Published on May 4, 2023 by Kameron Brown  
Autumm Jeter

Growing up just outside of Birmingham, Autumm Jeter ‘06 dreamed of becoming a teacher, but never imagined how far that calling would carry her or that one day she would serve as Assistant Superintendent with the Alabama State Board of Education.

“All I ever wanted to be was a teacher. It means the world to me to have been given this opportunity because as a young black girl, born and raised in Fairfield, Alabama, back then you didn’t hear about moving up and out of our school district too often.”

Jeter calls Samford University her college home. It was here that she met her husband, Judge Reginald Jeter ‘01, and it was here that she had her two children while completing her educational administrative certification, Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) and Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.).

“Samford is all about the teaching and learning aspect that prepares students with the real-world, applicable skills, to be successful in a variety of environments,” said Jeter. “As a student, you didn't just go and observe or shadow or teach or intern one day. They ensured that we were in a variety of populations and that's been quite helpful; and it helps with connections and networking. When I was in school and doing those internships, I was able to make connections with sitting principals or sitting superintendents before graduation.”

As assistant state superintendent of support services, Jeter will be responsible for several areas in Alabama’s school systems, such as special treatment centers, charter schools, compliance monitoring, the school board association and much more. Jeter’s past experience has positioned her perfectly to take on this level of responsibility.

As Superintendent of Bessemer City Schools, Jeter oversaw the daily operations of the Bessemer school district, working with the board of education to establish visions and goals, and raise student achievement. She has also worked in a variety of different schools throughout the years:  affluent school districts, high-poverty school districts, districts with unique challenges and struggles. Furthermore, her educational background is also diverse, possessing degrees from a Historically Black College and University, an inner-city state school and a private school.

“I will be working with all of these avenues; my educational and professional background has prepared me for this. I often wondered, ‘Lord, what are you doing?’ when a new opportunity would come along, but now I realize, the Lord was preparing me for this role, because you have to have a diverse and varied background to work at the state level,” said Jeter.

Her new position is the culmination of years of hard work, innovative learning and support from her friends and family. As a young woman, mentors like Randy Fuller, former superintendent of Shelby County schools, and Yvette Richardson, Jeter’s former principal now a member of the Alabama State Board of Education, poured into her professionally and encouraged her to keep seeking leadership opportunities. This is the kind of mentorship and leadership that Jeter plans to bring to her new role.

“I want to bring an excitement about education, and educators in general to help promote and recruit individuals into the teaching field. I look forward to working with superintendents or whomever I'm working with to let them know what opportunities are out there for them,” said Jeter.

Jeter began her new role in April, where she continues to support the field of education with the same diverse, innovative and encouraging methods that have contributed to her success and those around her.

“I've had the opportunity to show others, our young folks, what is out there for them,” said Jeter. “It has been said to me that I'm helping to shatter glass ceilings for African Americans and for women in general, and I'm excited to do that but not just for that. I’m excited to do that for educators all over because all I wanted to do was be a teacher, that's all.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.