The Lee County School System will take a prominent role advocating a progressive education for each student in our schools. The mission of Lee County Schools is to educate every student through a comprehensive and academically challenging curriculum taught in a safe and nurturing environment. We challenge students to pursue dreams, succeed with integrity, and contribute meaningfully to a diverse society.
The Lee County Board of Education has a responsibility to ensure every student learns at his/her maximum potential and to set standards and expectations for the quality of education through the establishment of graduation requirements, accreditation of local schools, and certification of professionals. The Board of Education, the administration, and the staff of Lee County Schools will continuously focus on:
-preparing students for a knowledge-based, technologically enhanced, and culturally diverse 21st century. -Supporting each student's success in a learning community. -Ensuring a partnership with families and communities to support student learning. -Communicating a vision for improving public education for ALL Lee County students. -guaranteeing that students have an opportunity to learn the skills necessary for their future, either for jobs or further education. -Maintaining a strong partnership between the communities and the schools. -Opening pathways of communication between all groups concerned with education. -Proactively implementing continuous improvement for grades K-12. -Advocating professional development and teacher education programs.
Lee County School System's Core Beliefs
-All students are valued individuals who can learn. -The education of each student is a responsibility shared by students, families, schools, and communities. -Each individual achieves best in an environment where physical and emotional safety is guaranteed. -Personal integrity is essential to individual success. -Learning is a lifelong endeavor.
Lee County District Map
Lee County, Alabama has a current population of approximately 133,010 people, a geographic size of 609 square miles, and a median household income of $39,719. Education is considered by many as the number one industry since Lee County is the home of Auburn University, the largest institution of higher education in Alabama with just over 23,000 students. Auburn University is also the largest employer in the county with over 5,200 employees. Lee County also hosts Southern Union State Community College, a two-year postsecondary institution offering day and evening classes, Lee County Schools, Auburn City Schools, Opelika City Schools, Lee-Scott Academy and Glenwood School.
The Lee County School System is located in Central East Alabama along the Alabama/Georgia border and currently has a total of 14 schools. Of those 14 schools, 7 are elementary, 2 are middle schools, and 5 are high schools. The student population for kindergarten through 12th grade is 9,738; which represents 48% of all school age students in the county. There are 1,215 employees, an annual budget of $123,302, and a four month reserve operating balance. The superintendent is an appointed official who serves as the secretary to a seven member elected Board of Education. The Lee County School System contains four unique attendance zones identified as Smiths Station, Beauregard, Beulah and Loachapoka. Smiths Station
Smiths Station is the largest attendance area with an estimated population of over 25,000. The incorporated community of Smiths Station is located in the southeastern part of the county close to the larger towns of Phenix City, Alabama and Columbus, Georgia; home of Fort Benning. The Smiths Station attendance zone is beginning to experience additional growth with new families moving into the area associated with Fort Benning and the Army's BRAC realignment scheduled to be completed in 2011. Local restaurants and convenience stores populate the large rural area with very few manufacturing or industrial sites scattered around the area. The majority of residents work in neighboring cities.
There are 5 schools in the Smiths Station attendance zone identified as West Smiths Station Elementary (K-6), East Smiths Station Elementary (K-6),South Smiths Station Elementary (K-6), Wacoochee Elementary (K-6), Smiths Station Jr. High School (7-8), Smiths Station Freshman Center (9), and "New" Smith Station High School (10-12) beginning 2011-12 school year. All schools, with the exception of Smiths Station High, are eligible but not served with Title I programs. The construction of a new elementary school has also been recently approved by the board of education.
Beauregard is the second largest attendance zone with an estimated population of over 13,000. The unincorporated community is located south of the Auburn and Opelika City limits. While there is little or no industrial or manufacturing base located within the community, the residents work predominately in blue collar, wage-earning positions in neighboring cities. However, with the emphasis on education, the number of residents who have completed some postsecondary education continues to increase. There are 3 schools in the Beauregard attendance zone identified as Beauregard Elementary (K-4), Sanford Middle School (5-8), and Beauregard High School (9-12). Beauregard Elementary is eligible and served as a Title I school-wide program. Sanford Middle and Beauregard High are eligible but not served with Title I programs.
Beulah is the third largest attendance zone with an estimated population of over 8,000. The unincorporated community is located in the northeastern part of the county closest to the City of Valley, Alabama in Chambers County. The major point of interest for this rural setting is the back waters of the Chattahoochee River and Lake Harding. There is no central business district and only a few restaurants and convenience stores to meet the immediate needs of the citizens. Many of the citizens work in neighboring cities; however, the school functions as the largest employer and center of activity for the area. There are two schools in the Beulah attendance zone identified as Beulah Elementary (K-6) and Beulah High (7-12). Beulah Elementary and Beulah High are eligible but not served with Title I programs.
Loachapoka is the smallest attendance zone with an estimated population of over 1,000. The incorporated community is located in the western part of the county just outside the Auburn City Limits. Loachapoka maintains a rural, agricultural based community with little to no central business district, restaurants or convenience stores to meet the immediate needs of the citizens. Transportation from home to school and businesses in the surrounding areas is a challenge for residents of this community. The community sponsors an annual fall festival entitled " Loachapoka Syrup-Soppin" that brings people into the area from many miles away. Residents place a strong emphasis on community history and heritage with the school serving as a major center of activity in the area. There are two schools in the Loachapoka attendance zone identified as Loachapoka Elementary (K-6) and Loachapoka High (7-12). Loachapoka Elementary and Loachapoka High are eligible and served as Title I school-wide programs.
The Lee County Board of Education is the governing body for the school system. The Board is comprised of seven (7) members who are elected by the citizens of the county. The members are elected on a rotating basis for a four-year term. Although members are elected from a particular district, each member serves by representing all of the children in the Lee County School System. The President and Vice-President are subsequently elected by Board members. The Board is an active member of the Alabama School Board Association and a direct affiliate of the National School Boards Association. The Board members participate in professional development opportunities offered by this organization to remain abreast of current federal and state laws, regulations, codes, mandates, and best practices. Board retreats are conducted so that the Board can continue to develop and evaluate goals and objectives.
The legal authority of the Board and responsibilities of school personnel are represented in the organizational chart for the district. Lines of authority and areas of responsibility are recommended by the Superintendent and approved by the Board of Education. The official spokespersons of the district are the President of the Board, the Superintendent, and the Superintendent's authorized designee. The Superintendent regularly provides information to the Board to make them cognizant of new laws, innovative school practices, and other matters that the Board may need to consider. To ensure compliance with statutory expectations and to provide legal counsel, the Board of Education consults three law firms: (1) Sanford and Denson, and Attorneys, (2) Bishop, Colvin, Johnson, and Kent, and (3) Lanier, Ford, Shaver, and Payne. Sanford and Denson, a local firm, tends to advise regarding routine operational issues. Bishop, Colvin, Johnson and Kent, tends to advise regarding contract negotiations, while Woody Sanderson of Lanier, Ford, Shaver, and Payne, a specialist in the area of educational law, provides advice regarding policy development and personnel actions.
The Lee County Board of Education meets monthly to monitor progress and establish policy. Multiple strategies are used to ensure the effective and efficient operations of the Board of Education to establish policy and evaluate the effectiveness of those policies. The Board of Education adopts written policies in accordance with board policy, which requires policies to be presented and discussed and then voted on the following month. The 30 day waiting period is a time to receive staff, community, Lee County Education Association, and employee input.
Lee County School System Trends
There are several major trends currently impacting the Lee County School system. The 2009-2010 school year marks the second year of the current superintendent's administrative leadership, prior to that he served as the interim superintendent for one year. The 2009-2010 school year also marks the second year of two new positions for the central office staff; assistant superintendent of elementary curriculum and assistant superintendent of secondary curriculum. All three administrators came from systems outside Lee County. A third assistant superintendent of operations and business, a former principal in the school system, was added in June of 2009.
Another major trend impacting the Lee County Schools involves additional growth in student population not only with new families moving into the Smiths Station Attendance zone associated with Fort Benning and the Army's BRAC realignment scheduled to be completed in 2011, but also the completion of the new KIA plant, and supporting supplier companies, less than 30 minutes from the Beulah attendance zone. Marginal growth is occurring in the Beauregard attendance zone as families move from the Opelika City limits into the rural surrounding areas. Limited growth is occurring in the Loachapoka attendance zone as families with English Language Learners (ELL) move into the areas located south and west of Auburn City. The ELL population in Lee County Schools has doubled in the last two years.
As a result of growth in student population and reorganization of central office personnel, an issue that has emerged over the last two years has been the need for new construction in several areas. A new Smiths Station High School is currently under construction. The construction of a new elementary school in the Smiths Station attendance zone, a new media center at Beauregard High School, and a new central office complex will begin in 2010.