FOLEY - Last year was trying to everyone. It’s no different for Baldwin County Public Schools, which faced unprecedented challenges during the 2020/21 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. …
FOLEY - Last year was trying to everyone. It’s no different for Baldwin County Public Schools, which faced unprecedented challenges during the 2020/21 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through it all, brick and mortar schools in the county remained opened. Students and parents had the choice to attend school virtually or in person. New schools continued to open.
None of this went unnoticed. Through criticism and lessons learned on the go, the Baldwin County Board of Education persevered. For the efforts put forth by Superintendent Eddie Tyler and his staff, the Foley mayor and council held a reception in Tyler’s honor on Monday, April 19.
“I don’t even know what to say other than thank you,” said Tyler. “I’ve been in education 45 years and it’s not for awards or recognition, it’s for children. I have the best board I’m serving with now. I think we’re innovators, we take educational risks, and our board supports that, the City of Foley and the citizens of Foley have supported us.”
Along with the mayor and council, the reception was attended by Foley schools’ principals, assistant principals, school staff, Board of Education members and staff, and county commissioners. Prior to the reception, Hellmich read a proclamation in Tyler’s honor detailing the reasons for the event.
“I want to say that our superintendent has led the State of Alabama in being progressive during a very trying and difficult time,” Mayor Ralph Hellmich said. “It goes way further back than that. We have new schools in Foley, and the care that he pushes onto the employees motivates them. We have a new Lighthouse School in Foley, at the Foley Elementary School, which is a great honor. The list goes on and on, the things that have happened since Mr. Tyler has come to our county, and we want to show our appreciation today.”
Since becoming Baldwin County superintendent in 2015, Tyler and his staff have built brand-new schools and expansions onto existing schools throughout the county. This is to help with overcrowding issues caused by the growth the county has experienced. In Foley, this came in the form of Mathis Elementary School, which successfully split students between the new school and the Foley Elementary School. Prior to this, Foley Elementary School was the largest elementary in the state.
Hellmich said once schools reopened during the pandemic, teachers were not required to teach both virtual and in classrooms, which was a tremendous help to them. Baldwin County Public School employees were given a $1,000 bonus. Employees also received the COVID-19 vaccine without having to use their personal or sick time.
“Our teachers, our 4,000 employees, this is them,” Tyler said. “I can’t thank you enough, I’m honored and humbled, but your recognition of me transcends to those 4,000 employees … We take these risks, and there’s a lot of critics out there, I’m sure I was criticized when I decided we were going to lift our masks, but it was the right thing to do. It was a choice, and our employees were excited, our children were smiling. We’re in the best place in the State of Alabama and that’s Baldwin County. I’m just excited and I’m humbled, and I’m not sure why me, but I accept this on behalf of Baldwin County School Board and Baldwin County employees. Thank you very much.”