Alabaster, Ala.: Dr. Brenda Rickett, recently retired executive director of teaching and learning for the Alabaster City School System, was chosen as the 2020 CLAS Leadership Award winner sponsored by Horace Mann. This award is typically announced during the CLAS Convention in June; however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the award was postponed and announced in a recent Friday Update via a recorded ceremony. CLAS Executive Director Dr. Vic Wilson and representatives from Horace Mann will present Rickett with a $1,000 check in September. Horace Mann sponsors this award annually.
Out of five very worthy nominees for this honor, Rickett best exemplified the leadership characteristics the award is intended to recognize. Her nomination was made by the Alabama Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (AASCD). This prestigious award has been given each year since 1980 by the CLAS Board of Directors to a CLAS member who is proven to be an exemplary leader, not only in the local school system, but also in their affiliated member organization.
Dr. Brenda Rickett worked tirelessly for more than 30 years in K-12 education with the majority of those year in administration. She has served as a teacher, local school administrator, and a central office administrator during her career. Prior to her retirement, she was employed by Alabaster City Schools as the executive director of teaching and learning and before that, she served as deputy superintendent for Opelika City Schools. Her superior knowledge of student learning positioned the Opelika City School System as an innovator in scheduling and instruction, resulting in multiple schools earning CLAS Banner School awards.
Rickett challenged school leaders to set goals that benefit students. During her tenure with Opelika City Schools, the graduation rate grew to record levels; the system expanded its dual enrollment and advanced placement offerings; and aligned offerings in the career technical program to meet both the needs of students and local industry.
Brenda Rickett is also skilled in developing leaders. Dr. Farrell Seymore, Ed.D. credits her mentorship for “empowering me to grow as a leader, equipping me with the tools needed to be successful.” She mentored countless other school leaders, teachers, and students throughout her extensive career in education.
In addition to her work within the local school system, Rickett served on the board of directors for AASCD for more than six years; held two-year terms as president-elect and president; and served on the CLAS Board of Directors. She also helped develop the Central Office Boot Camp Drive-In Conference to present the timeliest information for directors through collaboration with the Alabama State Department of Education and CLAS. AASCD Executive Director Dr. Jane Cobia credits Rickett’s leadership for AASCD’s February recognition by ASCD International as having achieved the highest honor, the Overall Excellence Award.
Rickett remained dedicated to the spirit and purpose of AASCD, presenting intentional effort for the provision of high-quality professional development; providing steady leadership as AASCD faced internal and external changes; and epitomizing a truly dedicated educator. She leaves behind a legacy of learning and positive relationship-building in each school system she served.
“Dr. Brenda Rickett embodies the spirit of the CLAS Leadership Award,” said AASCD Executive Director Dr. Jane Cobia. “Brenda shows her passion for AASCD in her writings, her presentations, and she models the epitome of a truly innovative educator. She is most deserving of this award.”
“Dr. Rickett has been a well-respected leader in Alabama’s education community for many years,” states CLAS Executive Director Dr. Vic Wilson. “She has accomplished so much during her career, and I can’t think of a more worthy recipient of the CLAS Leadership Award.”
- Andy Carpenter - Alabama Association of Middle School Principals
Assistant Principal, Pizitz Middle School, Vestavia Hills City Schools
- Melinda Splawn - Alabama Association of School Personnel Administrators
Director of Personnel, St. Clair County Schools
- Dr. Brenda Rickett - Alabama Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Retired Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Alabaster City Schools
- Dr. Charles Gardner - Alabama Association of Elementary School Administrators
Principal, Hokes Bluff Elementary School, Etowah County Schools
- Dr. Richard Templeton - Alabama Council of Administrators of Special Education
Supervisor of Student Services, Muscle Shoals City Schools
- Heath Grimes – Alabama Leaders Advocating for English Learners
Superintendent, Russellville City Schools
About CLAS: CLAS, the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools was founded in 1969 by a small group of school leaders to provide targeted professional development and support for Alabama’s public school administrators. CLAS now serves eleven affiliates representing each type of public school/school system leader. CLAS provides the framework to connect dedicated school administrators and other successful leaders with a network for professional growth and support. CLAS is the premier professional development provider for administrators in public schools in the state of Alabama.
About Horace Mann: Horace Mann helps educators and all school employees achieve financial success at every state of their lives. They understand the importance of staying within a budget. With strategies to reduce student loan debt, ways to secure classroom funding without using their own money and insurance program reviews to find savings, they work with educator to maximize hard-earned dollars and help develop a path to a successful future. Horace Mann sponsors the CLAS Leadership Award annually.
Photo (left to right): Linda Agee, Alabaster City Schools CSFO; Derrick Hester, Demopolis Middle School Principal; Dr. Ira Sullivan, Maxwell Elementary School Principal; Dr. Keri Johnson, Tuscaloosa County Schools Superintendent; Dr. Brenda Rickett, Award Winner; Dr. Jane Cobia, AASCD Executive Director; and Dr. Vic Wilson, CLAS Executive Director. DOWNLOAD PHOTO
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