VHCSF Accepting Applications for 2019-2020 Board Members

We are looking for outstanding community volunteers and leaders to join the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation Board of Directors. If you are committed to helping the students and teachers in Vestavia Hills City Schools by building the Foundation’s education endowment, we encourage you to apply. We are a working board that exists to provide perpetual financial support to each of the Vestavia Hills schools and to protect and foster the standard of academic excellence in our school system, the cornerstone of our community.

Board members serve a three year term and are expected to serve as active ambassadors, fundraisers and leaders.  Click here to download an application.  All applications must be received by April 1, 2019.

Schaeffer Eye Center Creates “Schaeffer Eyes on Education” Program to Support VHCSF

Vestavia Hills, Alabama:  January 2, 2017:  Schaeffer Eye Center creates “Schaeffer Eyes on Education” program to support the Vestavia Hill City Schools Foundation. For every child from the Vestavia Hills community that has an eye exam at one of their locations, Schaeffer Eye Center will donate $10, and $50 for those that begin a specialty treatment plan such as myopia control or vision therapy.

“As with vision, schools are the cornerstone of a child’s learning and development,” said Dr. Jack Schaeffer, President and CEO of Schaeffer Eye Center. “The ‘Schaeffer Eyes on Education’ program allows us to fulfill our goals of supporting the community while treating visual issues early ensuring Vestavia Hills children reach their full potential in learning and in life. At the end of 2017, we hope to award a generous donation to the Vestavia Hills School Foundation through this program.”

“We are so pleased that Schaeffer Eye Center has chosen to support VHCSF through this initiative,” stated Janet Ball, VHCSF Board Chair.  “The ‘Schaeffer Eyes on Education’ is a way that every citizen can support education in our schools while receiving valuable medical care for their families.”

About Schaeffer Eye Center

Schaeffer Eye Center, a family-owned and operated optometric practice, provides an array of eye care services for the whole family including comprehensive eye exams, medical testing and treatment, contact lens center, fashion eyewear and laser vision correction. Their specialty pediatric program, led by Dr. Nicholas Onken, pediatric and developmental specialist and father of two in the Vestavia Hills School System, examines the skills that have the largest effect on how a child learns including eye tracking, eye teaming and focusing, and visual perception.


Community Supports VHCSF on #Giving Tuesday


Vestavia Hills, Alabama:  December 5, 2016 – Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation raised almost $2,000 during this year’s #Giving Tuesday campaign.   #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.  Occurring this year on November 29, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.  

“While the impact of two decades of additional funding provided by VHCSF has been substantial, we need to do more to continually advance our students’ educations from excellent to extraordinary,” stated Foundation Executive Director, Elaine Yancey.   “The success of our school system has played a vital role in Vestavia Hills becoming an attractive draw to new professionals moving into the Birmingham market, and to existing area families who desire better education for their children. “

Contributions this year came from a variety of community and corporate partners with the most substantial gift coming from longtime foundation supporter Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt, L.L.C.

“Let’s Hear it for Education” Program to benefit VHCSF

Sonology Hearing Aid Clinic, a division of McCool and Bhuta, ENT, is pleased to announce the launch of the “Let’s Hear it for Education” Program benefitting the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation (VHCSF).  Through this program VHCSF will receive a donation of $50 for every hearing aid purchased when the patient says “Let’s Hear it for Education in Vestavia Hills”.

"Dr. Bhuta and I are excited to partner with the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation for the ‘Let's Hear it for Education’ campaign”, stated Dr. Brian McCool.  “We value excellence in education, and in providing the very best healthcare for hearing loss. We hope the Vestavia Hills community will reach out to family and friends and encourage them to visit Sonology.  After all, the greater the participation, the greater the reward for the schools."

“We are so pleased to be working with Dr. Bhuta and Dr. McCool on this program,” stated VHCSF Board President, Janet Ball. “Partnerships such as this are critical to our ability to grow the endowment and increase support for our schools.” 

For more information on how you or your business can support the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation visit our website at www.vestaviafoundation.org or email director@vestaviafoundation.org. 

About Dr. Brian J. McCool

Dr. McCool was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. He is a 1992 graduate of Vanderbilt University, and received his medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in 1998. Dr. McCool completed his general surgery internship and the first year of his Otolaryngology (ENT) residency at the University of Texas-Houston. He completed his training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at West Virginia University in 2003.

Dr. McCool is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and is a fellow and member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

He has practiced medical and surgical ENT in Birmingham since 2003. His practice interests include pediatric ENT, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, facial reconstructive surgery, and sinus surgery.

About Dr. Tarika Bhuta

Dr. Bhuta graduated with Phi Beta Kappa Honors from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in 1994 and received her medical degree with Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honors from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in 1998. She then went on to complete her general surgery internship and first year of Otolaryngology (ENT) training at the University of Cincinnati. She completed her training in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at West Virginia University in 2003.

Dr. Bhuta is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. She is a fellow and member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society.

Dr. Bhuta has practiced medical and surgical ENT as well as allergy in Birmingham since 2003. She is one of two practicing female Otolaryngologists in the Birmingham area. She focuses her practice on snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, facial reconstruction/rejuvenation, pediatric ENT, and thyroid surgery.


Mark Yanosky Orthodontics presented the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation with a check for $1,825 at the foundation’s September board meeting.  The funds were contributed through Yanosky’s “My Smile, My Community, My Child’s Future” partner in education program.

The “My Smile, My Community, My Child’sFuture” was created by Yanosky in 2012.  Every time a child from the Vestavia Hills community starts orthodontic treatment a $25 donation is made to the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation.

“Our schools are in constant need of additional funding from outside sources” stated Dr. Yanosky.  “Local school foundations, such as the Vestavia City Schools Foundation are able to fill this void through donations from their citizens.  The purpose of our “My Smile, My Community, My Child’s Future” program is to fulfill one of our practice missions- to give back to the community that trusts us with the orthodontic care of their most precious asset- their children!  To date, we have been able to give back over $30,000 with a long-term goal to give much more.”

Dr. Mark Yanosky is a Board-Certified Orthodontist who has been practicing in the Vestavia Hills community since 2001.  Dr. Yanosky has received numerous awards including the Dean's Medal from the UAB School of Dentistry, the school's highest honor. Dr. Yanosky has lectured nationally and internationally on several different topics in orthodontics and serves as an adjunct assistant professor of orthodontics at the UAB School of Dentistry.

“The Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation is very grateful for the partnership with Dr. Yanosky & his family” commented Janet Ball, VHCSF Board President . “With their support, VHCSF has been able to grow the endowment to $2.5 million and has to date given back $784,000 to the eight schools in Vestavia Hills.”

For more information on how you or your business can support the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation visit our website at www.vestaviafoundation.org or email director@vestaviafoundation.org.

Jenny Yanosky and Janet Ball

Jenny Yanosky and Janet Ball













Yancey named Executive Director

Elaine Yancey has joined the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation as Executive Director. 

Yancey was employed for 16 years by McWane Science Center where she served as the Vice President of Operations and Business Development.  During her tenure she was instrumental in increasing profit in existing earned revenue areas and is credited with developing new business enterprises which have continued to contribute to the success of the organization.  Originally from Georgia, Yancey is a graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia where she received a degree in Communications.

"As the parent of two children being educated in public schools I know first-hand that there is simply not enough funding to support all of the needs of teachers, administrators and students, " stated Yancey.  "The Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation is a strong organization who has the support of an active board and community.  I feel honored to be chosen for this role and look forward to being a part of the future success of the foundation and school system."

"I am proud to be a part of the VHCSF during this important time of our history in celebrating our 20th anniversary and welcoming Elaine", VHCSF Board President, Janet Ball commented. " I look forward to working with Elaine and seeing the great things the foundation will be doing in the future for Vestavia's children and our schools."




Foundation Seeking Applicants for Board of Directors

2015-2016 New Board Members

2015-2016 New Board Members


The Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation is seeking outstanding community volunteers and leaders to serve on its board of directors. This leadership group is a working board that exists to provide ongoing financial support to each Vestavia Hills school through the Foundation’s endowment and to protect and foster a standard of academic excellence in our school system.

Board members serve a three-year term as active ambassadors, fundraisers and leaders for the Foundation.

Applications will be available on the Foundation's website: www.vestaviafoundation.org.  If you are interested in applying for the board and have questions, please contact Ashley Thompson, the Foundation’s executive director:  director@vestaviafoundation.org .

Applications are due to the Foundation office by March 4, 2016.

Dreaming Big

                                BY: Alissa Padgett, VHCSF Board Member and Carla Johnson, VHEW

My family and I are so happy to have made Vestavia Hills our home. When deciding where to raise our children, we wanted a community where we could grow roots and a place our children would benefit from an exceptional school system. As an active community volunteer, I decided I wanted to get involved in the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation (VHCSF).

 As a VHCSF board member, I am often ask "What would a fully funded Education Endowment do for the schools?"  I decided to talk with Carla Johnson, VHEW Librarian. Carla works with children everyday and sees the impact the grants from the VHCSF have in the classroom and the media center.

 Carla who has always had a passion for reading and books has been teaching for 13 years. A previous principal encouraged her to pursue her passion for reading and books, and get a degree in Library Media. “ I am so thankful to Kim Hauser, VHEW Principal for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my passion each and every day in the VHEW Media Center.”

 TheVHCSF funds allow teachers the opportunity to support students learning in various ways. . It is so refreshing to know that we are supported, encouraged to think beyond the normal and to be in a school system that values pursuing excellence. Having a Foundationgives me the confidence to teach without limits. I encouragestudents to dig deeper and provide students with opportunities to move beyond normal classroom lessons into student driven opportunities.  If the VHCSF was fully funded, there would be more opportunities for every student and teacher in the system.

 "I think VHCSF is smart to have as one of their grant criteria that the funds must impact as many students as possible. I love that the VHCSF doesn’t limit the dollar amount a teacher can ask for in the grant process.  The last school system I worked for limited their Foundation grant asks to $1,000. Last year the VHCSF was able to grant $61,000 to the eight Vestavia Hills schools and the Board of Education.  With a fully funded endowment, that number could be greatly increased. All the grant seekers could receive funds for their innovative educational programs, technology updates and additional professional development.

 I ask Carla what would you like to see the VHCSF provide in the future? “I would love to see the VHCSF continue to provide the VHCS with financial assistance. The VHCSF enables schools the opportunity to dream large and pilot new technology, purchase items for classrooms that general funds don’t allow for and  provide the latest professional growth for teachers. By continuing to grow the Education Endowment, the VHCSF would have additional funds to make an even larger impact."

 “I think the VHCSF allows the teachers and leaders of the system the opportunity to DREAM BIG and to be a major force as the best school system in the state”. It makes me proud to work for a system where the VHCSF sees the importance in supporting it's schools”.


Investing in Teachers = Investing in Students

By: Martha Bixler, VHELP 5th Grade Teacher, VHCSF Board Member

For teachers, there are so many reasons to love summer. There are the beach trips, the family vacations, finally catching up on all those episodes that have piled up on the DVR.  In Vestavia, there is another reason teachers love summer... We love to learn!

For many years, the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation has funded grants that provide Vestavia teachers with meaningful, practical, student-focused professional development.  These workshops are popular and sessions fill up quickly.  Teachers have the opportunity to learn from experts outside of our school system, but also from other classroom teachers, special education and special area teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators. Sessions are offered for all grade levels and all disciplines. There is something for everyone, and yet the common thread in every session: students. What do they need? What can we do better? What is the very best we can do to prepare these young people for the world ahead? Teachers in Vestavia never stop learning! We want to provide the absolute best education possible.

What exactly are teachers learning? Here are just a few titles offered this summer:

         A Framework for K-12 Science Education

         Utilizing Google Apps for Education

         Mathematical Fluency

         Number Talks

         Untangling Text Complexity and Close Reading

         Using Visual Literacy to Engage Students in All Subjects

         Differentiation Strategies for High Ability Math Students

         STEM Labs and Makerspaces

         Unpacking Alabama’s New Science Standards

         Diving into Student-Led Discussions

I’ve been to a handful of PD sessions already. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with high school teachers, kindergarten teachers, P.E. coaches, principals, etc. With each experience I have come away with new ideas and a renewed passion for teaching and learning. I’m so grateful for the Foundation’s support of teachers.

Now that summer is coming to a close, you may still find us at the pool, or on vacation, or even in our classrooms trying to prepare for our next crop of eager young minds. You will also find us in a different classroom collaborating with our colleagues, honing our craft, growing and learning about best practices, technology, and  how to meet students’ needs.

The Foundation invests in our students and in our schools, but it also invests in our teachers. Thanks to hard working leaders and the generous support of the Foundation, learning never stops in Vestavia!



VHCSF Installs New Officers and Welcomes New Board Members

The Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation is pleased to announce the installation of Kristin Tunnell as President of the Board of Directors. Kristin has served in many roles on the board, including auction committee member, marketing member and fund development chair.

 Kristin’s passion and creativity have helped increase the Foundation's presence in the community. She and her husband, Andy, live in Vestavia Hills and have three children at Vestavia Hills - Central, Pizitz Middle School, and Vestavia Hills High School.

Why does Kristin support the Foundation?

I got involved because my oldest daughter was interested in "doing something" for our community, and she led the Flash Mob for the Foundation in both 2012 and 2013.  Ever since then, I’ve been committed to providing "the extras" that Foundation grants give to our schools.  My favorite "extra" is the Summer Training Institute for our teachers.  This training prepares and inspires our teachers’ passion and excitement from year to year. Events such as Dinner and Diamonds, the PNC's Speakers Luncheon, Pitch In and annual gifts provide the needed funds for our endowment to make grants like this possible.  

In addition to Kristin's installation, the board is happy to announce Janet Ball as President Elect, Bert Crenshaw as Treasurer, Sharon Bullock as Treasurer Elect and Robin McKean as Secretary.  We would also like to welcome our newest board members:  Craig Neely, Lance Black, LeArden Pike,  Cinnamon McCulley, Sharon Bullock, Vicki Tuggle, Tiffany Persall, Eric Mann, Tracie Dugas and Kip Snowden.

Pitching In: Dr. Mark Yanosky takes our questions

Each February-March, Vestavia Hills elementary students participate in Pitch In for Education, a kid-driven fund-raiser for the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation. Students fill up their Pitch In cups and their classroom buckets with loose change, currency and their parents’ checks in support of the Foundation. Local orthodontist and Vestavia parent Dr. Mark Yanosky sponsors Pitch In. Before we tell you how much was in the Pitch In cups this year, let’s introduce you to who was on them.

Dr. Mark Yanosky and Family

Q. How many years have you sponsored the Foundation’s Pitch In campaign? 

A. I’m actually not sure but I believe this was our third year.  We hope to have many more!

 Q. Why did you want to sponsor Pitch In?

A. Every kid loves loose change and hearing it shake around in the Pitch-In containers.  I believe the campaign is a great way to get our kids involved with the Foundation at an early age.  Many people incorrectly assume that our tax dollars are all that’s needed to provide the great education we receive in Vestavia Hills.  When you’ve been involved with the Foundation as long as I have, you see the reality and the necessary role of the Foundation in preserving the quality of the education our kids receive. 

 Q. Your practice also makes contributions regularly to the Foundation. Can you tell us more about that?

A. One of our practice core values is to support our community.  A few years ago we started our “My Smile, My Community, My Child’s Future” initiative which is driven towards making regular contributions to school foundations that support our practice.  This, along with sponsorships such as the Pitch-In campaign, are our way of saying “thank you” to the community that supports us so nicely.

 Q. Your three children attend Vestavia Hills schools. What did they say when they saw your name on their Pitch In cups? 

A. John Michael, my 9-year-old son said “Are we famous?”;)

What was in those Pitch In Cups this year?

·         Grand total raised in 2015: $37,995.11

·         Leading school: Vestavia Hills Elementary East with $13,803.04

·         Total Change: $11,057.11

·         Total Currency: $3,388.00

·         Total Checks: $18,150.00

·         Paypal and matching contributions: $5,400

·         Brand New Pledges: $4,000

Thank you students, parents, teachers and administrators for another successful Pitch In campaign. Proceeds were added directly to the Foundation’s endowment where the money will earn interest and become future grants for our schools. Special thanks also to Bruster’s Real Ice Cream for providing an ice cream party for the winning classroom at each Vestavia elementary school.

logo photo.JPG

Dinner and Diamonds 2015: It’s a wrap!

Larry and Pam Cochran, David Miceli

Larry and Pam Cochran, David Miceli


 By Pam Cochran, VHCSF board member and marketing chair

Dinner and Diamonds 2015 is officially one for the record books, with an unprecedented 600 tickets sold! While the last auction sales are being transacted and the final tally of funds raised is being determined, I’d like to share my top five reasons why Dinner and Diamonds is so awesome.

 Number 5: The venue

Each year, the hardworking Dinner and Diamonds Committee searches for a fun venue that’ll best accommodate our growing numbers. As D&D has grown– this marked our 9th year—the committee has had to broaden its search parameters. Regions Field banquet facility was an exciting venue, with an elegant setting inside offering room to mingle and the view of the impressive baseball field outside, where sponsors’ names flashed on the scoreboard throughout the evening. Plus, valet parking made entering and exiting a breeze.

 Number 4: The band

“Creativity” kept the evening hopping with finger-snapping tunes that were both dance-worthy and conversation-friendly. You could easily chat with your dinner companions, even while the band was in full swing.

 Number 3: The sponsorships                     

On behalf of our board, thank you to the many businesses and individuals who gave generously to Dinner and Diamonds 2015, and in turn to the Foundation. Check out all our sponsors here: SPONSORS

 Number 2: The auctions

From year to year, the silent and live auctions only get bigger and better, thanks to the numerous businesses and individuals who show their support for the Foundation and our schools by donating merchandise, services, travel packages, and many other items. (Personally, I was battling it out with two other bidders for a lovely bracelet, which I’m pleased to say came home with me. Thank you, Paul’s Diamond Center!)

 And the number 1 reason: The ticketholders

Dinner and Diamonds brings together parents of all ages, our board of education leaders, principals, teachers, state legislators, city leaders and local business people. And, while it’s a fun evening that many talk about for months to come, at the core of it all is one purpose: to help our schools. 

 Hope to see you at next year’s Dinner and Diamonds!

 Special thanks to Whit McGee for serving as Dinner and Diamonds’ official photographer. Check out Whitt’s photos of the event here: PHOTOS

SOLD! What I am bidding on at Dinner & Diamonds

By: Sue Willis, VHCSF Board Member

I always joke that my husband and I are dangerous at charity auctions.  I mean that to say the only thing in real “danger” is our wallet.  We love a good silent/live auction.  Making purchases that we both might make anyway and might not otherwise make when we know that it benefits people or causes that we care about makes the spending more fun (and, to the appropriate degree, tax deductible).  Considering all the events we’ve attended, I can think of very few we’ve left empty handed. If we did, I can promise you we helped that organization make a little more money by bidding against someone else for a fantastic item.

So, with all of the amazing auction items that will be in the auction at Dinner & Diamonds, you might be wondering what you might be fighting me for.  First of all, each year at Dinner & Diamonds, I am definitely looking to add to my stackable ring collection (started in years past at D&D!) by bidding on a gorgeous ring from Paul’s Diamond Center.  My husband and I like to bid on the art donated by local artists, such as Joan Curtis & Jenny Ballentine.  Their works are creative, lovely and always a warming touch to a room in our home.  My daughter will continue to dance at Vestavia Dance next year and scoring a semester of tuition at Dinner & Diamonds is a great way to help the Foundation!  Additionally, there are guaranteed to be some great restaurant gift certificates that we can put to good use for date nights.  And we’ll be paying keen attention during the live auction so that we can bid on the in home dining event  prepared by Chef Franklin Biggs that includes a case of Tasari wine, gift certificate from the New York Butcher Shop and $100 Gift Certificate from Piggly Wiggly.

I am hoping to end the night walking away with at least of few of the items I have in my sights.  Hopefully my ring finger will have some additional bling, my husband will be hauling a canvas, and we’ll be planning our next night out.  However, if I am a little disappointed that I didn’t win everything I bid on, I’ll remind myself that while I may have lost out, our schools most definitely won!

Dinner and Diamonds: Now A Word From Our Sponsor

For the past eight years, Dinner and Diamonds  has been the flagship fundraiser for the Foundation, with the 9th annual event quickly approaching, we thought it would be great to highlight the "Diamond" of the event.  

Paul Petro was a sophomore when Vestavia Hills City Schools was formed. He remembers the classes were so small that he knew everyone..  " I always felt like I was part of something special when the school first started. I knew when I had kids they were going to Vestavia Hills and have the great experience I had."   Paul's son Pete graduated in 2013 and scored an amazing 35 on his ACT. Paul is confident the education Pete received in the Vestavia Hills system helped him with his success. 

When talking to Paul about his commitment to the Foundation and his support of  Dinner and Diamonds, he replied "It amazes me how large the school system has become and I want to giveback anyway I can." 

Paul's Diamond Center is again the signature sponsor for the 9th annual event.  We would like to thank him for his support, and also thank the other numerous sponsors who help make the event possible. 

Come to the Region's Field Baseball Diamond on February, 28th to see the beautiful diamonds from Paul's Diamond Center.

Get your tickets now: www.vestaviafoundation.org


Shine Bright Like a Diamond

A behind the scenes look at Dinner & Diamonds


 By Alison Smith, three-time Diamond co-chair, pictured with Amy Irby and Rhonda Nabors

February 28th is approaching fast!  Be sure your calendars are marked for Dinner & Diamonds, one of my favorite nights of the year. As three-time co-chair, I have watched this event grow bigger and better, with our committee goals of attendance and funds raised being surpassed each year!  This is an evening of wonderful fellowship, food, cocktails, silent auction, live auction, and dancing.  The most exciting part....it all benefits the Vestavia Hills schools and ultimately the community!

With our goals in mind, there are exciting changes for Dinner & Diamonds this year.  One major change is the venue.  Regions field boasts a beautiful and spacious banquet hall and VIP lounge with views of downtown Birmingham as its backdrop. Another change is that our music will be provided by the fun and entertaining band, Creativity.  This band is sure to bring a huge variety of music with its high-energy style!  Delicious food will be provided by Regions own catering company with an array of beverages at a full service bar.  

As if the above mentioned changes weren't enough, our silent auction and live auction are bigger and better as well.  Our Board of Directors has worked hard to offer a variety of items that appeal to all the senses. The Foundation website will have a sneak peek at some of the items for auction.  The community has been very generous in supporting our auction efforts. 

Bring your friends and come to this exciting event!  We will have something for everyone!  Let's join together and celebrate Vestavia Hills!  Let's give back to the community that gives so much to our children!  For more information, visit www.vestaviafoundation.org.


How are Grants Chosen for Foundation Funding?

By: Christy Strong- VHCSF Grant Committee Chair , Assistant General Council and Senior VP, Regions

Photos from Summer Professional Development Sessions Funded by VHCSF

Getting selected for funding is not as difficult as it may seem.  The educators and administrators at the eight Vestavia Hills’ schools and the Board of Education are making the requests, and they know what’s most needed or desired by the schools.  As long as the request impacts many students and fits into one of the Foundation’s funding categories, the likelihood of at least a portion of the request being granted is pretty good! 

Grant applications initially are reviewed by the Foundation’s Grants Committee, which then makes recommendations to the full Board of Directors. The Board ultimately decides which grants to award after taking into consideration three factors:

(1)          Does the request fit into one of the categories supported by the Foundation?

  • Technology - improvements and upgrades

  • Professional Development - training for educators

  • Classroom Enhancements - items that can be used by numerous students and can be used for many years to come

(2)          Does the request impact as many students as possible?

(3)          Can the program be replicated in other schools?

During January, the Grants Committee and the Board will be making these decisions, and the grants then will be awarded in February. It’s an exciting time for the Foundation, as well as for the grant applicants, and we’re very grateful to our donors who make it possible to provide this funding for our schools.

One more way to help our schools: support the Foundation by attending this year’s Dinner and Diamonds – an evening of live music, delicious food and good fun. Mark your calendar for February 28, and read more about it here: Dinner and Diamonds

 Want to Give a Gift that Lasts Forever?

Invest in your schools and your community!

By Eric J. McClain, CFP®, McClain Lovejoy Financial Planning, and member of the Vestavia Hills City Schools Board of Directors

By Eric J. McClain, CFP®, McClain Lovejoy Financial Planning, and member of the Vestavia Hills City Schools Board of Directors

Donors tend to think of cash contributions to the Foundation as a gift. While that's the tax code definition, the reality is that when you "gift" to the Foundation you’re really making an investment in Vestavia Hills and the Vestavia Hills City Schools. While a gift is given without any expectation of a return, you can expect an immediate and future return in exchange for your investment in the Foundation.

Your contributions go to work to help fund needs and enhancements for our growing school system. One hundred percent of your contribution is invested for the future so that we have an ever-growing endowment from which to fund future activities, including technology and teacher training among others.

And subject to limitations, you'll probably be able to deduct contributions against your federal and state taxes thus saving you money while supporting your community.

For more about ways to donate to the Foundation, click here: http://vestaviafoundation.org/giving/

What Has the Foundation Done for You Lately? The Man with the "Best Job in the World" Responds.

By: Dr. Mark Richardson, Principal of Vestavia Hills Elementary East

Dr. Mark Richardson, Principal of Vestavia Hills Elementary East

Dr. Mark Richardson, Principal of Vestavia Hills Elementary East

I have the best job in the world.  As principal of East Elementary, which is comprised of kindergarten through third grade, my job mostly involves doing all I can to help children to grow and be successful.  This means that I need to support the folks who are working directly with the kids making it happen…the teachers.  And what a fantastic group of teachers we have, constantly looking for ways to make instruction more meaningful and engaging for students. 

Much of my day involves walking the halls, often on a mission to help someone, but occasionally simply visiting classrooms to take in all the learning that is taking place.  Recently while visiting classrooms I witnessed the following:

  • Students using one of our iPad carts to research various countries and present their research using an app called Popplet.  This is such an excellent, motivating, kid-friendly app.  Each child had an iPad and was highly engaged in presenting their research.  What I really thought was great was when students began uncovering some features of the app that they had not yet learned about.  The teacher allowed the students to use the new features to enhance their presentation.  Another teacher posted her class’ work online.  You can view Catherine Bentley’s third grade Native American Popplets here:  https://sites.google.com/a/vestavia.k12.al.us/bentleycm/pictures


  • Second-graders from Nancy Pearson’s class had read a Box-Car Children book and were creating instant multi-media book reports/reviews using another great iPad app called My Story.  When I think about the hours I spent presenting the same information in a poster format when I was a kid, and how much more efficient and engaging this is, I wish we had had the same tools back in the 70s!  You can view the children’s great work here:  https://sites.google.com/a/vestavia.k12.al.us/pearson-s-pride/digital-books 


  • Third-graders used iPads to post their daily blogs related to assignments in Angela Hollis’ gifted class.  They especially like reviewing the Daily Visitor Stats.  You can view the blogs here:  https://sites.google.com/a/vestavia.k12.al.us/heroes/blogs

Our teachers in every grade continue to discover new ways that iPads may be used to enhance our teaching and make it more effective.  We would not have such tools available, though, were it not for the efforts of the Foundation.  Because of grants written by our teachers and awarded by the Foundation, we now have four iPad carts that may be checked out by teachers so that every child has an iPad in hand.  We have received over $12,000 over the past three years from the Foundation for this purpose. Without this support, it is doubtful that the learning activities you see above would be happening with the frequency that they currently happen.

I do have the best job in the world, and one reason It’s the best is because of the community support of education, with the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation leading the way.


Vestavia Hills Country Club
11:30 AM

Guess who is coming to Vestavia Hills???
ROSALIND WISEMAN - internationally recognized author and educator on children, teens, parenting, education and social justice. Wiseman is the author of Queen Bees & Wannabes and Masterminds & Wingmen. Her book was the inspiration for the hit movie Mean Girls.

Thanks to PNC Bank for sponsoring this fantastic event. All proceeds will go to fund the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation Education Endowment.

Tickets go on sale June 18th. For sponsorship opportunities or more information contact: director@vestaviafoundation.org



VOTE YES- MARCH 11, 2014

On March 11, 2014, the City of Vestavia Hills will be holding a special election regarding a tax renewal for the school system. Below are some important facts regarding the renewal.

 I.  This is not a new tax.
-This is a renewal of an existing 10.5 mill tax that was approved by the citizens of Vestavia Hills in   1990.
-The existing tax is due to expire in 2017.

II. Renewal of this existing tax is essential for the system to continue to provide quality schools and a world class education for our children.
-The existing tax represents 20% of our local revenue.
-The existing tax represents 11% of the system’s general fund revenue.
-These percentages equate to $6.3 million of annual revenue:
                  *$6.3 million equates to 84 teacher units
                  *$6.3 million equates to 20% of the teachers in our system

III. Loss of the 10.5 mill revenue will reduce our per pupil spending by $996 per student.  Negative impacts might include:
-Larger class sizes
-Elimination of programs (curricular and extra-curricular)
-Obsolete technology
-Deteriorating facilities
-Insufficient cash reserves

IV. Approval of this vital existing educational tax will NOT result in any new taxes.
-Renewal will continue an important source of school revenue.
-Our students and community have benefitted from this existing tax for the past 23 years.  

Please contact the Vestavia Hills Board of Education with any questions: 205-401-5100