- Cullman, Alabama

April 10, 2013

CMS’s Lane Hill named middle school principal of the year (with photo gallery)

By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times

— Cullman Middle School Principal Lane Hill has been named Alabama principal of the year in his division for 2013 — and superintendent Dr. Jan Harris worked up a sneaky surprise to make sure all the students and faculty knew it.

After alerting Hill to the win Monday evening, Harris and the staff at Cullman Middle School scheduled a surprise assembly with students and faculty to congratulate Hill on Tuesday morning, and lured the principal in by telling him he needed to check on some equipment at the gymnasium.

“Mr. Hill, I’m sorry, but we’re not here to check on where the air conditioners will be installed,” Harris said with a laugh. “But we do have some really good news to share.”

Harris formally announced that Hill is the 2013 Alabama Middle School Principal of the Year, after being nominated through the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS).

“Mr. Hill is most deserving of this prestigious honor. He is one of the finest principals with whom I have worked during the course of my career,” Harris said in a statement. “A devoted husband to Lynn and father to Branch and Garrison, he is a stellar role model to all because of his character, leadership ability and work ethic. His commitment to excellence is mirrored in every activity at Cullman Middle School where he serves as principal.”

After receiving an award from Harris in front of more than 500 students and faculty, Hill thanked the board and his staff for all their hard work.

“When you get an award like this, it only has one person’s name on it, but it should really be for the middle school of the year,” he said. “The staff and faculty do such a fantastic job, and the students need to be recognized for their hard work. This is for all of you. I also want to thank the board and superintendent for giving us the autonomy and support they need.”

Hill has served as Cullman Middle School’s principal since 2008. In 2012, the school was named a CLAS Banner School for improvement in student achievement.

Hill will be recognized at the April 16 school board meeting, and will receive the Alabama Middle School Principal of the Year award at the CLAS Summer Conference. He will also travel to Washington in the fall to represent Alabama at the National Association of Secondary School Principals Conference, where he will be a finalist to become the National Middle School Principal of the Year.

Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.