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.

Long Hours At Work And School Fuel Determination For Stratford High Graduate In Nashville

Though he’s a teenager, Kevin is the man of the house. While in high school, he worked long hours to help out, which made staying in school a struggle. Instead of dropping out, he stuck with it and graduated from Nashville’s Stratford STEM Magnet High School.

Nashville Student Focuses On Graduation at Non-Traditional Academy at Old Cockrill

Dealing with Chronic illness is just one of the issues students can face during school. The resulting stress, absences and falling behind can sometimes make dropping out an attractive option. In this Southern Education Desk series “Back on Track,” Nashville Public Television tells us about Ben, a young man who faces struggles, but is determined to graduate from the Academy at Old Cockrill.

New Orleans’ Posh Academy Helps LGBT Students Complete GED

In it’s series Back On Track, the Southern Education Desk looks at a program in New Orleans that supports some of those students as they work toward a high school degree. The program called Posh Academy, is part of BreakOut, a non profit addressing issues of LBGT youth. WWNO’s Mallory Falk spoke with some of the students, including 23-year-old Lhundyn Fernandez.

Back on Track: Donna Dukes And Sernitria Bell

High school graduates earn about $10,000 more each year than dropouts. And they’ll be less likely to end up in jail, or even suffer some preventable diseases, studies show. But what if students could get back on track before an academic plunge dooms them to a life of less than? The Southern Education Desk, in […]

Study Centers and Counselors Give Student-Athletes Academic Support

Football, basketball, baseball, gymnastics. College sports are a way of life in the South. Fans pack into stadiums or glue themselves to TV’s to watch their favorite teams battle it out. But the pressure on a young person to succeed on the field or court is only half the battle. College athletes are also expected to succeed in the classroom.

Athletes And Schools Tackle Tougher NCAA Academic Requirements for Potential D1 Players

When it comes to Division I football, Southern states including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana, produce the largest number of recruits per capita. New NCAA rules take effect for college athletes next fall. A 2.0 GPA and a decent ACT score won’t be enough anymore. To avoid the bench, freshmen will have to come in with a 2.3 GPA in core classes — reading, math, science, and social studies. And players in high school — where standards are generally lower — are feeling it.

Birmingham School Board Approves Application to Authorize Charter Schools

“In an effort to be a player in this process, we really needed to become an authorizer, so that anyone who is interested in moving forward with a charter school application would have to first come to the school district,” Dr. Kelley Castlin-Gacutan .

Hoover Schools Chief Says No to Becoming Charter Authorizer

“I hold no assumption that there is a charter school entity out there that can do the work better than we’re doing,” says superintendent Dr. Kathy Murphy.

Alabama High School ACT Results Show Increases And Some Disparities

Report from ACT reflects academic performance for the first full class of Alabama’s graduating seniors taking the college entrance test as an exit exam.

First Charter Schools Open In Mississippi; Alabama Charters Could Come Soon

States across the U-S have increasingly been turning to charter schools in an effort to bolster struggling public school systems. Two of the most recent states to adopt the controversial form of education are Mississippi and Alabama. As part of a Southern Education Desk series examining charter schools in the South, we turn to Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Paul Boger for a report on how those states are adopting to the alternative form of public education.

Paying For Charter Schools In The South

Florida has about 650 charter schools. They are part of school districts but are privately managed and largely free of many of the rules governing traditional public schools. But as enrollment in charters has increased, so has the financial cost. WFSU’s Lynn Hatter reports for the Southern Education Desk that Tennessee and Georgia are also struggling to find ways to support their charter schools.

Getting Parent Buy-In For A New Alternative

The big push for charter schools in Louisiana started after Hurricane Katrina. The state’s Recovery School District took over most of the public schools in New Orleans, and quickly issued charters. The organization has moved on to Baton Rouge, but, without a hurricane scattering teachers and students, charters really have to get parents to buy into the alternative they’re selling.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan Talks About Fixing No Child Left Behind Law

Sherrel Wheeler Stewart talks with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan about education and the hurdles in passing the law this year.

High School Banks On New Focus And Old Identity At Banks Academy In South East Lake

The glory days of Banks High School brought lots of sports championships before the high school closed in 1989. Graduates became lawyers and doctors, preachers and politicians, and almost any other profession you can name. Alumni and supporters are returning to their East Lake home base to continue a legacy at Lakeview Baptist Church on 8th Avenue South.

Summer’s Season Of Learning Can Impact Graduation Rates

National education leaders are trumpeting recent increases in high school graduation rates, yet about 20 percent of kids still dropout before completing high school. That number jumps significantly among the Southern poor in places like Alabama and Mississippi. And it costs money. Dropouts earn less and governments pay more to support them. One possible solution? Make summer a season of learning for students that could help them stay engaged and in school. Sherrel Wheeler Stewart kicks off the Southern Education Desk series on Summer Learning and its impact high school graduation.

America’s Promise Alliance Focuses On Increasing Graduation Rates

When school bells next month signal the start of another year, millions will head back to class, but others who have dropped out will stay at home. Alma Powell, a Birmingham native and daughter of a former Parker High School principal, leads America’s Promise Alliance. This non profit is focused on increasing the nationwide high graduation rate to 90 percent.

Common Core: Can Standards Really Prepare Students for College?

Over the last two years, there has been a lot of debate surrounding the Common Core standards throughout the country. But sometimes, all the political noise can make us forget about the main goal of these standards. Do they really do a better job of preparing kids for college and careers? And if not, what’s stopping them?

Re-branding Common Core – Does the Name Make a Difference?

Common Core education standards have been controversial since their adoption nearly half-a-decade ago. Some states have tried re-branding Common Core by changing the name. Others have dropped the standards all together.
In the South, states are taking a different approach by asking residents themselves to reevaluate the standards.

Common Core: Challenges and Opposition

One of the hottest issues in State Houses this year was Common Core, national math and language arts standards released in 2010 and adopted by most states. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, this year more than 730 Common Core bills were introduced across the country, including 21 state proposals for repeal. This week, the Southern Education Desk examines why these public school standards are still so controversial in the South. Today Sherrel Wheeler Stewart from WBHM explains the roots of the opposition and the challenges the standards face.

State Superintendent Says Alabama’s Education Standards Shouldn’t Be Political

The Common Core State Standards have become a target around the country for some politicians and advocacy groups. Released in 2010, they’re math and language arts standards intended to raise rigor and establish consistency across the nation. Alabama’s version, the College and Career Ready Standards, survived an attempt at repeal by state lawmakers this spring.

In the above interview, WBHM’s Sherrel Wheeler Stewart talks with state superintendent Tommy Bice about the standards, the controversy they’ve stirred, and why he still supports them. And from Wednesday, June 17 through Friday, June 19, WBHM will air the Southern Education Desk’s three-part series on Common Core, an issue that’s turning education standards into political battles.

Birmingham City Schools Released From State Takeover

State Board commends school system for improvements in finances and governance

Athletics controversy could help image, experts say

Two years ago, UAB launched its first ever unified brand campaign for medicine and academics under the common tagline: UAB- Knowledge that will change your world. Now the university’s brand and reputation could get a boost from canceling three athletic programs and recently deciding to bring them back. “There’s no such thing as bad publicity […]

Birmingham’s New School Superintendent Dr. Kelley Castlin-Gucatan Returns Home, Prepares To Lead

Dr. G begins work as superintendent of Birmingham City Schools on July 1.

New Hoover City Schools Superintendent Starts June 1

It’s been a headlined filled year for Hoover City Schools, with controversies over zoning and busing, and the resignation of their superintendent. Now a new leader, Dr. Kathy Murphy, is on deck to take the helm. WBHM’s Sherrel Wheeler Stewart sat down for a conversation with her as she looks ahead to this new assignment.