Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa and the Girl, Glow Up Leadership and Mentoring Nonprofit Organization are celebrating Women’s History Month by honoring the Phenomenal Women of West Alabama.

92.9 WTUG, Praise 93.3, 95.3 The Bear, ME-TV 97.5, Catfish 100.1, Tide 100.9, ALT 101.7, 105.1 The Block and our free digital news outlet the Tuscaloosa Thread is excited to recognize the empowered women of  Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, and Walker counties.

Irene I. Byrd is a Phenomenal Woman of West Alabama

Mrs. Irene I. Byrd lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and graduated from the University of Alabama in 1971 with an education major in English and a minor in history.  Byrd later received a master’s degree in Secondary Education (1976) and another master’s degree (“A” Certification in Administration and Educational Leadership-1989).  She is a widow with two children and four grandchildren.  She is the Charter Principal (2002) of the first middle school constructed in Brookwood in Tuscaloosa County, AL.  Before that, she served as the Assistant Principal at Brookwood High School (1995-2002). She received the Alabama Assistant Principal of the Year for the State of Alabama in 1999 while at Brookwood High School.  She retired in 2007 after spending thirty-seven years in education. Mrs. Byrd is presently employed as a part-time Ready-to-Work Trainer in the Department of Training for Business and Industry in Workforce Development at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, AL.  She also serves in a supervisory capacity for the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa for the Office of Clinical Experiences.

Byrd serves her church and community in numerous capacities. She is a Trustee and a member of the Church’s Board of Directors of the Saint John Missionary Baptist Church; she also serves as a Church School Teacher. She is an active member of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and National Education Associations. From 2015 to 2018, she served her neighborhood as the President of the Morayshire, Devendale, and Country Club Estates Community (HOA). As an appointee of the Tuscaloosa City Council, Mrs. Byrd served the Zoning Board of Authority (2016-2019). She spends a portion of her time as an administrative intern for the Tuscaloosa County School System. She was honored in February 2022 with a “Living Legend Award’ by Shelton State Community College and the Men’s Basketball Team.

Byrd has been an active member of the Eta Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated for 44 years. In 2014, she published a book upon the Fifty-Year Anniversary of the Chapter entitled: “Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Timeless Service in West Alabama: The Golden Legacy of Eta Xi Omega Chapter.”

She serves as an International Member and as Regional Historian for Alpha Kappa Alpha’s South Eastern Region—Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. She, presently, chairs a team of writers who have produced a 100-year history book draft in readiness publication for the South Eastern Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Byrd was celebrated by AKA as an Unforgettable Unsung Soror of the Civil Rights Movement (for her role in the June 9, 1964, Bloody Tuesday, March in Tuscaloosa, AL). In 1986, she and other church committee members memorialized the Civil Rights struggle in a history book entitled, The History of the First African Baptist Church - 1866-1986 (the Church at the center of the movement in Tuscaloosa under the leadership of civil rights activist, Rev. T. Y. Rogers, Jr.).

She often does public speaking in the community to highlight her role as a 16-year old in the tragic event. Her desire is to one day bring that horrendous day to the world stage.

“I believe the next steps for women in general, especially in Alabama, are five-fold. They need to step up, speak up, stay alert, stay informed, and stay focused; they need to rely on their power because if they do not, they just may be hit by the many injustices of the world on any given day.”

West Alabama is a thriving area of the Yellowhammer State with women creating history at every step. If you know of a woman that deserved to be highlighted for her accomplishments please email

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