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Local education officials remember Ella Bell

Educators across the state of Alabama mourned the loss of longtime member of the Alabama School Board Ella Bell over the weekend.

Bell’s passing was announced by the Alabama State Department of Education on Sunday, she was 71 years old.

According to a report on Bell’s passing by The Associated Press, Bell was first elected to the State Board in 2000 and was re-elected four times.
“Her tenacity and steadfast resolve in fighting for equity for all students will be her legacy always. Her presence on the Alabama State Board of Education will be sorely missed,” said State Superintendent Eric Mackey.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, who also serves as president of the state school board, said Bell shared a “passion for the children of our state.”

“She was an ardent champion of her district and will be missed,” said Ivey. “May the Lord be with her family and friends during this time,” Ivey said.

As a representative of District 5, Bell served Montgomery, Sumter, Choctaw, Marengo, Perry, Autauga, Lowndes, Macon, Bullock, Pike, Wilcox, Monroe, Clarke, Washington and Dallas County.

Several education officials in the Selma – Dallas County area were saddened to learn of Bell’s passing over the weekend.

“She will truly be missed,” said Dallas County School Board President Leroy Miles. “She always stood for what was right and always had the best interests of the children in mind.”

Selma City School Board President Johnny Moss, III echoed Miles’ sentiment.

“The Selma City School System is saddened by the passing of Mrs. Ella Bell,” said Moss. “Mrs. Bell was a staunch advocate of public education and she was committed to improving educational opportunities for all children.  Her presence on the Alabama State Board of Education will be sorely missed.”

Dallas County Schools Superintendent Hattie Shelton said Bell’s passing had a “huge impact” on her.

“I had the honor of traveling with her to visit one of our schools last year and heard her discuss her dreams and desires for the education and future of the children she served,” said Shelton.

“My first thought when I heard of her passing was, ‘Who will step up to replace her and serve with the same zeal and concern for ensuring every child in Alabama has the opportunity to receive a quality education?’ Ms. Bell will be greatly missed by the educational community she has served for 19 years.”

Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams called Bell “a true advocate for our schools and families.”

“Her passing is such a loss,” she said. “I appreciate her contributions to our community. She will be missed.”