By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama State Board of Education (SBOE) has become a battleground between pro-Common Core and anti-Common Core forces and that was reflected in the state school board races on Tuesday, March 1. Nobody has been a more vocal opponent of Alabama’s controversial College and Career Ready Standards adopted by the board over Mrs. Bell’s repeated objections.
The staunchly pro-Common Core standards Business Council of Alabama targeted Bell in this election. They endorsed challenger Justin Barkley’s attempt to unseat Bell in the Place 3 race. Despite this and over $100,000 spent by Barkley, Bell won reelection by 18,933 votes. Justin Barkley received 38.85 percent of the vote (43,331). Stephanie Bell received 61.85 percent of the vote, 65,403 57,002 of the 95,071 votes cast.
Bell represents the Third District on the State Board of Education. SBOE District 3 consists of the Eastern half of Bibb County, all of Chilton County, all of Coosa County, all of Elmore County, part of Montgomery County, all of Shelby County, all of Talladega County, and the Homewood and Mountain Brook areas.
Bell and Alabama State Superintendent Doctor Tommy Bice have been in disagreement over the continued use of the unpopular College and Career Ready Standards. Bice has publicly supported the controversial new experimental education methods and standards. Bice announced on Tuesday that he would be retiring by the end of the month.
Dr. Bice said in a statement, “I retire knowing that public education in our state is moving forward at an accelerated pace due to the dedicated teachers and leaders who have embraced the policy environment created by our State Board of Education. An environment where innovation and creativity are not only encouraged, but expected and supported. At the end of every school visit I take, I leave knowing that a great work is underway at the local level. I see faculties, parents, community organizations and students creating learning opportunities that are engaging and relevant to today’s student.”
Bell was a reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser/Alabama Journal reporter, Stephanie covered education, the courts, and the Legislature. She received a CASE II Media Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, Alabama Press Association recognition in the Best News Story category, and a Hector Award nomination for meritorious reporting.
Bell has a degree in English from Auburn University. She is a Jefferson Davis High School graduate, and attended Montgomery Public Schools. She served on the Governor’s Domestic Violence Advisory Council and is a longtime member/sustainer in The Junior League of Montgomery, served in numerous capacities, including the League’s Board of Control.
Stephanie Wolfe Bell has been married 35 years to attorney John C. Bell. They have two grandchildren and three daughters. Their son is deceased. They are members of Trinity Presbyterian Church.