Beth Wilder’s passion for education started when she saw the needs of Huntsville City Schools (HCS) through the eyes of her daughter. Active in education in Huntsville since her daughter’s preschool days, Beth jumped right in as a school volunteer and among other things served as a substitute teacher, worked as a classroom aid, mentored students, started a Spanish Club, worked in the STEM/STEAM Lab, and created an innovative afterschool enrichment program at Blossomwood Elementary School. Club Panther allowed students to supplement their afternoons with foreign languages, art, fitness, and music classes. She has been very involved with literacy building efforts in HCS, reading one-on-one with students, working with the United Way reading initiative and helping raise awareness by participating in Read Across America. Her hard work and passion earned her a spot in the Blossomwood Elementary School Hall of Fame in 2017.
As a Huntsville City School Board member, Beth has made it a priority to keep parents connected to their school system and has hosted meetings with parents/PTA groups, public forums, and has met regularly with the superintendent and administrators on issues that concern her district and our city. Concerns such as teacher retention, morale, student discipline and challenges associated with implementation of the consent order. She has served with administrators and teachers on the HCS Secondary Teacher of the Year committee, HCS Support Staff Appreciation Day, and as a judge for Greenpower Races.
Beth’s passion for education extends beyond the classroom. She continues to be active in PTA and has volunteered her time on behalf of her child’s schools and other Huntsville City Schools. Beth believes serving is an important part of who she is and has worked on school events such as Teacher Appreciation Days, Book Fairs, Fall & International Festivals, Fundraising and Accelerated Reader Stores that reward students for reading. She also spent considerable time supporting the Blue Ribbon Lighthouse Schools of Excellence application and evaluation process. Understanding that the neighborhood that surrounds a school is important to the development and growth of a community, Beth served as a Community Watch Area Leader and patroller and currently serves at her local voting precinct. She also serves on the Mt. Springs Swim Club (MTSP) board, as MTSP swim team coordinator, Representative to the Rocket City Swim League and as a dedicated volunteer for the Huntsville Swim Association.
Beth’s active, hands-on approach comes from decades of helping others and advocating for kids. Before moving to Huntsville, she worked for Florida Horsemanship for the Handicapped, a non-profit that assists physically and/or emotionally challenged and/or abused children through therapy sessions utilizing horses. She has continued to help others and has mentored and helped Huntsville City students for the past seven years. Beth has become a beacon for students who need a little extra support and encouragement in their school work and home life. Lastly, Beth has spent a great deal of time and effort as the team manager for Destination Imagination. This year is her fifth year as a team manager and she has guided elementary and middle school teams to three North Regional championships, three Alabama state championships and three trips to Global Tournament Finals. Beth believes this is a wonderful way for students to develop STEAM related skills and learn how to collaborate in a fun, creative, and competitive arena.
Beth is not afraid to put herself out there to solve a problem or challenge assumptions. In 2012, she led the effort to correct a precinct polling location that assigned Blossomwood residents to vote at the Monte Sano Fire Station. She rallied local neighborhood support and worked with the county commission to correct an inadvertent mistake. Beth finds answers to questions that need to be answered. When she has or hears a concern, especially related to education, Beth researches the issue, and if needed, she contacts and/or meets with the appropriate officials to understand the facts and passes along her findings.
Before coming to Huntsville, Beth worked for the Division Director of Water Supply Management at the St. Johns River Water Management (SJRWMD) as a project manager, hydrologist and GIS analyst. Like many families, business opportunities brought Beth and her family to Huntsville. Beth’s husband, Jeff, has worked in the Geospatial business for over 20 years. He continues as a volunteer business coach to the Women’s Business Center of North Alabama as needed. They are proud and delighted that Huntsville is their home and the only home their daughter, a rising 8th grader in Huntsville City Schools, will know. They want to continue being a positive influence in Huntsville. Students-first based decisions now ensure a sound education and a greater Huntsville tomorrow.
Four years ago, Beth said she would be a voice of reason and a positive influence. She has grown while in office and during the past three and half years of service on the Board she has earned Levels I, II, III, IV and this year will earn and her Master Boardmanship Level Certificate of Achievement from the AASB in June. She has proudly worked with the Huntsville Council of PTAs, school PTA leaders, and community leaders to understand concerns and organized meetings with the appropriate HCS staff so parents can be more closely engaged and HCS staff can hear directly from parents and community members. She has also taken the lead on the public having better access to board related information as well as a better understanding of the role of the school board, board operations, and the purpose of board meetings and work sessions. Beth helped to develop online constituent services, so board members and the superintendent are more easily and intuitively contacted. None were in place prior to Beth’s service on the board.
Beth’s vision for HCS has not faltered despite the unexpected resignation of two superintendents. We need stability. With Beth we will have stability. Her door and ears are always open, and she is ever ready to listen. Let’s work together to find issues that bring us together and not pull us apart. Let’s find solutions to problems rather than snipe away on social media. Let’s make Huntsville City Schools a shining beacon that other systems aspire to be. Help Beth continue her hard work and serve the people of her district and city with open honesty, reasonable mindedness, and passion.