After battling ill health for many months, we received word this morning, Nov. 3, that longtime state school board member Ella Bell , has died.

Bell was elected to the state board in Nov. 2000 and served since taking office in Jan. 2001.  She represented district 5, the largest geographic district in the state, stretching from Macon and Pike counties all the way to downtown Mobile.

Bell graduated from Tuskegee University in 1969 and got a Masters in education from Alabama State in 1974.  She worked at the Dropout Prevention Center at Alabama State University.

A Democrat, Ella was seldom at a loss for words and when she took a stand, she did not budge.  She was a friend of mine and called from time to time to discuss education issues.  These discussions were sometimes colorful and I always knew just where she stood when I hung up the phone.

She was planning to seek office again in 2020.

And since qualifying ends at 5 pm. on Nov. 8, there will no doubt be a scramble over the next few days of candidates hoping to succeed her.  Governor Ivey will also appoint someone to fill the remainder of Bell’s term which runs until Jan. 2021.