When she sees Ed program specialist and chief College 101 staffer Ballard Jones peek through her door, she’ll often say, “Oh, no, Ballard. We don’t want you here today,” with a smirk and a short laugh.
Hall, curriculum coach at Wenonah High School, has been Ed’s main contact for coordinating and scheduling College 101 events during the 2013-2014 school year; this has been no small task, as Ed quickly expanded the program to engage students in over 1000 conversations about college prep and admissions this spring alone.
Jones appreciates the humor, but even more so, he appreciates her dedication to her students and her support of Ed programs. “Dr. Hall is excellent to work with,” Jones says. “She and the other College 101 contacts have spent a lot of time coordinating programs and students and we are very grateful for their partnership. Our programs aren’t possible without the support of staff at the schools.”
Hall brings a bevy of academic credentials to her work at Wenonah. She completed her BS in Biology at University of Alabama; a BA in English, MA in education, and EdS in educational leadership at UAB; an EdD in educational leadership from UA/UAB; and is currently working on her PhD in English through UA/UAB. On top of that, she has dedicated 25 years to working in Birmingham City Schools.
As you can imagine, after two decades here, Hall has seen her share of changes in Birmingham City Schools; but when asked about educational innovation, she cited the new and expanding Academies of Birmingham, an initiative started in 2011 that relies on the structure of national career-academy models. “Through that paradigm, kids are exposed to more college and career choices, networking opportunities, and cultural experiences beyond the classroom,” Hall says. “The principals of work-based learning provide opportunities to partner with professionals that align with students’ future career choices.”
Ed has worked with students in Wenonah’s Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, providing ACT prep through the work of long-term volunteers from UAB Honors College and Lawson State, and enlisting Alabama Possible to expand their Blueprints College Access curriculum to the school. Hall has served as the main point-of-contact for most College 101 programs, and has been the sponsor for the school’s College Champions, an elite group of students that promoted events to the rest of the student body.
Despite her jokes and good humor, Hall is serious about her job and about supporting her students. “Teaching is a unique profession,” she says, “because it is a journey that lends itself to many avenues, both positive and negative. But by capitalizing on the positive, a teacher can make a difference in a child’s life by giving him the opportunity to succeed. And that is worth all the work.”