This week marked the first time an Alabama governor walked the halls of Auburn public schools in at least seven years as Gov. Kay Ivey toured the new Auburn High School and visited with new teachers.
Ivey came to Auburn on her "Listen, Learn, Help & Lead Tour" to do exactly those things, she said. Aside from her tour of AHS and her visit with teachers at Ogletree Elementary School, she toured GE Aviation, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Auburn University Schools of Nursing and Pharmacy building.
"It's always good to get out with what I call real people ... to get a feel and understanding of the opportunities and challenges that are real and our people are addressing," she said during a press conference after her tours.
Ivey also participated in a roundtable discussion with local leaders where she hoped to gain insight on Auburn's goals, needs and problems. Before the discussion, which was closed to the media, Auburn City Schools Superintendent Karen DeLano said she was looking forward to sharing state funding needs the growing school system has.
"It's very important to me that school systems who attract business and industry are recognized and not punished," she said. "Sometimes you feel that way because you don't get the money for additional students ... I'm going to talk to her about trying to help the Legislature understand to fund that part of the budget."
DeLano said she was pleased when she learned the governor would be visiting Auburn schools and that she is optimistic about the future under Ivey's leadership.
"I have real high hopes that she'll be able to make some improvements across the board," DeLano said.
Ivey greeted new teachers on Tuesday morning at Ogletree Elementary during the annual new teachers breakfast and spoke about the importance of education and how a good school system directly influences the local job market and economic development, according to DeLano.
"It was refreshing to hear that from a governor," DeLano said.
Ivey said the roundtable discussion could give state officials ideas for items to be addressed in the next legislative session, and she spoke about her hope of inspiring more women to step forward across many career fields.