March 17, 2016
16-81

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Whitney N. Yarber, Communications Specialist

VSU Celebrates Inaugural Educators Hall of Fame Inductees

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University recently inducted 31 James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services alumni into its inaugural Educators Hall of Fame.

The VSU Educators Hall of Fame is located on the first floor of the Jerry and Kay Jennett Lecture Hall and is open to the public.

“It is indeed a pleasure for me to offer congratulations on behalf of the entire university community to this first class of inductees into the Valdosta State University Educators Hall of Fame,” said Dr. Cecil P. Staton, interim president of VSU. “Educators play an enormously important role in our society. They are charged with the awesome responsibility of providing a foundation for the success of future generations.

“Each member of the inaugural class of inductees into the VSU Educators Hall of Fame is a remarkable example of dedication to a cause larger than one’s self. Their success in the field of education reflects well on their personal commitment to the profession, and we believe that Valdosta State University and the Dewar College of Education and Human Services have contributed in a significant way to their success.”

The inaugural class is comprised of VSU alumni and friends who either earned Georgia Teacher of the Year honors or were a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year. The inductees are:

Tommie Howell has worked in the field of education for 36 years, more recently as the principal of Bainbridge High School.

Howell earned an Education Specialist in secondary science from VSU’s Dewar College of Education and Human Services in 1986.

He was a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist in 1990.

His other honors include STAR Teacher in 1987, 1989, and 1993, as well as Bainbridge High School Teacher of the Year and Decatur County Teacher of the Year in 1990.

John McRae retired in 2011 from the field of education after 40 years of service. He last served as a part-time instructor at Albany State University and as an assistant professor at Bainbridge College.

McRae earned a Bachelor of Science in 1971, a Master of Education in 1975, and an Education Specialist in 1983, all from Valdosta State University.

He was Georgia Teacher of the Year in 1978.

His other honors include Sallas Mahone Elementary School Teacher of the Year and Valdosta City Schools Teacher of the Year in 1978, and one of 147 high-performing principal’s in Georgia in 2006.

Jan Baldree Godwin retired in 2012 from the field of education after 40 years of service. She was a high school science teacher for 30 years, and then served as a science and school improvement specialist for the Coastal Plains Regional Educational Service Agency for 10 years.

Godwin earned a Bachelor of Science in broad field science education in 1972, a Master of Education in biology education in 1977, and an Education Specialist in broad field science in 1990, all from Valdosta State University.

She was a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist in 1989 and 2001.

Her other honors include the following: Cook High School and Cook County Schools Teacher of the Year during the 1988-1989 and 2000-2001 academic years; Atlanta Journal-Constitution Honor Teacher Award and Nike’s Jordan Fundamentals Grant in 2000; the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards Adolescent and Young Adulthood Science Certificate in 1999; Cook High School STAR Teacher in 1983, 1985, and 1996; the Sigma Xi Outstanding Science Teacher Award and Tandy Technology Scholars Outstanding Science Teacher Award in 1996; VSU Outstanding Education Specialist Student in 1990; Georgia Power Outstanding Science Teacher in 1989; Advanced Technology Development Center Outstanding Science Teacher in 1988; Cook High School yearbook dedication in 1987; Who’s Who in Georgia in 1972; Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers; Valdosta Rotary Club Award for highest cumulative GPA in the graduating class of VSU in 1972; VSU freshman physics award during the 1969-1970 academic year; and valedictorian of the Cook High School Class of 1968.

Sharon Tuttle Dickert has worked in the field of education for 34 years, more recently as a sixth grade science teacher at Lowndes Middle School.

Dickert earned a Teacher Support Specialist Certificate from Valdosta State University in 2000.

She was a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist in 2005.

Her other honors include Lowndes Middle School Teacher of the Year in 1995 and 2004 and Lowndes County School System Teacher of the Year in 2004.

Ivy K. Smith has worked in the field of education for 15 years, more recently as the principal of Pine Grove Middle School.

Smith earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in middle grades education in 2000, a Master of Education in middle grades education in 2005, and an Education Specialist in educational leadership in 2009, all from VSU’s Dewar College of Education and Human Services.

She was a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist in 2012.

Her other honors include Pine Grove Middle School Teacher of the Year and Lowndes County Schools Teacher of the Year for the 2010-2011 academic year. She was selected to participate in the Lowndes County Schools Aspiring Leaders Program in 2006 and the State Superintendent of School’s Advisory Board in 2012.

Nancy Rogers has worked in the field of education for 16 years, more recently as an English and language arts teacher at Thomas County Middle School. She is certified to teach English to speakers of other languages and gifted students.

Rogers earned a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1997, as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching in secondary education English in 2007, both from Valdosta State University.

She was a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist in 2012.

Her other honors include the following: Thomas County Central High School STAR Teacher in 2014; Thomas County Schools Teacher of the Year and Thomas County STAR Teacher in 2010; Westwood School and Mitchell County STAR Teacher in 2008; and the VSU Department of Middle Grades, Secondary, Reading, and Deaf Education’s Most Outstanding Student Award in 2007.

Sheri Britt Dorsett has worked in the field of education for more than 17 years, more recently as the drama director at Lowndes High School. She is certified to teach secondary English and English literature to gifted and advanced placement students.

The daughter of Bud and Sharon Britt of Lake City, Dorsett earned a Master of Education in accomplished teaching in 2011 and an Education Specialist in curriculum and instruction in 2013, both from VSU’s Dewar College of Education and Human Services.

She was a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist in 2006.

Her other honors include the following: Georgia High Progress Reward School for the 2011-2012 and the 2012-2013 academic years; College Board Advanced Placement English Literature Institute in 2010; VSU Blackwater Writing Project fellow in 2007; Georgia State Teacher Advisory councilwoman in 2006; and Ben Hill County Schools and Fitzgerald High School Teacher of the Year in 2005.

Gwen Desselle retired in 2012 from the field of education after 35 years of service. She currently works as a representative in Southwest Georgia for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators where she lobbies with state legislators on issues pertaining to education and assists members who have professional concerns.

Desselle earned a Bachelor of Arts in history in 1976, a Master of Arts in history in 1977, and an Education Specialist in secondary education in 2004, all from VSU’s Dewar College of Education and Human Services.

She was Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2010.

Emily Wall retired in 2013 from the field of education after 25 years of service. She was a classroom teacher in Brooks County and Colquitt County schools, as well as an instructional coach for the Georgia Department of Education. She currently works as a church musician and an accompanist for a high school choir.

Wall earned a Bachelor of Music in music education and a Master of Education in early childhood education, both from Valdosta State University.

She was a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist in 2000 and 2006.

Her other honors include the following: Brooks County School System Teacher of the Year in 1992 and 2000, and Brooks County High School STAR Teacher and Colquitt County School System Teacher of the Year in 2006.

Jane Wilson Butler retired from the Sumter County School System in 2011 after 39 years of service. She last worked as a long-term substitute teacher at Crisp County High School.

Butler earned an Education Specialist in curriculum and instruction from VSU’s Dewar College of Education and Human Services in 2001.

She was a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2006.

Her other honors include the Golden Apple Award in 1996 and 2010 and the Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics Gladys M. Thompson Award nomination.

Melissa Roland has worked in the field of education for 23 years, more recently as a professional learning coordinator for the Chattahoochee-Flint Regional Educational Service Agency.

Roland earned a Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction from VSU’s Dewar College of Education and Human Services in 2002.

She was a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2002.

Her other honors include Sarah Cobb Elementary School Teacher of the Year in 2000 and Sumter County Teacher of the Year in 2001.

Michelle Bruner Peace has worked in the field of education for 10 years, more recently as a Spanish teacher for Clay County Schools and an adjunct professor of Spanish at Troy University in Dothan, Ala.

In 2008, Peace earned an English to speakers of other languages certificate from Valdosta State University, where she also completed a study abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico.

She was a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist in 2015.

Her other honors include American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese Georgia Spanish Teacher of the Year, as well as Early County High School and Early County School System Teacher of the Year in 2013.

Peace was nominated for the Foreign Language Association of Georgia Southern Conference on Language Teaching World Languages Teacher of the Year in 2014 and was also voted as president-elect of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese for the state of Georgia. Her two-year term began Jan. 1.

Charles Taylor retired in 2015 from the field of education after 37 years of service. He last worked at Ombudsman Educational Services in Baxley.

Taylor earned an Educational Specialist in middle grades education from Valdosta State University in 1989.

He was a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2002.

Amanda Miliner has worked in the field of education for seven years, more recently as a third grade teacher in the Houston County School System. Prior to teaching, she worked for the Georgia Association of Educators.

Miliner earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in early childhood education from VSU’s James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services in 2006.

She was Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2015.

Her other honors include the following: Miller Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2013; Houston County Teacher of the Year in 2014; the Governor’s Office Innovation in Teaching Award in 2015; and the National Education Association California Casualty Teaching Excellence Award in 2015.

Betty Jordan Phillips retired in 1987 from the field of education after 24 years of service. She last worked as an adjunct professor of American history at Northern Virginia Community College in Manassas, Va., in 1988.

Phillips attended Georgia State Womans College, currently known as Valdosta State University, from 1944 to 1946.

She was Georgia Teacher of the Year in 1975.

Her other honors include the following: STAR Teacher in 1965, 1967, 1970, 1975, 1977, and 1983; the Thomas Jefferson Award for Community Service; the Middle Georgia Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award; the 750 Award for Service by WSB Radio in Atlanta; the Heart of Georgia Council on Child Abuse’s Child Abuse Premier Service Award; and the Warner Robins Business and Professional Women’s Club’s Woman of Achievement Award.

Vallye Blanton has worked in the field of education for more than 40 years, more recently as the dean of the faculty and a teacher of American Studies at Valwood School for nine years.

Blanton earned a Master of Education from Valdosta State University in 1977.

She was Georgia Teacher of the Year in 1994.

Her other honors include the following: Milken National Educator in 1994, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching in 1999, the Christa McAuliffe Fellowship and VSU Distinguished Alumna in 2000, the Milken Festival of Youth Grant and the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards Certificate in 2002, and the Georgia State Daughters of the American Revolution History Teacher of the Year in 2012.

Emma Maughon Stevens retired in 1981 from the field of education after 40 years of service. She last worked as a kindergarten teacher in the Lowndes County School system.

Stevens earned a Master of Education from Valdosta State University 1974 and was named Distinguished Alumna of the Year in 1985.

She was Georgia Teacher of the Year and a National Teacher of the Year finalist in 1980.

Throughout her career, Stevens earned a number of grants and scholarships from the Georgia Department of Education, as well as the Fulbright Grant to study abroad in India.

She was also a member of the Georgia Department of Education’s Teacher Advisory Council and was responsible for the development of a pilot preschool migrant program for the Valdosta City School System and the Stevens School for the Five Year Old, a private kindergarten for preschool aged children.

Laura Gerlach, a 1996 graduate of Lowndes High School, has worked in the field of education for 15 years, more recently as an advisor and dean at Furlow Charter School in Sumter County where she oversees the fourth and fifth grade team.

Gerlach earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from VSU’s Dewar College of Education and Human Services in 2000.

She was a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2011.

Her other honors include the following: Sumter County Elementary School Teacher of the Year for the 2009-2010 academic year; Sumter County Schools District Teacher of the Year for the 2010-2011 academic year; Georgia Master Teacher Certificate in 2010; the Golden Apple Award in 2011; and Georgia Odyssey of the Mind Coaches Hall of Fame recognition in 2015.

Krista Pearson has worked in the field of education for 23 years, more recently as an assistant principal at Lowndes High School, where she oversees curriculum and instruction.

Pearson earned a Bachelor of Science in secondary education in 1992, a Master of Education in secondary education in 1998, and an Education Specialist in educational leadership in 2012, all from VSU’s Dewar College of Education and Human Services.

She was a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2010.

Her other honors include Lowndes High School Teacher of the Year in 2005 and 2008 and Lowndes County Schools Teacher of the Year in 2009.

Rosetta Coyne retired in 2012 from the field of education after 27 years of service. She last worked as an English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) teacher for the Brooks County School System.

Coyne earned an English to speakers of other languages endorsement for grades kindergarten through 12 in 1995 and a Master of Education in middle grades education in 2000, both from Valdosta State University.

She was a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist in 1995.

Her other honors include the following: Brooks County School System Teacher of the Year in 1994; the Valdosta State Reading Council of the Georgia Reading Association’s Reading Teacher of the Year in 1996; and the VSU Department of Middle Grades, Secondary, Reading, and Deaf Education’s Distinguished Honor Graduate in 2000.

Coyne also earned the Fulbright Fellowship for a semester study abroad to Belize in 1994; the Dewitt Wallace Fellowship for a semester study abroad to Alaska in 2002; the Writing Project of Georgia scholarship in 2000; and a scholarship stipend to assist a VSU study abroad group taking ESOL endorsement classes in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2005. In 2006, she received the Annenberg Fellowship for a semester study, where she earned a Master of Arts in English arts from The Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Jane Bonner retired in 2004 from the field of education after more than 40 years of service. She last worked as a classroom teacher at Saint John Catholic School in Valdosta.

Bonner earned a Bachelor of Education in early childhood education from Valdosta State University in 1953.

She was a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist in 1982.

Her other honors include the following: Valdosta City Schools Teacher of the Year during the 1981-1982 academic year; a Georgia Association of Educators Teacher Hall of Fame inductee in 1984; and a three-time Georgia State Instructional Fair winner in 1979, 1980, and 1981.

Bonner also served as a secretary, building representative, committee member, and delegate to state conventions for the Valdosta Association of Educators. In 1983, she was selected to work with Turner Broadcasting System Inc. to raise funds for a curriculum-based film.

Bill Haskin has worked in the field of education for 14 years, more recently as the principal of Lowndes Middle School.

Haskin earned a Bachelor of Science in middle grades education in 2002 and a Master of Education in educational leadership in 2009, both from VSU’s Dewar College of Education and Human Services.

He was a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2007.

His other honors include Lowndes County Schools Teacher of the Year for the 2006-2007 academic year, Outstanding Student Teacher of the Year, and the Valdosta State University Annie Powe Hopper Award.

April Ward has worked in the field of education for 21 years, more recently as an academic coach at Sallas Mahone Elementary School.

The daughter of Bob and Kay Stewart, Ward earned a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education in 1994 and a Master of Education in early childhood education in 1995, both from VSU’s Dewar College of Education and Human Services. She is currently pursuing an Education Specialist in educational leadership.

She was a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year in 1999 after teaching for only five years.

Her other honors include Sallas Mahone Elementary School Teacher of the Year and Valdosta City Schools Teacher of the Year.

Elaine Teffeteller retired in 1990 from the field of education after 29 years of service. She last worked as a teacher at S.L. Mason Elementary School.

She is the wife of Gordon Teffeteller, who served as an associate professor from 1969 to 1974 and department head from 1974 to 1993 in the Department of History at Valdosta State University.

She was a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year in 1985.

Her other honors include S.L. Mason Elementary School and Valdosta City Schools System Teacher of the Year during the 1984-1985 academic year.

Kaye Meadows retired in 2008 from S. L. Mason Elementary School after 35 years of service.

Meadows earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1969 and a Master of Education in 1978, both from VSU’s Dewar College of Education and Human Services.

She was a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year in 1987.

Her other honors include S. L. Mason Elementary School and Valdosta City School System Teacher of the Year in 1987 and the Susan Golden Award.

Janeen Curl Josey retired in 2007 from the field of education after 41 years of service.

An educator of 38 years, Josey first joined the Valdosta City School System as a business education teacher. While still in the classroom in 1989, her drive toward creating success among others led her to become the school system’s first public relations director, where she continued to serve for 18 years. During that time, her work and innovation led to one of the system’s strongest ongoing partnerships, the Community Partners in Education Program.

Josey was a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist in 1984.

Her other honors include Valdosta High School and Valdosta City Schools Teacher of the Year in 1984.

In 2013, Josey, 67, passed away after a courageous 13-year battle with breast cancer.

Cheryl Rice has worked in the field of education for 22 years, more recently as a behavioral intervention specialist for the Valdosta City School System.

Rice earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in early childhood education in 1992, a Preschool Special Education Certificate in 1995, a Master of Education in early childhood education in 1996, a Teacher Support Specialist Certificate in 2001, an Education Specialist in early childhood education in 2002, and an Education Leadership Certificate in 2015, all from VSU’s Dewar College of Education and Human Services.

She was a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2005.

Her other honors include the following: Outstanding Parent Advisor for the Georgia Public Information Network for Electronic Services in 2013; Valdosta City Schools and S. L. Mason Elementary School Teacher of the Year for the 2003-2004 academic year; the VSU Department of Early Childhood Education’s Manelle Jeter Scholarship Award in 2002; VSU Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year in 1997; and the Early Childhood Exceptional Needs National Board Teacher Certificate in 2002.

J. Norman Greene retired in 2003 from the field of education after 35 years of service. He last worked as a marketing education teacher at Valdosta High School.

Greene earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Valdosta State University’s Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration in 1963.

He was a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year in 1979.

His other honors include the following: Valdosta City Schools Teacher of the Year in 1979; Marketing Education Teacher of the Year in 1980 and 2000; Georgia DECA Hall of Fame induction in 1999; and Outstanding Service to Marketing Education and the Georgia DECA Award in 2003.

Vickie Jones Burt retired in 2002 from Valdosta City Schools after 30 years of service as a classroom teacher and direct administrator. For 14 years, she has continued her service in the field of education as a state and national education consultant, author, and speaker. She is also an administrative volunteer at Lighthouse Christian Ministry and is writing a series of children’s books based on her childhood in Cairo.

Burt earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in elementary education in 1972, a Master of Education in early childhood education in 1981, and an Education Specialist in educational administration and supervision in 1983, all from VSU’s Dewar College of Education and Human Services.

She was a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist in 1979.

Her other honors include Sallas Mahone Elementary School Teacher of the Year in 1973 and 1979, Valdosta City Schools Teacher of the Year in 1979, a Communities in Schools of Georgia Outstanding Administrator Finalist in 1996, the Georgia School Public Relations Association Gold Award of Excellence, the Georgia Department of Education Learn and Serve Diamond Award of Excellence, and the Presidential Lifetime Gold Award of Service.

Burt also received honorary awards for initiating the International Service Learning Exchange between Valdosta City Schools and Colne Community School in England. She is the author of “Digging for Buried Treasure” and “PASSport to Success” and is currently completing the third of 12 Granny B character training series publications for children.

Ruth Kimball Council retired in 1987 from the field of education after 30 years of service. She last worked as the principal of Lomax-Pinevale Elementary School.

Council earned a Master of Education in early childhood education from Valdosta State University in 1973.

She was a Georgia Teacher of the Year finalist in 1973.

Her other honors include the following: Valdosta City School System Teacher of the Year during the 1972-1973 academic year; the City of Valdosta Outstanding Educator in 1968; and a Governor’s Honors Program featured speaker in 1973. In 1974, Council became the first African American member of the Valdosta City Council. She was re-elected for a four-year term in 1976 and served as mayor pro-tem in 1980.

Council has also served as a member of various programs throughout the state of Georgia, including the VSU Minority Advisement Committee, the Georgia Department of Education Textbook Recommendation Program, the American Association of University Women, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Retired Teachers Association, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee, Leadership Georgia, Leadership Lowndes, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, and the Georgia State Crime Commission.

Council and her husband, Ralph, have been married since 1957. Together, they have two daughters and one granddaughter. She is a lifelong member of the Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, where she serves as a steward.

Jeanine Wetherington has worked in the field of education for 34 years, more recently as a grades kindergarten through five science teacher with the Colquitt County Gifted Education with Academic Rigor Program.

Wetherington earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in early childhood education in 1982, a Master of Education in early childhood education in 1986, and an Education Specialist in early childhood education and a gifted endorsement in 2005, all from VSU’s James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services.

She was a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2014.

Her other honors include Colquitt County Schools Teacher of the Year in 2014 and 1992 and Cook County Schools Teacher of the Year in 1983.

Contact the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services at (229) 333-5925.

On the Web:

http://www.valdosta.edu/colleges/education/


Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities.

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals:

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.

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