CFP recognized for 'making sensible decisions with dollars and cents'
TALLADEGA COUNTY — An administrator for Talladega County Schools bested eight Alabama administrators for the annual Robert L. Morton Award for making sensible decisions with dollars and cents.

Avery Embry, the chief school financial officer and director of finance for the county, received notification of his achievement during the Talladega County Board of Education meeting Tuesday.

The award, named after the former assistant superintendent of administration and finance for the Alabama State Department of Education and presented by the Alabama Association of School Business Officials, recognizes Embry as Alabama’s most outstanding chief school financial officer.

A Talladega County School System employee for 16 years, Embry oversees the financial affairs of the school system.

“I have a passion for what I do,” Embry said. “It’s very rewarding when you see what the children are accomplishing out in the schools and the things they’ve learned.”

Embry’s passion for finance blossomed in high school as a member of the Distributive Education Clubs of America, an organization that prepares students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

“We had district and state competitions our school participated in for DECA,” Embry said. “I participated in the finance and credit areas and won a competition. That started my interest in accounting. I also took the basic accounting courses that were offered in school.”

Embry carried that motivation to Jacksonville State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Business Administration degree.

Peers within the district selected him as the district winner in 2010, 2011 and 2012 — the third time proving to be the charm for Avery to take home some well-deserved acknowledgment.

“I’ve been working for Talladega County Schools for more than 30 years, and the work Mr. Embry does is second-to-none,” said Dr. Dan Payant, director of operations for Talladega County Schools. “He manages hundreds of millions of dollars and that’s something you don’t want just anybody doing. To have one of our administrators recognized for being the best there is in the state of Alabama at handling that kind of money is something to be said. We’re really proud of him.”

For winning the award, Avery didn’t just earn state-wide recognition. He also earned an opportunity to award a $1,000 scholarship in his name to a deserving high school senior within his district.

Embry said his family was “elated” when he told them about the award.

The award presentation takes place during the Association’s annual conference in May.

“My work doesn’t come with too many obstacles,” Embry said. “It’s a team effort here, and I have my staff to thank for helping make this possible.”

Contact Shane Dunaway at

© 2013