D.S.W., The University of Alabama, 1979. Social Work.
M.S.W., Atlanta University. 1986. Social Work.
M.S., University of Chicago. 1953. Social Sciences.
B.A., Alabama A&M University. 1948. Education.
A native of Decatur, Ala., the late Dr. Ethel H. Hall was known as an advocate for students as well as educators statewide.
A career educator, she taught in the Hale and Jefferson County School Systems, was an associate professor at The University of Montevallo and The University of Alabama, and was named Associate Professor Emerita by UA Board of Trustees in 1990.
In 1987, Hall was the first African American woman elected to the Alabama Board of Education. She served on the board for 24 years with 10 years as the Board’s Vice President (1994-2004). Her dedication and service earned her the honor of being named Vice-President Emeritus.
On the state board, she served with integrity and was described as a member who always “did her homework” when deciding on key issues. She supported (or worked for or advocated) the creation and implementation of new standards to improve teacher education programs; character education; the Alabama Reading Initiative; the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative; ACCESS – Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators, and Students Statewide; the Alabama Learning Exchange; the expansion of Advanced Placement courses to every high school in the state through Distance Learning; Annual Report Cards; Teacher Education Report Cards; the Educational Ruler; Principal and Superintendent Leadership Academies; Torchbearer Schools; Graduation Coaches; FIRST CHOICE; and the adoption of the Common Core State Standards.
Hall is the recipient of more than 200 honors and awards including being named by the Birmingham Business Journal as one of the Top Ten Women Making a Difference and in 1999 was awarded the National Association of State Boards of Education Distinguished Service Award. She was also named Outstanding Alumnus of Alabama A&M University and was inducted into The University of Alabama School of Social Work Hall of Fame in 2005.
Known as a dedicated community servant, Hall was a member of the board of directors of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the National Conference of Community and Justice, the Women’s Exchange, Birmingham Museum of Art, and the Alabama Archives and History Foundation. She has also held positions with the Education Commission of the States, the Governor’s Commission on Instructional Improvement and Academic Excellence, and the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. She also touched countless organizations including the National Association of State Boards of Education, the Alabama Association of School Boards, Leadership Birmingham, Leadership Alabama, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, Rotary International, A+ Foundation and Partnership, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
In 2010, Hall penned her autobiography My Journey: A Memoir of the First African-American to Preside Over the Alabama State Board of Education. In the foreword, it is noted that “the reader is able to peer into the life of a petite yet gigantic woman and gain insight into the conditions and situations that allowed her to be…a history-making member of the Alabama State Board of Education.”