Coley presents 45 awards

Coley presents 45 awards

Reading Time: 2 minutes

By Toni Stauffer

The Russell County School District recognized 45 students, staff, administrators, and parents with awards during its Awards of Excellence  celebration last week. The event was hosted by Superintendent Dr. Brenda Coley. 

Awards include: 

Academics/Character

John Burnett, Hannah Camper, Geena Collazo, Taylor Harmon, Shawn Kitchens, Easton Mancil, Joshua Miles, David Overstreet, Reina Padilla, Tysean Thomas, and Kynnedy Yates. 

Educators/Mentors 

Kara Benenhaley, Mallory Davenport, Gail Davis, Sunny Flowers, Zaneta Heard, Courtenay Jones, Kimberly Keels, Shavonnie Perkins, Tracy Poole, Jennifer Quillope, Mark Thorne, and Bethany Venable.  

Administrators 

Marceda Lewis, Lt. Lon Russell, and Paula Thompson. 

Instructional/Support Staff

Mary McBride, Linda Clark, Kelvin Collins, Ada Covington, Lloyd Davis, Kathy Greene, Angie Holiday, Virginia Ivey, Marie Long, Willie Long, Karent Serrano, Brenda Washington

Community/Parental Involvement

Kim Armstrong, Shawn Blakney, John Bogie, Kari Chitty, Tori Crews, Leslie Cook, Tanesia Leger




Alabama Representative Chris Blackshear spoke during the event about the qualities of leadership and his first remarks were aimed at the students in the room. 

“I play the political game, because I’m naïve enough to think I can still make a difference…the art of guiding and leading people is a lost art sometimes these days,” Blackshear said. He shared about his own journey starting at the bottom at TSYS to where he now leads a team of 16 people.

“You’re really looking at a thin line between successful people and unsuccessful people. The main difference for me is successful people look at a task in front of them and they figure a way to make it happen. Unsuccessful people want to figure out a way to make it not happen…a lot of times in life, the biggest barrier to accomplishing something is yourself.” 




Blackshear spoke to school support staff and to their importance. 

“The school system is like a ship. If you don’t do your job and that ship starts taking on water, you’re all going down.” He spoke to administration and told them that no one knows what is going on better than the staff and that they should make sure to be connected. Last, he spoke to teachers. “Teaching is a special calling,” Blackshear said. “There is a special place in Heaven for teachers.”