Montgomery attended and graduated from Sylacauga’s city schools, and made her career there, first as a teacher at Pinecrest Elementary School and later as a principal at Main Avenue Elementary and then Indian Valley Elementary School.
Former Superintendent Dr. Ellis Porch sent her across the country to learn about new trends in education and counted on her to help bring the best practices of the day back home.
She welcomed innovations and new ideas and worked with her teachers and students to help them get the most out of their time at school.
When she passed away, her family asked for donations in her memory to the Sylacauga City Schools Foundation in lieu of flowers. After that, two other principals, Marcella Gooch and Lynn Hodges, decided a chair in Montgomery’s honor would be a great way to honor her memory. They led a fundraising drive that got results, with the dedication of the Clara Lee Montgomery Chair this week.
That’s no small undertaking. The Sylacauga City Schools Foundation welcomes smaller donations, but a chair represents a donation of $25,000.
Her chair is the 43rd bestowed by the Foundation. Begun in 1988, Sylacauga’s foundation was one of the first in our area. Its governing board invests in interest-generating accounts, and through the generosity of donors has about $1.2 million generating funds for grants that supplement the state-supported educational programs in the city. Through its history, the foundation’s board has awarded more than a million dollars in grants to enhance educational opportunities in Sylacauga’s city schools. And now, thanks to donations honoring the memory of Clara Lee Montgomery, her legacy of involvement in the education of Sylacauga’s children will continue.
It’s quite a testament to her memory thanks to the generosity of those who helped make it happen.