Austin Middle School Wins 2024 Pacesetter School Award
Alabama school honored for its commitment to student achievement and teacher support

News SREB News Release

Nashville, TN – Austin Middle School in Decatur, Alabama, is the winner of a 2024 Gene Bottoms Pacesetter School Award from the Southern Regional Education Board.

Austin was honored July 9 at SREB’s Making Schools Work Conference in Nashville.

Pacesetter Awards recognize schools that are implementing one of SREB’s Making Schools Work school improvement frameworks and are achieving success in meeting bold goals related to graduation rates, readiness for college and careers, and credential attainment.

Austin implements SREB’s school improvement design for middle schools. The school received the honor for its successful focus on student achievement and teacher support during the 2022-2023 school year.

Austin teachers implemented small group instruction and student data folders in which students were given incentives for recording their academic goals, progress reports, grades and other data.

In addition, the school initiated formal and informal peer observation, where experienced educators opened their classrooms to novice teachers and others seeking to improve teaching and their use of SREB powerful practices.

SREB’s Making Schools Work Conference is held annually and provides educators with opportunities to participate in professional development, network with colleagues from across the country and build school and district leadership capacity.

Contact: Janita Poe, SREB News Manager, at or 404-879-5516, ext. 216

The Southern Regional Education Board works with states, districts and schools to improve education at every level, from early childhood through doctoral education and the workforce. An interstate compact and a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Atlanta, SREB was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region.