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Directors

MCSS Directors

Rachel Ballard, Director of Equity and Innovation
Dr. Rachel Ballard has worked in the field of education and community development for almost 20 years. She has served as a teacher, academic dean, principal, head of school, a consultant for both national and international schools, and most recently as the executive director of Village of Promise. Under Dr. Ballard’s leadership, she has witnessed increased student and family engagement, improved standardized test scores, enhanced community collaboration, and has led fundraising efforts that have totaled over $20 million. She holds an undergraduate degree from Liberty University, a Master’s degree in Education from Regent University, and a PhD in Educational Leadership and Administration from Capella University. She has also studied abroad in Jerusalem, Israel, at The Principals’ Institute at Harvard University, Pennsylvania State University, and Cornell University School of Professional Studies. Dr. Ballard participated in the Madison County United Way Leadership Social Services class of 2017 and is a graduate of Leadership Huntsville/Madison County F-35 and L-31. Dr. Ballard has received numerous awards and recognitions for outstanding educational and community leadership. She is married to Kent Ballard, Jr., who is also an ardent educator. They have three sons, Gabriel, Joseph, and Luke. Her passion to educate, equip, and encourage, students, their families, educators, and the community, fuels her commitment to serve.

Dr. Rachel Ballard has worked in the field of education and community development for almost 20 years. She has served as a teacher, academic dean, principal, head of school, a consultant for both national and international schools, and most recently as the executive director of Village of Promise.  Under Dr. Ballard’s leadership, she has witnessed increased student and family engagement, improved standardized test scores, enhanced community collaboration, and has led fundraising efforts that have totaled over $20 million.

She holds an undergraduate degree from Liberty University, a Master’s degree in Education from Regent University, and a PhD in Educational Leadership and Administration from Capella University. She has also studied abroad in Jerusalem, Israel, at The Principals’ Institute at Harvard University, Pennsylvania State University, and Cornell University School of Professional Studies. Dr. Ballard participated in the Madison County United Way Leadership Social Services class of 2017 and is a graduate of Leadership Huntsville/Madison County F-35 and L-31.

Dr. Ballard has received numerous awards and recognitions for outstanding educational and community leadership. She is married to Kent Ballard, Jr., who is also an ardent educator. They have three sons, Gabriel, Joseph, and Luke. Her passion to educate, equip, and encourage, students, their families, educators, and the community, fuels her commitment to serve.

Nikki Rodman, Director of Information Technology
Carter Watkins, Director of Public Relations
Carter Watkins is an award-winning journalist who transitioned into education after retiring from television news. Carter spent nearly his entire career with WHNT-TV, gathering news not only in north Alabama but across the nation. After an exciting career in journalism, Carter accepted the position of Communications Coordinator with Florence City Schools in 2019. Following a successful tenure with FCS, Mr. Watkins accepted the position of Director of Public Relations with the Madison County School System in October of 2021. The MCSS Communications Department works to promote school district accomplishments and our people through numerous avenues that engage our community and stakeholders. Follow the Madison County School System on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Mary Stump, Director of Special Education
Mary Stump has been employed by the Madison County School District since 1992. She has served the district as a special education teacher, a school administrator, and is currently the Director of Special Education. Ms. Stump holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Jacksonville State University and was employed by the Calhoun-Cleburne County Mental Health Center. While there she worked as a habilitation specialist for adults with disabilities and as a transition therapist for individuals with mental illnesses. Upon relocation to Madison county in 1990, she earned a Master’s degree in Special Education and later added a certification in Educational Leadership, both from Alabama A&M University. Ms. Stump is a graduate of Leadership Huntsville-Madison County Class L-30, a member of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools and a member of the Alabama Council for Administrators in Special Education. She is married to Bo Stump and they have two sons, Cole(Hannah) and Will, and a granddaughter, Charlotte.

Mary Stump has been employed by the Madison County School District since 1992.  She has served the district as a special education teacher, a school administrator, and is currently the Director of Special Education.  Ms. Stump holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Jacksonville State University and was employed by the Calhoun-Cleburne County Mental Health Center.  While there she worked as a habilitation specialist for adults with disabilities and as a transition therapist for individuals with mental illnesses. Upon relocation to Madison county in 1990, she earned a Master’s degree in Special Education and later added a certification in Educational Leadership, both from Alabama A&M University.  Ms. Stump is a graduate of Leadership Huntsville-Madison County Class L-30, a member of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools and a member of the Alabama Council for Administrators in Special Education.  She is married to Bo Stump and they have two sons, Cole(Hannah) and Will, and a granddaughter, Charlotte.

Joe Cuzzort, Director of Operations
Mr. Cuzzort came to Madison County Schools in June 2014 as the Supervisor of Maintenance and Construction. He became the Director of Operations on August 20, 2019. His role as the Director of Operations encompasses operations, construction, facility maintenance, and custodial services for the Madison County School System. He has over thirty years of experience in the construction industry. He enjoyed a successful twenty seven year career with Thompson Tractor, a Caterpillar Equipment Dealer. Cuzzort owned and managed Saylor Developers, LLC from 1998-2017 as a residential home builder, building speculative and custom homes in the North Alabama area. Along with residential construction, he served as a job superintendent on commercial jobs from central to north Alabama. He and his wife, Kellye, own and operate Cuzzort Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Whiskers in Madison, Alabama, serving two thousand clients per month with fourteen team members. They have two wonderful children; Saylor, a senior, and Ethan, a sophomore at Sparkman High School.
Mr. Cuzzort came to Madison County Schools in June 2014 as the Supervisor of Maintenance and Construction. He became the Director of Operations on August 20, 2019. His role as the Director of Operations encompasses operations, construction, facility maintenance, and custodial services for the Madison County School System. 
 
He has over thirty years of experience in the construction industry. He enjoyed a successful twenty seven year career with Thompson Tractor, a Caterpillar Equipment Dealer. Cuzzort owned and managed Saylor Developers, LLC from 1998-2017 as a residential home builder, building speculative and custom homes in the North Alabama area. Along with residential construction, he served as a job superintendent on commercial jobs from central to north Alabama. 
 
He and his wife, Kellye, own and operate Cuzzort Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Whiskers in Madison, Alabama, serving two thousand clients per month with fourteen team members. They have two wonderful children; Saylor, a senior, and Ethan, a sophmore at Sparkman High School.