Current Term: 2017-2021
STEPHANIE BELL was first elected to the Alabama State Board of Education in 1994 and has been re-elected to seven consecutive terms. Mrs. Bell is the longest serving board member and has twice served as the board's Vice President.
Mrs. Bell serves on the 2017-2019 Executive Committee, the Nominating Committee, and the Steering Committee for the Education Commission of the States (ECS) where she has been a Commissioner for more than a decade. She also serves on the Board of Directors as a Southern Area Director for the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) where she has been a member of the Governmental Affairs for multiple terms and was appointed to special panels that released reports, including "Reading at Risk: The State Response to the Crisis in Adolescent Literacy" and the most effective middle school reforms..
During her service on the state school board, Mrs. Bell has pushed for major education reforms, including the award-winning Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) and the internationally-recognized Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI). She also worked to expose corruption in the state's two-year college system when it was under the board's authority..
She has participated in numerous regional and national reading conferences, represented Alabama at the National Council of State Legislators' Conference on Teen Health and Pregnancy Prevention, was appointed to the Alabama Teacher Preparation Advisory Council, and served on the national accreditation team for teacher education programs in Colleges of Education..
Mrs. Bell organized and served as the (volunteer) Executive Director of the Statewide Committee on Reforming Education, promoting education improvement. She was also invited to be a charter member of The Education Leaders Council (a network of state school board members and state chiefs) and RENEW's National Council of Women Advisors to Congress..
Her numerous awards and special recognition include the Friend of Education Award, the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Award, the Emma Sansom Heroine Award, and the Eagle Award for her work for "God, Family, and Country." As a reporter for The Montgomery Advertiser/Alabama Journal, Mrs. Bell covered all facets of government, including education, the courts, and the Legislature. She was presented a CASE II Media Award by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education in Louisville, KY, for a series of articles she wrote on waste and corruption in the state's college system. She was recognized by the Alabama Press Association in the Best News Story category and was a Hector Award nominee for meritorious reporting..
Mrs. Bell has participated in numerous state and national panel discussions and education forums and has been interviewed on the BBC radio and television, National Public Radio (NPR), and Alabama Public Television (APT). Before serving on the board, she also taught English to Chinese adults at the Taichung YMCA in Taiwan. She earned a bachelor's degree in English from Auburn University where she was part of numerous campus clubs and organizations, including AU Student Government, The Plainsman, The Glomerata, and Chi Omega Sorority. She attended Montgomery Public Schools from the first through 12th grades, graduating from Jefferson Davis High School. The former Stephanie Wolfe has been married since 1980 to John C. Bell, an attorney. They have two grandchildren and three daughters: an attorney, a pharmacist, and a pediatric dentist. Their son is in Heaven.