The Alabama Independent School Association's recent Hall of Fame ceremony and banquet included the induction of a former Crestview resident.
Melba Bolton Richardson, who grew up in Crestview, was among inductees recognized by the association for making significant contributions to their schools or the association. "The older I've gotten the more I've looked back and I am so appreciative of the schooling I received in Crestview. I spent first through 12th grade there and I was so prepared for college and for my career," Richardson said. "I grew up on Pearl Street … I treasure my growing up years there. I can't tell you how much I do. Growing up in a small town has its advantages." Richardson graduated from Crestview High School in 1964. She was a class and CHS Student Government Association officer, head majorette, and was voted most talented. She graduated from The University of Alabama in 1968 with a bachelor of science in Secondary English and later received both a Master of Education and Certification in Administration from Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama. Melba began her teaching at Tuscaloosa Junior High School and then in Tennessee at Maryville Junior High. She started her career at Saint James School in 1983, teaching English and serving as department chair. She became middle school principal, transforming the middle school into a nationally acclaimed model. Melba served as Academic Dean before becoming Head of School. During her tenure as Head, Saint James became the innovative educational model for the state and earned the number one ranking of independent schools in Montgomery. She coined the phrases "We are Saint James School," and "It's a great day at STJ," and is thankful for the impact her beloved Saint James has had on her life. She has received numerous awards and honors through the years. Melba represented Alabama at The National Middle School Association Network and made presentations throughout the country on educational topics. She also represented Alabama at the Getty Museum opening in Los Angeles. She served on the board of Council for Leaders of Alabama Schools, and as president of the Alabama Association of Middle Level Administrators. Melba serves on The University of Alabama College of Education's Advisory Board, The Alabama Network of Family Resource Centers, and chairs The Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts. She was recently inducted into The University of Alabama's prestigious Women of the Capstone. Melba was honored in 2015 by the Alabama Senate as well as the City of Montgomery with resolutions honoring her contributions to education. The Alabama Association of Independent Schools awarded her a Lifetime Leadership Award in 2015, and she was instrumental in the merger of AAIS and AISA. "I am honored to be inducted into the AISA Hall of Fame and am grateful to have been a part of AISA," Richardson stated. The Saint James Board of Directors created the Melba Richardson Leadership Award in 2015; it's given at graduation each year. The board also named The Melba Richardson Middle School in her honor for her 32 years of dedicated service and her contributions to middle level education. Melba is married to Dr. William S. Richardson III, and they have two children, both graduates of Saint James School. Their son, William IV, is married to Angie Adams Richardson; they have two children, Will V and Sarah Jane. Their daughter, Mary Catherine, is married to Scott Phillips, and they have one daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, who is in K-4 at Saint James. Melba serves in numerous volunteer and civic roles and is active at First United Methodist Church. She spends her leisure time traveling, reading, writing, gardening, and sewing smocked and French handmade dresses. She promotes kindness and has what she calls a "note writing mission" to congratulate and encourage others.