New principal filled with school pride

Published 7:51 pm Friday, October 12, 2012

Stewart catches up with her students in the lunchroom at Chilton County High School on Tuesday.

Those who saw Dr. Cynthia Stewart at Chilton County High School’s homecoming pep rally last Friday likely saw the tears in her eyes.

The Tiger spirit is deeply imbedded in Stewart, who moved from a vice principal position to principal at CCHS after former Principal Greg Dejarnett resigned in September.

Stewart is nearing her 15th year as a CCHS faculty member.

“The spirit at this school, just the cohesiveness of this area, was overwhelming,” Stewart said as she recalled the pep rally. “It’s just absolutely wonderful. I feel honored to have the opportunity to work with a good faculty.”

Although she has served in school administration for many years, Stewart knows the ins and outs of teaching a classroom full of students, too.

She spent her first two years at CCHS teaching English 11 (advanced and Advanced Placement) before she moved back to administration.

Prior to working in Chilton County, Stewart fulfilled teacher and principal positions at Marion Military Institute and Marion Academy in Perry County.

“Teaching is on any level,” Stewart said. “There’s an element of teaching that goes into both. I love to teach.”

She works closely with teachers and students on a daily basis and on larger, long-term projects such as new reading and tutoring programs at CCHS.

Angela Wilson and Jennifer Blencowe, both CCHS teachers, collaborated with Stewart on incorporating 10 minutes of reading into students’ flex block, a period utilized for studying and remedial instruction.

The school raised enough money to buy 200 copies of the same book, “Divergent,” so that all students could read it together during their flex blocks Tuesday through Thursday.

Stewart also collaborated with counselor Tammy Lewis to create a peer-tutoring program.

Teachers recommend students for tutoring, and the students are then paired with a peer for tutoring sessions during flex block.

“It’s probably helped me more than it has them,” said senior Cameron Cummings, a tutor. “It keeps me up to par (and) keeps my math skills in check.”

Lewis said the students essentially run the program themselves.

“You can tell it helps the students we’re teaching,” senior Brandon Vickers said.

The tutoring and reading programs are not the end of progress at CCHS.

“It’s about teamwork,” Stewart said. “I’m not afraid to dream big things for Chilton County High School, mainly because I know with the help of the students, the faculty, the alumni and the community, the dreams will come true.”

Stewart and her husband, Larry, live in Clanton. They have a daughter, Lauren; a son, Justin; a daughter-in-law, Randi; and a granddaughter, Vivian.