Why I Love Franklin County: Natalie Bendall
FRANKLIN LIVING— Natalie Bendall has been married to Brett Bendall for 23 years, and they have two sons, Blake and Brayden Bendall. Brett is the president/CEO of Sustainable Safety Solutions, located in Franklin County. Blake is a senior at Auburn University majoring in business finance and is engaged to his high school sweetheart, Hannah Prince. Brayden is a senior at Russellville High School and plans to pursue an education in business entrepreneurship upon graduation while playing college golf.
A 1995 graduate of Russellville High School with an associate’s degree in general education from NW-SCC, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from The University of North Alabama and a master’s and education specialist’s degree in instructional leadership from The University of North Alabama, Natalie is working on her Doctorate of Education degree virtually through the University of West Alabama.
How long have you lived in Franklin County?
I have lived in Franklin County for 35 years. My family moved from Littleville to Duncan Creek when I was in first grade. I remember how excited I was to be able to go to Russellville to school.
What is your job title, and what does your work entail?
I am currently the assistant principal and career and technical education director at Russellville High School. I am responsible for managing the district career and technical education program. As an instructional leader, I am highly involved in the development and improvement of instructional programs in career and technical education as well as the core curriculum at Russellville High School. I support strong community collaboration and pursue partnerships with local business and industry. This is my 15th year as a member of the Russellville City Schools family. Just as family members have the opportunity to wear many hats, I have been blessed to wear many hats at Russellville City Schools: elementary teacher, elementary administrator, middle school administrator, high school administrator and career and technical education director.
What do you enjoy about your job, or what about it is meaningful to you?
I originally chose to be a teacher because it was the “mommy” thing to do. Brett and I got married in August after I graduated high school. Within two years, I had my first son, Blake. I knew if I was a teacher, I would be off when he was out of school and would have the summers to spend with him. Little did I know I would fall in love with education and students. Every position I have held has enabled me to impact lives in different ways. I know that God has placed me exactly where He wants me to be.
One of my favorite quotes is located at the bottom of my email: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” -Confucius. I love my job, and I strongly believe children are our most valuable assets. To ensure the growth of our community, we must work together to support them.
What is your favorite place to visit in Franklin County?
My favorite place to visit in Franklin County is Cedar Creek. I love spending time with my family near the water. All of my boys love to fish and camp, so some of my favorite memories are of our time at Cedar Creek.
What are your favorite Franklin County restaurants, and what do you like about each of them?
This is a super hard question because I love Franklin County food and I really do not love to cook. If I had to pick just a few of my favorites: Speedy Pig’s chicken fingers, Pilgrim’s chicken salad, 43 Grille’s grilled chicken, Doe’s fried shrimp, The Grind’s breakfast rolls, Frosty Inn’s peanut butter milkshake and Taylor’s pink fluff.
Why do you love Franklin County?
I love Franklin County because it is the perfect picture of small-town America.
- Favorite hobby: painting and collecting Fenton.
- Favorite food: ice cream.
- Goal or ambition: I would love to write a book one day.
- Church: Faith Church in Florence, where we were married 23 years ago.
- Something people might not know about me is: I occasionally write and post to a blog called Exponential Impact.