McKenzie leads ABBSC

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 15, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

Dr. Fannie Major-McKenzie believes education is an essential ingredient to anyone’s success. As superintendent of the Dallas County School System, McKenzie works to obtain top-notch opportunities for the students she serves.

And now as chairwoman of the newly incorporated Alabama Black Belt Superintendents Coalition (ABBSC), McKenzie is working to enhance the lives of all students throughout the Black Belt region.

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An entity of Gov. Bob Riley’s Black Belt Action Commission (BBAC), the ABBSC’s mission is “to serve as a collaborative group to improve the quality of public education in Alabama’s Black Belt.”

“We feel that as a group we can collaborate to improve achievement and leadership across all categories such as student attendance, purchasing power and overall improvement of the quality of life of people in the Black Belt using education as a vehicle to do that,” McKenzie said.

After becoming Dallas County school superintendent in April 2004, McKenzie attended the first ABBSC meeting “to explore the possibilities” because “they were just beginning to start efforts to organize the coalition.”

Two years later, the coalition – comprised of 15 members – is partnering with several state organizations to implement several initiatives focused on arts education, health science and education, library media specialists, school readiness and professional development. McKenzie said ABBSC is now reviewing professional development tactics via a professional development committee and is striving to “grow our own leaders.”

“We feel the more effect the leadership from superintendents on down, it will result in better achievement,” McKenzie said.

The professional development committee and other ABBSC initiatives are the result of Alabama Senate Bill 567, which authorizes two or more city or county boards of education that are not adjoining to enter into joint purchasing agreements. Introduced by State Senator Hank Sanders, McKenzie said the bill enhances purchasing power among Black Belt school systems.

The ABBSC is also working to implement a school readiness program called HIPPY, which stands for Home Instruction from Parents of Pre-School Youngsters. McKenzie said HIPPY trains parents to take active roles in their child’s primary education and provides students with the necessary tools in order to make a smooth transition from pre-school to elementary school. The ABBSC is partnering with HIPPY Alabama and the Alabama Power Co. on the project.

McKenzie said the ABBSC meets on a quarterly basis and is a 501-3C non-profit corporation. Those who wish to make a donation to the ABBSC should call (334) 353-0544.

McKenzie said she is looking forward to working with other Black Belt superintendents and the children they serve.

“We’re committed to excellence but excellence is not going to happen overnight,” she said. “It’s a continuous process.”