Tony Reddick

Tony Reddick

The road that brought Tony Reddick to the superintendent of Gadsden City Schools may seem like a traditional track at first look. But beyond his experience in the education field, Reddick’s journey from a modest upbringing to a talented artist and community leader is an inspiring tale.

“It is interesting when you come from a place where most don’t see your potential,” said Reddick. “It gives you a special empathy to spot underestimated potential in others. I tell kids, ‘I’ve been there, and I’m not supposed to have achieved either. With the right attitude, teachers that believe in you and hard work, you can achieve beyond your wildest dreams.’ “

Born in Georgia, Reddick moved as a toddler with his single mother and four brothers and sisters to Boston. He and his eventual 8 brothers and sisters lived with their mother in Boston’s Roxbury Community and attended public school.

At the age of 13, he earned a scholarship to attend the prestigious St. Sebastian’s School, a catholic, independent school for boys. While there, he was exposed to rigorous academics including the study of Latin and religion. He competed on Sebastian’s football, basketball and track teams.

Upon graduation from St. Sebastian’s, he attended Boston University as a football scholar-athlete. After one red-shirt season, he left Boston University and at the urging of a close relative, enrolled at Talladega College in Alabama. At Talladega, he played basketball and studied mathematics and foreign language.

Along with a bachelor’s degree from Talladega, Reddick holds a master’s degree in mathematics education and an education administration degree from Jacksonville State University.

During his more than 30 years in the Gadsden City School System, he has served as a French, Latin, mathematics, and art instructor, an assistant and head basketball coach, an assistant football coach, an assistant principal at Gadsden High School, principal at Litchfield High School and J.K. Weaver Technical Center, which included supervision over the Secondary Alternative School, an EL Coordinator and Mentoring Coordinator, and the Director of Student Services.
While Reddick’s fervor for education is grounded in formal training, his love for art is self-taught. While at Talladega, a ceramics class sparked his interest. A natural with acrylics, pencils and chalks, Reddick has created dozens of pieces ranging from sports scenes to architectural renderings and portraits. Reddick is also a performance artist, author and poet. He has published two books including one on poetry and a children’s book. He is currently writing four additional books.

“Art gives me an outlet to be creative,” said Reddick, “It adds so much to the human experience, and that’s why I’m proud of how our school system fosters creativity and encourages students to experience the arts in so many different forms.”

Along with education, sports and the arts, another of Reddick’s passions is community service. He is a past or present member of numerous boards of directors including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, The Gadsden/Etowah Chamber of Commerce, The YMCA, The Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts, The Gadsden Civil Service Board, The Gadsden Design Review Board, The Industrial Development Authority, East Alabama United Way, The Gadsden State Community College Cardinal Foundation, Quality of Life Health Services and The Alabama Teachers Credit Union.

Reddick is a Sunday school teacher, choir member, and former chairman of the Deacon Ministry at First Missionary Baptist Church in Alabama City.

He and his wife, Belinda, have a daughter, Lindsay, who is a graduate of Alabama State University and Troy University; a son, Evan, who is a graduate of Talladega College and Jacksonville State University; a daughter-in-law, Carla, who is a graduate of Talladega College and Metropolitan University of Santos in Sao Paulo, Brazil; a son-in-law, William Harden, who is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and a grandson, William E. Harden III.

Despite his colorful resume and numerous talents, Reddick considers his greatest contribution to his community to be his love for preparing students for success on the ACT, the notoriously challenging college entrance exam, where he utilizes his “REDDICK Way” to improve students’ test scores.

“My approach is all about potential,” said Reddick. “The potential in a disadvantaged student that is overlooked. The potential in a student who sits just a few points shy of an ACT score that could garner them a full collegiate scholarship. To a larger extent, the potential of this school system, that offers so many opportunities, and making sure that it reaches its greatest potential to give our students the advantages they need for successful lives and careers.”

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