Dr. Frank Costanzo, Pell City School System Interim Superintendent, presides over his first Board of Education meeting on Tuesday. Photo by Adam Fagan

On Tuesday July 16, the Pell City Board of Education held its regular meeting, over which Interim Superintendent Dr. Frank Costanzo presided for the first time.

They recognized Pell City High School for achieving the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Safe Sports School Award. NATA recognizes secondary schools which adhere to a rigorous set of nine policies which serves to protect student athletes from serious injuries.

According to the NATA website, they observe policies such as promoting a “positive health care administrative system” which includes efforts to ensure student physical, mental and emotional health through regular examination, effective preventative measures and appropriately maintained equipment and facilities. In addition to the school’s own efforts to ensure the safety of its athletes, the board credits the school’s partnerships with local health care providers such as PlaySafe, Dr. Rick Jotani, St. Vincent Hospitals, ATI Physical Therapy and Andrews Sports Medicine.

Dr. Costanzo said of Andrews Sports Medicine, “Having an athletic trainer available is a great resource,” toward earning the award, and praised the excellent treatment afforded to students at St. Vincent’s. He remarked earning this award, “is not an easy task,” and “what a great opportunity this is, and the safety of our student athletes in every sport and situation is a great concern.”

The board also discussed upcoming changes to personnel, notably Iola Roberts Elementary School’s new principal Patrick Stewart Dowell. Dowell earned his Bachelor of Arts in Education magna cum laude from the University of Alabama, a Bachelor of Science in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University and has held a career in education since 1999 over which he earned several accolades such as Teacher of the Year for Pinedale Elementary School in Enterprise, Ala. and received a nomination for Teacher of the Year for the entire Enterprise School System. He also received several grants, such as the Eisenhower Grant, and presented at several conferences.

In response to increased participation, the board approved two new cross-country teams for Duran North Jr. High School. The motion created supplemental coaching positions for both a boys’ and girls’ team. The supplemental coaching positions would be $1200 for each coach.

The board also approved the allocation of funds from the state’s Educational Trust Fund in the amount of over $1 million as approved by the State Superintendent in addition to approving payment of the June’s budget of $466,000.

Costanzo thanked the board for the exciting opportunity to serve as interim superintendent to such a great school system. Costanzo said, “It’s an honor and privilege to work with such great people, and I appreciate the welcoming spirit as all this happened in a short period of time.”

In closing he announced teacher in-service on Aug. 2, a week before the start of school on Aug. 8 to ensure the school and its staff are ready for the upcoming school year saying, “My goal is to make sure the schools have everything they need,” and to “bridge the gap between Dr. Barber and the next superintendent” with his support.

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