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Carmichael Hall

N. Joyce Sellers

Ph.D., The University of Alabama, 1989. Educational Leadership. 

M.A., The University of Alabama, 1973. Secondary Education.

B.S.E., The University of Alabama, 1972. Secondary Education, Speech. Minor in History. 

Nona Joyce Sellers was born in October 5, 1949, in Holt, Alabama. She graduated as valedictorian from Holt High School in 1968. 

Joyce began her career in education in 1974 at Maxwell Elementary School as a reading teacher. Later that year, she became a classroom teacher at Hillcrest Junior and Senior High Schools. In 1982, she became the first female assistant principal in Tuscaloosa County at Tuscaloosa High School. In 1986, Joyce became principal of Holt High School until 1990 when she became principal at Hillcrest High School. From Hillcrest she went on to serve as the first female Superintendent of the Tuscaloosa County School System from 1994 until her retirement in late 2003. 

As superintendent, Joyce oversaw the expansion of Tuscaloosa schools with the construction of the new schools: Tuscaloosa County High, Taylorville Primary, Brookwood Middle, Echols Middle, Davis-Emerson Middle, Northside High, Northside Middle, and numerous building additions and renovations. During this time, Joyce served as an adjunct professor at the Capstone, helping train and inspire future educational leaders. She established the Education Excellence Foundation in 1994, a non-profit organization to benefit education in Tuscaloosa County. 

Joyce was also a source of leadership to much of Tuscaloosa County. She was a part of numerous organizations: Leadership Alabama, the Alabama Council of the National Beta Club, the XXXI Society at UA, and many others. She also assisted in the Tuscaloosa Public Library’s Strategic Plan and the Tuscaloosa County Vision Planning forums. In her dedication to the Tuscaloosa youth, Joyce served as Curriculum Chair for Forerunners sponsored by the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce. She also helped to create programs that combated drug abuse by young people through Task Force for Drug Free Schools, and the West Alabama Drug Conference. 

Joyce’s dedication, leadership, and foreword thinking has been recognized through awards and honors bestowed upon her during her lifetime and after her passing. The Holt High School Library is named after her; she has received the Holt High School Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Holt High School Hall of Fame. She received the Kermit Johnson Outstanding Superintendent Award, the Tombigbee Girl Scout Council Women Committed to Excellence Award, the Soroptimist Woman of Distinction Award, the Mollie Allen Advocate for Children Award from the Tuscaloosa County council of PTAs, the Northport Citizen of the Year, the Truman Pierce Leadership Award, the Betsy Plank Distinguished Achievement Award, and was named one of the pillars of West Alabama by the Community Foundation of West Alabama. The N. Joyce Sellers Award was established by the Alabama State Department of Education to recognize outstanding school superintendents each year. Joyce also received the Capstone Education Society Outstanding Contribution to Education Award. 

Dr. Sellers was a lifelong member of Holt United Methodist Church where she served in many capacities. Dr. Sellers was committed to her community and worked toward that ideal each and every day.