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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – It isn’t every day that the school superintendent visits a school in our region. Friday morning Dr. Eric Mackey visited Discovery Middle School as two very special awards were announced.

Online school ranking website Niche ranked Discovery Middle School as number one in the state of Alabama. The school celebrated Friday with a special assembly.

“Well I’ll tell you, Mr. Hill and I have known about this for about two months and it’s been hard to keep it a secret,” said Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols “We’ve been excited like children waiting for Christmas day.”

He added it’s an honor to oversee so many great schools.

Dr. Nichols told News 19, “We’re blessed, we have tremendous community support, great parents, great kids, and you connect that with a great staff, great teachers, great principals, and you can find success.”

He says several other schools in the district also ranked high on the list.

“Liberty was in the top 5, both of our high schools were in the top five and all seven of our elementary schools were in the top ten,” Dr. Nichols told News 19.

Mackey was in attendance at the assembly and he said after two years of a pandemic, it’s great to be back.

“Discovery Middle does a great job preparing students, and the folks in this area certainly know that, and we’re just glad to be here to feel the positive energy,” Dr. Mackey said. “It feels like normal again seeing students, hearing students, and being around students, I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

In addition to celebrating Discovery being named the number one middle school, Eighth Grade math teacher Kelsey Cooper was named as a Milken Educator. An award often referred to as the ‘Oscars of Teaching’, she was awarded $25,000 for her excellence and innovation in education.