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Carmichael Hall

Joseph B. Morton

Ph.dD., The University of Alabama, 1974. Educational Administration. 

M.A., The University of Alabama, 1973. Educational Administration. 

B.S., Auburn University, 1969. Secondary Education.

Dr. Joseph B. Morton was born July 20, 1946, in Birmingham, Alabama. He grew up in Pleasant Grove, Alabama, and graduated from Hueytown High School. His first university experience was at Auburn University, where in 1969 he earned his B.S. in Secondary Education. After graduating, Joe taught in the Jefferson County School District. In 1972 he decided to go back to school. As a graduate research assistant at The University of Alabama, Joe earned his M.A. in 1973 and his Ph.D. in 1974 both in Educational Administration. 

When Joe was only 27 years old, he became the Sumter County Board of Education Superintendent, arguably the youngest person to be a local superintendent of education in Alabama history. He remained in this position for four years and then went on to become the superintendent for the Sylacauga City Board of Education. In 1995, Joe became the Deputy State Superintendent of Education for the Instructional Services of Alabama Department of Education. 

On July 13, 2004, Dr. Morton was selected by the Alabama State Board of Education to be Alabama’s 36th State Superintendent of Education. He served in this capacity for seven years. Prior to the appointment as State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Morton served for eight years as Deputy State Superintendent of Education. 

As Deputy and State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Morton guided the creation and implementation of the Alabama Reading Initiative; the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative; the Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators, and Students Statewide (Distance Education) Initiative; and First Choice (a new graduation plan for Alabama’s students). 

While serving as State Superintendent of Education, Alabama showed significant academic gains in reading and math assessment scores with Alabama’s fourth graders scoring at the national average on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for the first time in Alabama history. Alabama is considered a national leader in student nutrition during his superintendency. In 2008, Dr. Morton was given a national award by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA): the “State Policymaker Award.” In 2010, Alabama had the largest gain in the nation in Advanced Placement enrollments and students scoring 3-5 on AP exams and had the third highest gain in the nation on increasing the high school graduation rate. 

Dr. Morton retired as State Superintendent of Education on September 1, 2011. On February 1, 2012, Dr. Morton became the Chairman and President of the Business Education Alliance of Alabama (BEA). The BEA is dedicated to seeing Alabama develop the best prepared workforce possible to improve Alabama’s economic future. The BEA believes that improved education results in Pre-K through college can be achieved by long-term working relationships among education, the private sector and government leaders.