Sherrel Stewart

Sherrel Stewart


Sherrel Wheeler Stewart is a veteran journalist with experience in print, digital, and broadcasting. She began her work in professional media in 1982 after graduating from the University of Alabama where she was an editor at The Crimson White student newspaper and also an associate producer with University Television Services.

At The Birmingham News she covered communities, education, and local government before moving to Nashville, Tennessee and working as education editor at The Tennessean. She has also worked in corporate communications and as a visiting professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. In 1998, she returned to The Birmingham News and was the breaking news editor before leaving in 2012.

A founding member of the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists, Sherrell is active in several community organizations. She is on the board of Special Equestrians and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Down Syndrome Alabama, and the Echo Highlands Neighborhood Association.

Taking on Tests: Opting Out in Florida

Millions of Florida’s public school students, from third grade through 12th, are preparing to take the Florida Standards Assessment. The test has drawn scorn from parents, teachers, school administrators, and even lawmakers—yet it remains the main measure of how schools and districts are graded, kids promoted, and teachers evaluated. Lynn Hatter of WFSU reports about how some parents and children are protesting — choosing a form of civil disobedience by opting out.

Taking on Tests: The Stakes Are High

It’s testing season in schools across the South and around the country. Students are flipping open booklets or logging onto computers to answer math and reading questions. For over a decade, annual standardized testing has been the law of the land. But it’s not without controversy or pushback – and some states and school districts are rethinking their approach.

U.S. Marshal Talks Crime, Collaboration and Change

You probably remember westerns where with U.S. Marshals ride into town and take on criminals. Well in real life in North Central Alabama, it’s U.S. Marshal Marty Keely who leads the team capturing federal criminals and works through a regional task force to fight crime.

Hoover School Board Approves Rezoning Plan

The Hoover City Schools has been trying for more than two years to come up with a rezoning plan that addresses growth and changing demographics while also passing muster with federal authorities. The school board approved the plan Monday night and hopes it makes the gr

Hoover School Board Could Approve Rezoning Proposal Monday Evening

On Monday, March 7, the Hoover School Board will vote on a rezoning plan that redistributes about 2,200 Hoover students to different schools. WBHM’s Sherrel Wheeler Stewart talked to Hoover Sun reporter Jon Anderson about the rezoning proposal, submitted by Superintendent Kathy Murphy.

Analysis Shows Great Voting Divide in Jefferson County, A Win for Ben Carson

Less than half of Jefferson County’s 411,838 registered voters went to the polls on Tuesday. A total of 82,928 voted in the Democratic Primary and 93,985 voted in the Republican Primary.

Alabama Clinton Supporters Look to November After Super Tuesday Win

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton stormed through Alabama and much of the South on Super Tuesday, clinching victories. Clinton claimed a commanding primary victory over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders with 78 percent of the vote in the Alabama Democratic primary. Clinton was propelled by heavy support from African-American voters. Nine in 10 black Democrats supported Clinton.

Priming the Pipeline for STEM in the South: Coding as a Foreign Language Credit

Computer coders have found a champion in Florida Senator Jeremy Ring. Ring, a former Yahoo! executive who helped build the company, believes coding and technology is an art, rather than a science. He wants to attract more students to STEM studies. As part of the Southern Education Desk series, Priming the Pipeline for STEM in the South, Lynn Hatter of WFSU reports on Ring’s proposal to allow Florida students to choose coding in order to fulfill a foreign language requirement for college.

Priming the Pipeline for STEM in the South: A Look Across the Region

Over the next ten years, the number of jobs in science, technology, engineering and math fields are expected to outpace other industries by about five to ten percent. That’s according to the group Change the Equation, an organization that pushes for greater STEM education in schools. Yet, throughout the South, particularly in rural and high poverty communities, administrators have trouble attracting educators qualified to teach STEM.

Birmingham-Area Schools Account for One-Third of State’s “Failing” List

“These assessments are not the only indicator of success for a school. If you look at schools, I’m sure you’ll see what some are doing to make it better,” Malissa Valdes-Hubert, Alabama State Department of Education spokesperson.

Report: Mountain Brook, Ramsay Highs Send 92, 93 Percent of Students to Higher Ed

Mountain Brook High School and Birmingham’s Ramsay High School send the largest percentages of graduates on to higher education in the Birmingham-metro area, according to data presented recently by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama.

Hoover Schools Unveil New Zoning Plan, Schedule Meetings For Parent Feedback

Parents will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed plan at four smaller meetings throughout the district this month.

New Ownership for The Birmingham Times

The state’s oldest African American newspaper has a new owner. The Birmingham Times, was purchased by the Foundation for Progress in Journalism, a Birmingham non-profit. Sam Martin will be the paper’s new publisher. Martin was formerly the publisher for the Montgomery Advertiser.

AL Health Officials: No Heightened Level of Lead

The co-director of the Regional Poison Control Center at Children’s of Alabama today refuted claims that lead poisoning levels in Dallas and Houston Counties are among the highest in the nation, following reports last week on the national website “There are thousands of children who are being screened in Houston County whose data is […]

Matters of Choice: Race, Economics and Choice in North Carolina

In North Carolina, students get their choice of charter schools, but those schools are increasingly divided by race. In this southern state where some of the nation’s most noted school desegregation battles were waged, a recent Duke University study shows that many schools are either predominantly white or predominantly minority. Efforts are being made, however, to change that trend.

Matters of Choice: Florida — A Hot Spot for School Choice

While many ideas may have originated in other states, Florida has adopted them and created a massive alternative system. WFSU-FM’s Lynn Hatter takes a look at the decades-long movement that is school choice in Florida, one of the nation’s hot spots for school choice programs, as part of the Southern Education Desk’s series, “Matters of Choice.”

Matters of Choice: New Orleans – The Choice Epicenter

Most Southern states allow for some form of school choice – magnet schools, vouchers for private schools, charter schools and more. How do these options affect learning, school demographics, and student success? We explore Matters of Choice beginning with this report from WWNO’s Mallory Falk in New Orleans.

More Computer Education Training Coming For Alabama Teachers

Alabama school teachers will get more opportunities to train as computer science teachers through an expanded partnership with At College Ready, the Alabama State Department of Education and

Birmingham Leaders Look to Curb Gun Violence

“We ought to have an increased presence in our neighborhoods. We need to be safe,” says Councilman Steven Hoyt.

Two Christmas Day Tornadoes Confirmed In Alabama

“It just came so fast.” Gloria Hardy

Weather Service Crews to Survey Damage Saturday in Southwest Birmingham, Tuscaloosa

National Weather Service crews will assess damage Saturday morning in southwest Birmingham and east Tuscaloosa, locations where tornadoes possibly touched down Christmas Day as storms roared through the state.

Success More Than Jokes For Birmingham’s Roy Wood Jr. On Daily Show

For me, I think I have been very, very lucky to have a career up until this point where pretty much everything I have done, prepared me for what I am doing today on The Daily Show – from the acting, to the stand ups, even the prank phone calls. Roy Wood Jr.

Water Works Ends Longtime Ties With Lawyers Waldrep, Stewart and Kendrick

The Birmingham Water Works Board cut ties today with its longtime lawyers Waldrep, Stewart and Kendrick. The board’s vote ends a lucrative relationship valued at more than $ 1 million a year and had lasted almost three decades. The contract ends on Jan. 11, says Mac Underwood, General Manager for the utility. Charlie Waldrep, a […]

Teaching Tough Topics: NPT Reports

What should school children be taught about Islam, the Confederacy and other topics that are sensitive to some in our society? NPT Reports looks at how curriculum standards are set in Tennessee and why state officials are implementing new procedures to address public concerns as part of the Southern Education Desk’s series, “Teaching Tough Topics.”

Teaching Tough Topics: Teaching Beyond The Test

Civil Rights, Voter ID laws, Felon Rights. These topics aren’t foreign for teachers and students in Southern classrooms. But what happens when pressure to teach to the test prevents challenging conversations?

Teaching Tough Topics: Teaching Civil War History In Mississippi As Symbols Fall

In Mississippi, the Civil War still stirs emotions. It’s not so much that teachers disagree on how it should be taught, but that ongoing attempts by the University of Mississippi and several cities across the South to shed Confederate symbols have called up old ghosts. Sandra Knispel reports for the Southern Education Desk.

Teaching Tough Topics: Textbook Fight Riles Tennessee

What should school children be taught about Islam? In Florida and North Carolina, parents claim students are being “indoctrinated” with a sanitized version of the Muslim faith. One of the fiercest fights so far is happening right now in Tennessee. As Chas Sisk of WPLN reports for the Southern Education Desk, it could reveal the playbook for future battles.

University of Alabama Student Government Association President Talks About Diversity

Elliot Spillers, who is black, talks with Sherrel Wheeler Stewart about the announcement of the hiring of a chief diversity officer & culture at Alabama.

Birmingham City Schools Enrollment Shows Slight Increase For First Time In Decades

Something happened in Birmingham schools this year, that hasn’t happened in more than three decades – the system didn’t have a drop in enrollment.

Dr. Tondra Loder-Jackson, Discusses Impact of Civil Rights On Education

In advance of the WBHM/Southern Education Desk Issues and Ales forum on the future of Education in Alabama, Dr. Loder-Jackson discussed her research on civil rights in Birmingham schools.

Anthony Barnes, Former Birmingham Water Works Chairman, Dies

Anthony Barnes, former chairman of the Birmingham Water Works Board and long-time Birmingham businessman died Tuesday. He was 65.

Birmingham Woman Shares Her Story From Struggle To Success With National Leaders

“Everything has changed for the better for us. I’m excited because there is still more to come. We can only go up from here.”
Monique Jones