NAME: Cheryl Cunningham

DEPARTMENT/CAMPUS:  Federal Programs, One AISD Center

TITLE: Executive Director of Federal Programs

YEARS WITH AISD: 32 (34 total years in education)

WHERE ARE YOU FROM? WHAT SCHOOL DID YOU ATTEND? I am from Bakersfield, California (about two hours north of L.A.). I graduated from West High School in Bakersfield in 1974 and moved to Abilene at only 17 years old to attend ACU.  I ended up with three degrees from ACU before deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up, including a bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology and Education, a master’s degree in Communication Disorders, and a Master’s degree in School Administration.  I never dreamed I’d be a school administrator, but I have loved being one for the last 27 years.

TELLS US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY: I have been very happily married to Rob Cunningham for 37 years.  He is a residential real estate appraiser and an all-around great guy.  We have two grown children who graduated from Abilene High and still live in Abilene. Lauren is 35 and works at our church. Grant, 33, is a local real estate attorney and is married to Laura, who is a deaf education teacher in AISD. They are the parents of our wonderful 2 ½ year old grandson, Eli, who is the light of our lives. Another sweet grandson is due mid-November and we can’t wait to meet him!

TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOURSELF: A perfect Saturday for my husband and me is having a great breakfast, and then taking our coffee with us as we go combing through dusty antiques stores in quaint little Texas towns. Finally, finding a fun place to hear live country music and go two-stepping that evening caps off the day.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?  I love the people I get to work with, both in my office, and all around the district. I enjoy writing and managing many grants that provide the resources our most at-risk students need to be successful. Most of all, I love learning new things and having the opportunity to participate in varied projects all across the district. I hope what I do makes a difference!

WHAT THE BOSS SAYS ABOUT HER: “Cheryl Cunningham is a tremendous asset to Abilene ISD.  Her knowledge, leadership, integrity and wisdom are topped by no other.  She is truly an inspiration to those around her.  Cheryl exhibits all of the qualities that you would desire in an AISD leader.”- Dr. Abigail Barton, Associate Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction