secret," said Dr.Annn.Dr.Annn is aware on...More >>
    Students in Jefferson County return to school next week. Parents with kids at Minor High School wonder who will teach them and which classes they'll take. One emailed ABC 33/40 asking us to help get answers.The parent told ABC 33/40 through email, there are 20 vacancies on the staff and no counselors on the payroll Minor High. Principal Dr. JuntaAnnn acknowledged she is in a hiring blitz, but there's more to the story."Minor High School is a well-kept secret," said Dr.Annn.Dr.Annn is aware on...More >>
  • Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:27:52 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown stood with her attorneys and supporters.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown stood with her attorneys and supporters.
    More >>
  • Rebuilding continues in Bessemer for homes, park hit by tornado

    Rebuilding continues in Bessemer for homes, park hit by tornado

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:06:51 GMT
    Rebuilding efforts continue in Bessemer three months after a tornado hit central Alabama.Volunteers are now fixing houses that were destroyed to help families return home.More >>
    Rebuilding efforts continue in Bessemer three months after a tornado hit central Alabama.Volunteers are now fixing houses that were destroyed to help families return home.More >>
  • Crimson Tide set to host annual Fan Day

    Crimson Tide set to host annual Fan Day

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:06:14 GMT
    Alabama will hold it's annual Fan Day Sunday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Fans are invited to watch the Crimson Tide practice, followed by an autograph session with the team.The practice is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. and expected to last two hours. Alabama reports for preseason practice on Thursday and holds it's first workout on Friday.The Tide open the 2014 season against West Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta on Aug. 30.More >>
    Alabama will hold it's annual Fan Day Sunday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Fans are invited to watch the Crimson Tide practice, followed by an autograph session with the team.The practice is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. and expected to last two hours. Alabama reports for preseason practice on Thursday and holds it's first workout on Friday.The Tide open the 2014 season against West Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta on Aug. 30.More >>