Shelley has lived all over Alabama, but she and her husband, Mike, have lived in their Hoover home since they bought it in 2001. When they aren’t there, they’re likely at the beach, the lake or in Auburn—Shelley’s alma mater and their daughter’s current school. Shelley also spends much of her time at Spain Park High School, where her son is a freshman. She has worked with the SPHS majorettes for the last three years and helped start the Jaguar Twirling Club. We talked to Shelley about how she balances everything with her current position as the Hoover City Schools Foundation’s interim executive director.

How did you first get involved with the Hoover City Schools Foundation?
We have always been supporters of the Foundation, especially at the yearly Denim and Dining event, the signature fundraiser of the Foundation. The event showcases teacher grants and the SeedLab program. Add in great food, a stellar silent auction and terrific entertainment, and it soon became a do-not-miss event for us! So put it on your calendar for 2020 – April 3 at the Stardome here in Hoover. After serving as president of the Hoover Parent Teacher Council, I applied to become a board member in 2017. I had also served as PTO president at Rocky Ridge Elementary and participated in several committees at the Central Office. Applying for the HCSF board was a great next step for me!

How does the foundation benefit local students and their families?
The Foundation has one client – the Hoover City Schools. A grant cycle is in place that brought over $50,000 in 2019 to teachers with innovative ideas that our students benefit from. For example, those Chromebooks every third grader receives are a result of some innovative teaching strategies that the Foundation was able to fund. I can give many, many more examples. I can assure you the Foundation touches every student’s education in Hoover, past, present and future.

When did you become interim executive director of the foundation?
I was serving as vice president of the board of directors, and in October of 2019, the officers asked me to consider coming off the board and stepping into this role. Once the board gave approval I became the interim executive director.

What are your main objectives in this leadership role?
First and foremost, the priority for me is raising more money for Hoover City Schools. We have a fantastic board of directors, and they are behind this 100 percent. The Foundation has been around for 25 years, and thanks to previous leaders and board members, the organization is poised for the next level in fund development. Secondly, increasing the volunteer base with more members of the board, along with a new component of the organization called Friends of the Foundation, is a major focus. Currently, we have 15 board members that serve a three-year term and have several responsibilities throughout their term. The Friends of the Foundation are comprised of community members selected to be an extension of the board with less of a time commitment. Both groups are a great way to get more people involved, for folks to bring their energy and talents, and serve the students of Hoover City Schools. To sum it up, during my time in non-profit work and volunteerism, I have found that people have three resources they can give: their time, their talent or their treasure. My goal as interim executive director is to increase the Foundation in these areas.

What school issue(s) are you especially passionate about, and why?
Recently, I was made aware that 1 in 5 school-aged children nationally is dealing with a mental health issue. One in 20 nationally have a serious mental health issue. While many of these students find help through their families, friends, churches and other support systems, some of our students need more. Legislation is being proposed in Montgomery that could be a source of funding these important mental health initiatives. I can get behind that. Schools across the state recognize this issue, and more needs to be done by local, state and federal levels.

What do you love about Hoover?
I mentioned before that I have lived throughout Alabama and I have to say—to use some of my real Southern dialect—that we have it mighty good in this city. What I mean is, I’ve lived in all kinds of towns, some with plenty and some without. We’ve got a lot to offer our community here. Without a doubt a terrific education is available for all of our students. There are plenty of fun and interesting places to eat, and they are all just about only three minutes from my house. Besides the food, the schools and the convenience, what I really love are the people. Everyone has a story, and the greatest part is they are all different. My kids have had friends from all over the world, and they live right here in Hoover. One doesn’t have to go far to make a new friend in Hoover. And that’s probably what makes this the best place to live in Alabama!