AISA to honor Poole

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2005

In less than two weeks a Greenvillian will join the ranks of the fifth class of inductees into the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) Hall of Fame.

Elisha Poole, life-long resident of Greenville and a self-described &uot;Christian, American, husband, father, lawyer and Republican&uot; is one of nine individuals being honored at the Annual AISA Hall of Fame Banquet slated for Monday, February 28 at 7 p.m. at the Embassy Suites at Montgomery.

They will join 37 other individuals inducted in the first four classes.

&uot;This is a great class with many years of contributions to AISA schools and organizations,&uot; AISA Executive Director Don Oswald says. &uot;There’s been a lot of sweat put in by these individuals. This is a good group. There’s a lot of lay people in there, too, which is good.&uot;

Poole has been called one of the &uot;unsung heroes&uot; who helped the Alabama Private School Association in its fledgling years. He was a key figure in the founding of both Fort Dale Academy and the AISA.

&uot;Mr. Poole was very instrumental in there even being a Fort Dale Academy, and we owe him a great deal for that,&uot; says FDA Headmaster David Brantley.

However, Poole himself is quick to point out he received &uot;a great deal of help along the way&uot;.

&uot;I certainly don’t take personal credit for all of this. Yes, I was there in the beginning and the early days, but many of us worked together to make things happen,&uot; he says.

Married to the former Juanita Cumbie of Dothan, the Pooles have two sons, Cleve and Calvin, both graduates of FDA.

Poole candidly admits his motives in working hard in the private school movement were &uot;selfish&uot;.

&uot;I had two bright sons and I wanted them to get a good basic education…I stayed on as long as they were in school, then stayed on a while afterwards.&uot;

Today, four of Poole’s grandchildren are currently attending Fort Dale: Evie, Edward, Conyers, and Coleman. (Oldest grandson Crenshaw, an FDA graduate, is a junior at Vanderbilt.)

A 1947 graduate of Greenville High School, Poole graduated first in his class from the University of Alabama’s School of Law in 1955, returning home to open his own law firm in the Camellia City.

Poole served in the military from 1951-58 in the Office of Special Investigations. In the mid-60s he was attorney for the City of Greenville and deeply and personally involved in maintaining order during the tumultuous days of the civil rights demonstrations.

In the late 1960s Poole became active in the private school movement and was the chairman of a group of founding members of Fort Dale Academy, which opened in 1969. He served for years as the AISA’s legal counsel at no cost to the association. He also served as FDA’s Chairman of the Board from 1969-1980.

The long-time AISA supporter was a member of the AISA state board from 1971-86 and served as chairman of the organization’s legal committee.

Poole is an Anglican who has actively participated in community affairs, serving as president of the Rotary Club and chairman of the United Fund.

He has also been active in local charities and politics, having served several years as Second District Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party.

&uot;Mr. Poole has meant a great deal to us and to the community through the years – we are so happy he is receiving this recognition,&uot; says Brantley.

Tickets to the banquet are $25 per person and are available through the FDA office through Friday, Feb. 18. For further information, contact the AISA offices at (334) 833-4080.