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Mary Jane Caylor

Dr. Mary Jane Caylor retired as dean of workforce development at J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College in 2016. Dr. Caylor served as the executive director of Big Spring Partners from October 2005 through September 2012. She also served as the executive director of Huntsville’s bicentennial celebration in 2005 and was a member of the Alabama State Board of Education, representing District VIII for four terms. She was elected to this position in 1994 and completed her service in January 2011. Public schools benefited from her leadership in the creation and implementation of the Alabama Reading Initiative and Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative.

Dr. Caylor earned a B.S. degree in elementary education and a master of arts degree in special education, both from The University of Alabama. She later earned a Class AA certification in special education. She earned her Ed.D. in educational administration and planning from The University of Alabama.

Dr. Caylor worked as a juvenile police detective with the City of Huntsville and as a juvenile probation officer in Madison County from 1964-1965.

In her many professional roles, Dr. Caylor taught on the elementary school level and as an adjunct professor with the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Athens State College. She also worked as an assistant professor in the department of special education with Troy State University. She served as a visiting professor with Alabama A&M University’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Caylor additionally served as director of special education, assistant superintendent of general services, and from 1982-1991, she was superintendent of the Huntsville City Schools. Caylor was named superintendent of the year by the Alabama Council of PTAs in 1990. In 1991, she was the Alabama finalist for superintendent of the year presented by the American Association of School Administrators and was and the Alabama 1991 Superintendent of the Year.

Caylor served on the recruitment team for the Tennessee Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). The team was responsible for job recruitment and relocations from the states of Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Colorado. The team recruitment activities were for six years after Congress approved the 2005 BRAC. Her primary task was the education presentations for the team. Her presentations included K-14, community and technical colleges, four-year universities, as well as private and parochial schools in the northeast areas of Alabama and southern Tennessee.

During her contract with the City of Huntsville as executive director of the Huntsville bicentennial event, she also had a tenure with Big Spring Partners, Inc., a nonprofit established for the revitalization and renaissance of downtown Huntsville. She was instrumental in the creation and establishment of four prestigious memorials in the area, serving as project manager of the following: the Bicentennial Children’s Fountain and Park; the Tom Thrasher Fountain and Memorial in Big Spring Park; the Huntsville Rotary Plaza and Fountain; and the Huntsville Madison County Veterans Memorial.

Dr. Caylor organized and managed two community leader trips to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Greenville, South Carolina, to learn from the successes of those communities in downtown redevelopment.

She was also part of the first Leadership Alabama class, a charter member of Leadership Alabama Board of Directors, former member of the Huntsville Rotary Club and member of Rotary Board of Directors, a past member of the Board of Directors of the Huntsville Rotary Club, an honorary life member of the Alabama PTA, and the 2010 Recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award.

She established the Huntsville City Schools Foundation and was past commissioner and chair of the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission Space & Rocket Center.

Dr. Caylor is the mother of one daughter, who is a data analyst for the Huntsville City Schools, and has two grandchildren.