People of Etowah – Cindy McConnell


Name: Cindy McConnell

Where were you born and raised?

“I was born and raised right here in Etowah County. I grew up in Rainbow City and moved to Attalla when I got married.”

What is your occupation? 

“I am a RN and a teacher of Health Science at Etowah High School. I have been an RN for 40 years at Holy Name of Jesus Hospital/Riverview and a teacher for 24 years at Etowah High School.”

What made you decide to work in your field?

“For nursing, it was Divine Intervention! I had no clue what I wanted to do in high school, but decided I wanted a job that I could work and help people and always have job security and make some money to buy a car and move out of Gadsden to a big city. So God led me into nursing, which is a blessing. I worked at Holy Name after nursing school graduation. I worked there full time for 15 years and decided to expand my experience in Birmingham at UAB, which I worked there for three years full time and continued on  part time at Riverview. As my children grew, I knew I needed to be closer to home, and returned to Riverview full time.  I really wanted to work days and be home with the children in the afternoon because all three of my kids were involved in sports. One day at the baseball field, a friend walked up to and said, “Hey, they are starting a nurse program at Etowah and you need to go apply for that job.” I applied, got the job and started the health science program. I moved from Rainbow City to Attalla.”

Tell us about your family and pets. 

“I have been  married to the wonderful man of my dreams for 40 years in No-vember, Steve McConnell. We have three children: Jamie, who is married to Vid, with two boys and a girl; Tommy, who is married to Kim and they have one son; and Kathy, who is married to Phillip and they have three sons. So I am the very proud grandmother of six boys and one girl!”

Describe an average day in your life.

“During the week I teach school, so its get up get ready and go to school. I teach 9th – 12th grade daily,  and that is always an experience! I usually work Saturday nights at Riverview from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. in supervision. I want to maintain my nursing skills!”   

What school or schools have you attended?

“I graduated from Southside High School, went to nursing school at Holy Name of Jesus Hospital School of Nursing and Gadsden State. Then went to Auburn to complete my career and technical education degree.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Free time? Who has free time? I love being with my grandchildren, cooking and  love the beach!”     

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

“Anytime I have a child or grandchild that helps someone else, or a student that graduates and becomes a health care worker that understands that working with the sick has to come from the heart then that is an accomplishment. It’s not about me; it’s about “raising” good people who work hard, love God and our country. Who are productive. I have been blessed and want to use those blessings to the best of my ability.”

Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. Why?

“There were two, my mom and dad. Both worked at Goodyear Wearhouse and worked hard. They encouraged my brother and I to work hard and be good. They gave us rules to follow and showed us that hard work and dedication can pay off. They taught us to prioritize. They loved God, prayed, taught us values, had fun and loved us unconditionally.”

To what do you credit your success?

“It’s about others, not about me. When you work hard, learn from your mistakes, listen, learn something new every day and help someone achieve or feel better then you are productive.”

Are you involved in any service organizations? 

“I am involved in several Educational organizations. I am a member of AEA, an officer in the Professional Association of Attalla Ed-ucators, past president and present Secretary of the  Alabama Association of Career and Technical Education and sit on the National Association of Career and Technical Education Board as the Health Science Vice President. I have been active in my community in the past with the Attalla Roadrunners, Etowah baseball and football, Etowah High School cheer coach and many many many dance and prom sponsors!”

What is your favorite thing about this community?

“We are a family.” 

What would you like to see change in the community? 

“More parental involvement in students lives. We as teachers cannot do it all, and we need good role model parents to help education and change the climate of our community from “what is owed me” to “how can I  achieve and better my life to become a productive provider for myself and my family.” 

What are three words that describe you?

“Dedicated, nerd and enthusiastic.”

What is something surprising that many do not know about you? 

“I take pictures as a hobby and can decorate cakes!”

What is your favorite quote?

“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation and a pinch of creativity.”

What is on your bucket list?

“To go to Alaska on a cruise and train trip with my husband.”

What is your hidden talent? 

“Ummm…I can cook! I can play the piano and organ.”

If a movie were made about your life, who would you want to play you?

“There will be no movie of my life. But I sure did love Robin Williams and his movies!” 

What advice would you give yourself as a child?

“No matter what is thrown at you, you have to listen to your heart, do what is right, ignore those that down you and continue to work to achieve a goal. I tell my students – you have a goal and a path to lead you to that goal. The road may not be straight. It may have small easy curves and it may have steep mountains and sharp curves. But if you keep trying, and working through the curves and over the mountains, you can do anything you set your mind to in this day and age. Make your dreams come true. Also – just keep swimming!”

If you would like to nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, email or call 256-547-1049.

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