Dr. Heath Grimes Chosen as Recipient of the 2023 Dr. James A. Street Award

Dr. Heath Grimes, Superintendent of Russellville City Schools, has been honored with the prestigious Dr. James A. Street Award for 2023 by the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS). His exceptional contributions include advocating for English Learner (EL) funding, establishing a statewide organization for EL education, and crafting legislation for equitable accountability.
Jun 27, 2023 by Alyssa Godfrey, CLAS Director of Communications

MOBILE, AL - June 13, 2023 – The Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS) is proud to announce that Dr. Heath Grimes, Superintendent of Russellville City Schools, has been honored as the recipient of the esteemed Dr. James A. Street Award for 2023. This prestigious award, presented by the CLAS Board of Directors, recognizes individuals, institutions, or organizations that have demonstrated exceptional service in the interest of administrators, supervisors, and public education. Dr. Grimes' remarkable contributions and tireless advocacy for English Learner (EL) funding in Alabama schools have made him a worthy recipient of this distinguished recognition.

CLAS James Street Award 2023 - Heath Grimes - Russellville City Schools

The Dr. James A. Street Award celebrates both singular, significant contributions and a series of sustained efforts over time. Dr. Grimes' dedication to advancing the cause of EL education and his instrumental role in establishing the CLAS affiliate Alabama Leaders Advocating for English Learners (ALA-EL) exemplify the spirit of this award. As the founding president of ALA-EL, Dr. Grimes has spearheaded a transformative movement, rallying education leaders across the state to address the unique needs of English Learners.

A testament to his leadership and unwavering commitment, Dr. Grimes played a pivotal role in crafting an education bill that adopts a "common sense" approach to accountability for EL students in Alabama schools. This groundbreaking legislation removes EL students from a school's achievement component for the students' initial five years, enabling a more equitable and supportive educational environment. Dr. Grimes' advocacy and policy initiatives have also led to the establishment of the EL Instructional Department at the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), ensuring dedicated resources and support for English Learners statewide.

Dr. Grimes' exceptional leadership extends beyond his legislative accomplishments. Russellville City Schools, under his guidance, has undergone a profound transformation in mindset and culture, garnering national recognition for their innovative approach. Recently featured in Education Week, Dr. Grimes and his school district have become a beacon of inspiration for their progressive educational practices and dedication to creating an inclusive learning environment that values the diverse backgrounds and experiences of their students.

Dr. Vic Wilson, Executive Director for the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS), commended Dr. Grimes for his exceptional contributions, stating, "Dr. Heath Grimes has displayed outstanding leadership and commitment to advancing the educational opportunities for English Learners in Alabama. His visionary advocacy and policy initiatives have had a lasting impact on our state's education system. We applaud Dr. Grimes for his dedication and congratulate him on receiving the prestigious Dr. James A. Street Award."

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 learning and support for Alabama’s public school administrators. CLAS now serves twelve 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 learning provider for administrators in public schools in the state of Alabama.