On Aug. 10, 2021, Rotarian Bill Mitchell (left) hosted both outgoing School Superintendent and fellow Rotarian Jim Cunningham (right) and incoming Superintendent Brian Jett during Tuesday’s meeting on August 10th. Superintendent Cunningham, who had previously announced this past April his plans to retire effective 1 October, led off the presentation with reflections over his 36 years of service to his home town’s school system, 18 of which were at the helm as Superintendent. Mr. Cunningham gave insight into the recent challenge and accomplishment of completing Little Ridge Intermediate School on time for the start of 3rd through 5th grade classes, and praised the experience and leadership abilities of his successor, Brian Jett.
Superintendent Jett, also with an impressive resume in the Fort Payne School system spanning the past 26 years, relayed his fond memories coaching wrestling, track and basketball. Having taught history and geography, Mr. Jett began his administration career in 2000 as Assistant Principal for Fort Payne’s Wills Valley Elementary, Williams Avenue Elementary, and finally Fort Payne Middle School. In 2006, Mr. Jett was named Principal of Williams Avenue Elementary, and has served as Principal of Fort Payne High School since 2010. As Superintendent, Mr. Jett relayed the importance of his students being involved in extracurricular activities, lauding the expansion and variety of experiences students are now offered in the Fort Payne system. Mr. Jett reflected that school activities have expanded and developed greatly since he was a student in the 80s; having been a choice of either sports or band. Now students are exposed to career preparing pathways in health care, robotics, tv production, culinary and cuisine. Furthermore, Mr. Jett looks to bring a new construction pathway online which will orient and prepare students for careers in much needed trades such as plumbing, electrical, and construction. Exciting new future oriented tracks will showcase green car and drone aviation pathways as well.
Looking ahead, Mr. Jett relayed his priorities, stating the importance of input from students, parents, faculty, staff, the community and our workforce. Mr. Jett closed by stating there is not a replacement for someone the caliber of Jim Cunningham, who has led and improved a stable school system over the past 18 years. Pledging to do his best in his new role, Mr. Jett thanked Mr. Cunningham for the past recommendations and opportunities for the numerous previous positions that has culminated in his selection as Fort Payne’s next Superintendent of Education.