State of Schools program sheds light on FCS, RCS, NW-SCC

The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce hosted the fourth annual State of the Schools program in the Belgreen High School auditorium Oct. 13.

Speakers included Russellville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Heath Grimes, Franklin County Schools Superintendent Greg Hamilton and Northwest-Shoals Community College President Dr. Jeff Goodwin.


As part of his comments, Hamilton shared the following budget notes:

  • 2019-2020 – $38.7 million
  • 2020-2021 – $40.7 million
  • 2021-2022 – $43.6 million
  • 2022-2023 – $58.1 million

Hamilton explained this year’s significant budgetary increase is because of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding approved during COVID-19.

Hamilton reported a total of 582 employees, estimating around 635 including substitutes. He listed the school system’s transportation as including 71 buses with 52 traditional bus routes, four technical education routes and four special needs routes.

Hamilton reported English learner staff includes seven certified teachers and three bilingual aides for 302 English learners. Number of English learners by school are:

  • Belgreen – 49
  • East Franklin – 10
  • Phil Campbell Elementary – 12
  • Phil Campbell High – 14
  • Red Bay Elementary – 12
  • Red Bay High – 4
  • Tharptown Elementary – 123
  •  Tharptown High – 75
  • Vina – 3

Hamilton also reported on the percentages breakdown of how students identify at each school, as well as shared the Title I schools poverty level percentages.

Student enrollment for FCS has remained relatively steady, coming in at 3,597 in 2018-19, 3,697 in 2019-20, 3,598 in 2020-21, 3,499 in 2021-22 and 3,519 in 2022-23.

Hamilton also spoke on a variety of other topics, including academics, career and technical programs and capital projects.

Recent capital projects completed include:

  • 10 classrooms, cafeteria and storm shelter at Tharptown Elementary
  • 400 energy-efficient windows installed county-wide
  • Agriscience/Family and Consumer Sciences remodels at Red Bay High
  • Band Hall at Red Bay High
  • Baseball field at Belgreen High
  • Concession stand at Tharptown High
  • Administrative offices at East Franklin Junior High

Capital projects in progress include:

  • Softball field at Red Bay High
  • Football field and track at Belgreen High
  • Gym at East Franklin Junior High
  • Library expansion at Phil Campbell Elementary
  • Additional classrooms at East Franklin Junior High
  • Phase II at Red Bay High
  • Greenhouse at Vina High
  • Tennis court renovation at Red Bay High


RCS Superintendent Dr. Heath Grimes shared some of the system’s goals, including accomplishments among the students and faculty; improvement to facilities; and embracing of core values, such as honesty and respect.

He reported 2019 RCS enrollment included 736 at RHS, 730 at West Elementary, 579 at RMS and 574 at Russellville Elementary.

He also shared percentages of non-EL vs. EL learners, as well as sharing how RCS stands with English learner proficiency, coming in at 42.9. In addition, he spoke on science proficiency, the A-F district report card, ESSER funds, safety and security upgrades and the 2021-22 year in review.

Among the 2021-22 highlights:

  • Russellville Elementary was named an Alabama Science of Reading Spotlight School.
  • RHS was named one of the U.S. News and World Report Top 25 high schools in the state.
  • RES was named a CLAS School of Excellence.
  • RHS claims state championship in baseball, state runner-up in boys’ soccer and state runner-up in girls’ tennis.
  • The Marching Hundred Band won the 5A championship competition.
  • The Scholars Bowl won the 5A championship competition.
  • RCS’ CNP director Elaine Vaughn was named State Director of the Year.

Grimes also spotlighted some recent capital improvements, including:

  • Pre-K parking lot renovation
  • Completion of the new building at RHS
  • RCS auditorium curtains and carpet
  • RHS new addition awnings and courtyard
  • New science labs

Capital plans for 2022-23 include:

  • Career tech renovation and expansion
  • Security upgrades
  • Renovating former office at RHS to house technology center
  • Renovations at auditorium – restrooms, classrooms and lighting
  • Paving and draining replacement at drivers ed range
  • Phase II: CTE Renovation/Expansion


Goodwin reported an increase of 700 students over the previous year, which he explained represents about a 20 percent increase. He said the majority of new students came from dual-enrollment and online students.

Goodwin said the college offers more than 100 certificate-degree programs, and he shared an increase in several programs, as well as the state of the athletics programs. He said the welding program is especially thriving.

Outstanding Employee of the Year

New to this year’s State of the Schools, each school recognized an Outstanding Employee of the Year. Outstanding Employees of the Year are:

  • Belva Devaney, secretary, Belgreen
  • Tracey Potter, kindergarten teacher, East Franklin Junior High
  • Dustan King, industrial maintenance teacher, Franklin County Career Technical Center
  • Beth Loveless, instructor, NW-SCC Phil Campbell
  • Tammy Dodge, custodian, Phil Campbell Elementary
  • Susan Holt, English teacher, Phil Campbell High
  • Dawn Weaver, reading interventionist, Red Bay Elementary
  • Rhonda Scott, custodian, Red Bay High
  • Melissa Greenhill, reading specialist, Russellville Elementary
  • Brea Colagross, programming and software development teacher, Russellville High
  • Janett Vargas, translator and EL aide, Russellville Middle
  • Rick Itter, school resource officer, Russellville West Elementary
  • Monica Elliott, reading specialist, Tharptown Elementary
  • Christy Dill, secretary, Tharptown High
  • Sara Hattaway, English teacher, theatre coach and BETA sponsor, Vina High

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