Each year, SSA acknowledges outstanding performance and achievement by superintendents in various regions across Alabama. Dr. Suzanne Lacey was also recognized during the AASA National Conference where the national winner for 2022 will be announced.
Superintendent Lacey on her experience and what’s next for Alabama schools:
Tell us about your background. Why education?
From the age of five, I knew that I wanted to become a teacher. Believe it or not, chalkboards and other classroom supplies made it on my Christmas list almost every year. I think that I gravitated toward education because many of my immediate relatives served as teachers, and they all instilled within me a strong work ethic. Ultimately, I remain passionate about education because it is incredibly exciting to nurture developing minds.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
I am most proud of my work here with Talladega County Schools, where I have been for 38 years. I am fortunate to have seen the system from every end – as a teacher, an assistant principal and now a superintendent. I’m very proud of the efforts my team has made to change the face of teaching and learning, all while providing students and teachers with an innovative and creative learning environment.
How do you measure success in your role?
I measure success in Talladega County Schools by our students. When I first became superintendent 14 years ago, around 72% of the district’s students were graduating from high school. Currently, our graduation rate is 96.5%, which only continues to rise. We are extremely proud of the fact that upon graduation, our students are college and career ready.
What is the legacy you hope to leave?
I hope to be remembered as a leader. Most importantly, I hope to instill within my students the capacity for leadership. In my opinion, this is the greatest gift that a superintendent can give to a school district.
What are your goals for Talladega County Schools?
The vision for our district is to provide an engaging, rigorous curriculum for our students that leads to college and career-readiness. We hope that our students can work as collaborative problem-solvers who, by the time they graduate from high school, have an idea of what their future career paths look like.
What do you think the future holds for your state?
The future for Alabama school districts is bright. We not only have an outstanding leader as our state superintendent, but we also possess a great deal of capable, action-oriented stakeholders. Our state is well-positioned to continue moving forward in positioning ourselves as a national public education leader.
Any parting thoughts?
I would love to thank the Talladega County Board of Education, a group of unparalleled leaders with whom I’ve been lucky enough to work over the past 14 years. I would also like to thank my central office team. Working with this group has been my greatest honor, and I thank you for your leadership and most importantly, your friendship.
Superintendent Lacey illustrates the evolution of education during her period of service. Her passion for education and great dedication to her work are examples to other districts on how to meet the unprecedented challenges and keep a mindset of moving forward.
The challenges facing America’s schools, cities and counties today are unique. Administrators are working hard to understand how best to design their buildings to protect the health of occupants – the students, teachers, employees and residents that make up our communities – while also protecting the budget. This guide will help superintendents, presidents, city officials and facility managers discover how to create and fund Healthy Buildings.