Kathleen WheatonKathleen Wheaten, 62, is principal at Berry Middle School.
Dr. Kathleen Wheaton moved from Virginia to help start a new Hoover City Schools system in 1988 and has been an integral part of its leadership through the years of growth it has experienced since then.
“I saw an opportunity for teachers and administrators to be well rounded, and an opportunity as an administrator to work with wide variety of aspects of school as opposed to only working with one aspect,” she said of her decision to join in on the vision for Hoover’s new school system.
Wheaton served as ninth grade principal at Berry High School and then the new Hoover High School. When Berry Middle opened at the old Berry High campus in 1995, she became its principal.
She has led the school as it moved to its current location adjacent to Spain Park a decade later, and as it has been named a Banner School. Teachers have received the Milken award, and students have won one award after another. This year the Scholars Bowl team won the state championships, she said.
“(Middle school) students are such interesting people,” she said. “From 11-14 they are beginning to define who they are and really learn what they are good at and what they like.”
Wheaton spends much of her free time attending students’ sporting and other extracurricular events and is a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church.
She is especially proud of the school’s reading program that is not just integrated in English classes but through the whole curriculum, even in elective and physical education classes.
“Everything we do at Berry is team-based, and I am one member of the team,” she said. “I hope I support the other members, and I know they support me.”