Each year, as many as four exemplary educators or education supporters may be inducted into the prestigious College of Education Hall of Fame sponsored by the College of Education’s Board of Advisors at The University of Alabama. The inductees are chosen because of their contributions to the education profession through a rigorous process after having been nominated by their peers who are current donors to the College of Education.
Founded in 2012, by the College of Education Board of Advisors of The University of Alabama, the Educator Hall of Fame honors the accomplishments of distinguished leaders in the field of education or dedicated supporters of education.
Deadline for submitting nominations is October 1, 2021. When the nominations are received, they will be compiled and directed to the Hall of Fame Committee appointed by the Board of Advisors Chair. The Committee will review the nominations based on criteria for selection in each category and will forward their recommendations to the College of Education Board of Advisors for review and final decision. All nominations will be considered for a period of three years.
Please send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Box 870231, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. (Attn: Rebecca Ballard).
If you have additional questions, please email email@example.com.
Mary Ann and James Blackmon (2019)
The commitment to the Tuscaloosa community by Mary Ann and the late James Blackmon, Jr. has been long and enduring. Both educators, they brought strength and dedication to their practices that translated into students who would go on to make their own marks in the world.
Mary Ann Blackmon has been described as a strong, talented woman and a naturally-gifted instructor with a stern and no-nonsense demeanor who had a genuine love and concern for her students.
She taught elementary education for 25 years in the Tuscaloosa City Schools. Initially, she taught in Stillman Heights Elementary School, a Title I school. She was then transferred Skyland Elementary School as the first African American teacher at the school. Her excellent teaching and leadership skills at Skyland empowered her to head many educational leadership roles over her career including the mentoring and development of young teachers.
In addition to teaching, she was the owner/operator of Mrs. B’s Music Studio where she provided free piano lessons to hundreds of students ages 5-18 for over 50 years with two pianos and one organ in an upstairs studio above her husband’s barbershop.
She was inducted into the Jacksonville State Teacher Hall of Fame in 1983, was named Educator of the Year by the Christian Study Center of Alabama in 1984, and was awarded the Outstanding Service in Music Ministry Award
from Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church as well as from the Tabernacle A.M.E. Zion Church Choirs of Tuscaloosa and the Outstanding Citizenship Award in 2017 by the Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
She served as the coordinator/instructor of the 1st Thessalonians 5:17 Prayer and Bible Group for 38 years. She was also a key organizer of the first Volunteer Association at DCH Regional Medical Center, a volunteer musician and religious instructor at nursing/healthcare facilities for over ten years, a volunteer music ministry at the VA Medical Center, and a teacher/mentor at First Baptist Church.
The late James Blackmon, Jr. was a business teacher in the Tuscaloosa County School System and then a full-time instructor at C.A. Fredd Trade School/Technical College.
Mr. Blackmon recognized the need to provide a barbering/cosmetology school for African Americans in Tuscaloosa in the 1960s. He opened the first private barbering school in 1964. He was then hired as a full-time barbering instructor at C.A. Fredd Trade School/Technical College. During his tenure there, he and his students competed and won several barbering/cosmetology accolades. He kept check on all of his students after they graduated well beyond the mandated five years. His students looked to him as an educator, businessman, role model, and father figure.
Mr. Blackmon was also the owner of Blackmon’s Barber Style Salon for more than 50 years. He was also a link in the community, especially for social justice activists, youths, and fledging black-owned businesses in Tuscaloosa for over 65 years. He also befriended and helped freedom fighters such as UA student James Hood, one of the first African American students to enroll at UA during the 1960s.
Mr. Blackmon was named Educator of the Year in 1984 by the Alabama Education Association. He was also recognized as the Tuscaloosa Family of the Year and National Family of the Year in 1986 by the National Association of Colored Women’s Club, Inc. The city of Tuscaloosa named him Outstanding Role Model in 2017. During the first Juneteenth Celebration (a festival held on the 19th of June by African Americans to commemorate emancipation from slavery) in Tuscaloosa in 2017, Blackmon was one of two individuals who received an “Unsung Hero” Award.
Mary Ann and James have been avid fans of Shelton State, Stillman College, and The University of Alabama. As a couple, they attended UA football and basketball games since 1977.
Dr. Harold L. Bishop (2012)
Dr. Harold Bishop, late professor of educational administration in the department of educational leadership, policy and technology studies, was one of the first African-American faculty members at The University of Alabama. He was affiliated with the College of Education from 1974 to his death in 2005. Bishop also provided guidance to nearly 100 school systems across the state of Alabama in his lifetime. He served as co-principal Investigator of the Alabama Superintendents’ Academy, an organization that provides leadership training to aspiring school superintendents in Alabama. Bishop also served as the director of Tuscaloosa City Schools Leadership Program, implemented to prepare current and future teachers to be leaders in the evolving field of education. In 2005, the alumni association of the College of Education awarded Bishop and his family the 2005-2006 Academic Excellence Award, as well as a donation to the Harold L. Bishop Scholarship Fund. Friends, students and colleagues of Bishop said his long-time commitment and love for teaching, research and service was unquestioned and will always be remembered.
Marcia Burke (2020)
Dr. Marcia Burke has dedicated her life to improving the lives of Alabama children through education for the past 48 years. Dr. Burke started her career as an elementary teacher for Pike County Schools. This was followed by 15 years of teaching in the Tuscaloosa City School system where she taught gifted education, social studies, computer education, and English. While teaching, Dr. Burke continued her journey of lifelong education by earning multiple degrees and certificates from UA. The additional degrees and certificates opened the door for Dr. Burke to serve in leadership roles in both Tuscaloosa County and Tuscaloosa City Schools. Her positions included Principal, Alberta Elementary; Principal; Crestmont Elementary, Assistant Superintendent, Tuscaloosa County Schools; and Assistant Superintendent, Tuscaloosa City Schools.
After 34 years devoted to K-12 education, Dr. Burke retired to work as a consultant for Burke Enterprises, LLC where she assists systems with policy development, strategic planning, employee evaluation and HR services, professional development for faculty and staff, and grant evaluation and technical assistance. Dr. Burke’s clients include more than 64 Alabama school systems, The University of Alabama, the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, and the Alabama Department of Commerce. Dr. Burke is a highly sought after in-service trainer and speaker. Organizations she has worked with include the Alabama Association of School Boards, Alabama Council of Leadership Development, Alabama State Department of Education, East Alabama Regional Inservice Center, Tuscaloosa Public Library, The University of Alabama College of Education, Council of Leaders of Alabama Schools, and numerous schools, local, state, and regional civic clubs, churches, and community groups.
Dr. Edward Henry Cleino (2015)
As chair of Music Education at UA from 1949-1979, Cleino expanded the undergraduate program, began both the masters and doctoral programs, personally advised music education majors, and led his department to national recognition.
Cleino was named professor emeritus at UA in 1980. In recognition of his contributions, he was presented with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 2004.
As a pioneer in the use of television to expand music education in Alabama, Cleino, who died in April 2015, created “Music Time,” which he wrote, produced and personally delivered from 1956 to 1972. Students from Verner Elementary School served as his studio class. By providing music lessons through this innovative method to thousands of children for 17 years, Cleino received the Alabama Educational Television Network Service Award in 1973.
During World War II, Cleino served in the Army, where he reached the rank of captain and earned the Bronze Star.
Cleino was married to Dr. Elizabeth Cleino, known informally as Bettie Anne, for 72 years. Cleino’s daughter, Anne Witt, a music instructor at UA, is founder of Strings in Schools.
“We are very proud of Dad’s recognition,” Witt said. “He inspired us in so many ways. Dad’s unwavering Christian faith was the foundation for his life, and his integrity was evident to all who knew him. His innovative professional philosophy was a great model for us. We often heard ‘look around and see what you can do to help. How can you make things better?’ His influence will continue to live on through us children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
Adolph Crew (2016)
The late Dr. Adolph Brandon Crew was a professor of secondary social science education in the College of Education at The University of Alabama from 1958 until his retirement in 1987. Among many honors, he received the 1978 award for Outstanding Commitment to Teaching, given by the National Alumni Association of The University of Alabama. He dedicated his entire career to education encouraging students to extend learning beyond the classroom. He was an early adopter of experiential education and thus, he would take students to numerous locations – Tannehill Ironworks Historical Park, Bankhead National Forest, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, etc.— to experience innovative ways to educate students. He served as the head of many educational organizations, and he worked with students at Tannehill Park where he used the facility and associated history to have his students do historical research there by digging in the artifact-rich area to find examples of past life.
Paul Hubbert (2012)
Dr. Paul Hubbert, former executive secretary-treasurer of the Alabama Education Association, is one of the most prominent advocators for educational excellence and teacher benefits in the state of Alabama. Hubbert served as the executive secretary-treasurer of the Alabama Education Association from 1969 until his recent retirement in 2011. In 1969, he took on the challenge of merging the white teachers’ union with the black teachers’ union, which was under the direction of Joe Reed. Together, Hubbert and Reed transformed the organization from a professional club into a substantial political powerhouse. Their efforts with the Alabama Education Association had an inimitable influence on Alabama politics for more than 40 years. Hubbert built a strong network of political contacts throughout his 42-year term and has an exceptional knowledge of the Alabama Legislature. Before entering the political realm, however, Hubbert served as the superintendent of Troy school systems and held several educational positions in Tuscaloosa. Hubbert’s unique passion for the betterment of education is long lasting, and his legacy continues to inspire.
Autherine Lucy Foster (2016)
Autherine Lucy Foster was the first African-American student to attend The University of Alabama in 1956. On February 3, 1956, Lucy attended her first class as a graduate student in library science, becoming the first African American ever admitted to a white public school or university in Alabama. Campus riots broke out three days later, and the university removed Lucy for her own safety. Her expulsion was officially annulled in 1988. A year later, she again enrolled at the University, joining her daughter, Grazia Foster, who was also a student at the Capstone by that time. They graduated together in 1992 with Autherine earning a master’s degree in elementary education and Grazia earning a bachelor’s degree in corporate finance. The University named an endowed fellowship in her honor that year and dedicated the Autherine Lucy Clock Tower in 2010, honoring her as one of three individuals who pioneered desegregation at The University of Alabama.
Lee Freeman (2020)
With 40 years of experience in education, Freeman served in many roles at UA including program coordinator of elementary education, graduate faculty, instructor, and teacher-in-residence.
In the K-12 system, Dr. Freeman served as reading coach at Verner and Rock Quarry Elementary Schools in Tuscaloosa; curriculum coordinator and teacher at Rock Quarry Elementary School in Tuscaloosa; curriculum coordinator and multi-age grade teacher at Stafford Global Studies Center Magnet School in Tuscaloosa; teacher at Carrollton Elementary in Carrollton; teacher at Hambrick Junior High School in Houston, Texas; and teacher at Gordo Elementary School in Gordo.
Dr. Freeman does not stop teaching once our teachers have their own classrooms. Instead, he continues to mentor them, ensuring that teaching is at the cutting-edge of research. He has also published two articles and made three presentations about this program to share the research and practice with other universities who may want to emulate the great work at UA.
Dr. Ethel Hall (2016)
The late Dr. Ethel Hall was a devoted educator and is remembered as the first African American woman elected to the Alabama State Board of Education. She served 24 years, including 10 as the Board’s vice president. Her dedication and service to this Board earned her the honor of being named vice-president emeritus. She co-authored her challenges and contributions through the publication of the book, My Journey, describing her life. Additionally, she was employed by the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, the Hale County Training School, the Neighborhood Youth Corps and taught at Westfield High School, the University of Montevallo, and The University of Alabama. Her legacy of service touched countless organizations and associations including: The National Association of State Boards of Education; The Alabama Association of School Boards; Leadership Birmingham; Leadership Alabama; The American Alliance for Health; Physical Education; Recreation; and Dance; the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute; Rotary International; A+ Foundation and Partnership, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and she was named Outstanding Alumnus of Alabama A&M University. She impacted countless individuals and dedicated her life to educating and serving others.
John Cody Hall (2019)
Dr. John Cody Hall was the son of newspaper journalists, an Eagle Scout, a captain in the United States Army Rangers, and a veteran of the Vietnam War. Professionally, Dr. Hall was a biologist, a geologist, a researcher and author, an environmentalist, a living history actor, and a museum director. Most of all, throughout his career he was a teacher. As one friend said of him, “He learned every single thing he could, and then he explained it to the rest of us.” Over the years, the “rest of us” included children, high school and college students, professional peers, and friends. Dr. Hall had a gift for taking natural processes and ideas and explaining them in a way that any layman could understand. He preferred a hands-on method for teaching; to show, not tell. He would teach biology in the woods and streams of the state; and often along the highway as one traveled from place to place. Some of his best lessons were delivered using the flora and fauna at a roadside rest stop.
Dr. Hall designed the first summer expeditions in archaeology and paleontology through The University of Alabama’s Museum of Natural History. These expeditions were resident experiences for high school students and adults. On these “digs,” he taught high school students and often university researchers to view our world from past perspectives. These expeditions continue 40 years after he first planned and implemented the first excursion.
Thousands of students have participated and learned from Dr. Hall, and many have entered professional fields closely related to the content specific to the excavation experience or have benefited from the life lessons taught throughout the weeks of the expedition. Geology was one of Dr. Hall’s passions. He would gather students to study soil and rock formations and analyze their characteristics; not only from the pure science perspective but prompting students and adults to examine the effect the formation had on the past and current inhabitants of the land. Through all of these experiences, Dr. Hall used his creative story telling and entertaining descriptive language to cause us to ponder and to define our place –our Alabama.
In the later years of his life, Dr. Hall concentrated his efforts on educational outreach for children and adults in collaboration with state universities, the Bartram Trail Conference, Friends of Horseshoe Bend, the National Park Service, the Alabama Department of Archives and History, and many more agencies too numerous to mention. He was charged by the University of West Alabama to create and direct the operations of the Black Belt Museum in Livingston, Alabama. The museum features the arts, culture, and natural history of the Black Belt. He wrote natural history interpretive programs for the Alabama Historical Commission. Ever teaching, his living history presentations as William Bartram and a War of 1812 militiaman added personal dimension to historical expeditions throughout the state.
In addition, Dr. Hall wrote and spoke extensively about the naturalist’s perspective for Alabama history, its land, and its rivers. Two of his books related to the rivers of Alabama and to the long-leaf pine were recognized for awards by the Alabama Wildlife Federation, the Southeast Environmental Law Center, and the Southeastern Library Association. A lasting legacy for our state is the work done by Dr. Hall on the Department of Archives and History museum exhibit entitled, “Alabama Voices.” As thousands of tourists and Alabama school children visit the museum exhibit, his “teacher voice”and our state’s story will continue to be heard through his words and his personal narration of “The Story Begins with the Land.”
Dr. Hall is noted for his never ending passion for teaching and learning, for his creative methods and practices to define environments where learning thrives, for his collaborative efforts to bring many voices to the table to assure authentic and engaging learning opportunities, for his patience in administrative efforts that allowed established programs to thrive and for new ones to be formulated and finally, for his love of knowledge and love for “the land” that he inspired in others.
Shelley Jones (2015)
Jones taught in Tuscaloosa City Schools, where she served as a teacher at Northington Elementary for 14 years and a principal at Woodland Forrest for more than 20 years. She retired in 1995 before serving on the city school board for eight years.
Jones teaches a seminar in the UA Honors College and serves on the boards of DCH Foundation and the Community Foundation for West Alabama.
Jones was one of the first members of the College of Education’s Board of Advisors. She continues to serve on the board of the Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre, a program that was created when she was a principal at Woodland Forrest. Additionally, Jones is on the task force for the Alabama School Readiness Alliance to promote pre-K throughout the state.
Jones, who earned a master’s degree from UA, moved to Tuscaloosa in 1962 with her husband, Tom, a former UA law professor.
“I feel very fortunate about the progress that’s been made in Tuscaloosa,” Jones said. “It’s been amazing to see education grow here, and to still be a part of it and this community is truly rewarding.”
Jeanice Kirkland (2012)
Jeanice Kirkland earned her degree in elementary education from The University of Alabama in 1964 and received her Master’s in Education from Troy University in 1975. In 1991, Kirkland was the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Education Award given by the College of Education. Among many other significant leadership positions and honors, Kirkland was named one of the 31 most outstanding women at The University of Alabama as part of a centennial celebration of women being admitted to the University. She retired in 2009 after a long career in teaching with Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Andalusia public schools. Kirkland served as the national president of the University of Alabama Alumni Association, where she became only the second woman in history to be chosen as president. Her efforts brought one of the largest increases in scholarship funding for students in University history. Kirkland is also active in many other local and university service organizations. Kirkland possesses an endearing and inspirational desire to provide guidance and encouragement, whenever possible, to those in need.
Marian A. Loftin (2014)
Loftin’s dedication to the well-being of children and youth is apparent in her lifelong commitment to advocate for children and families at the local, state and national level.
Loftin grew up in Birmingham, the oldest of 6 girls, and attended The University of Alabama where she met and married her college sweetheart, Jim Loftin. She spent the first 20 years of their marriage as mother of four and classroom teacher, two “vocations” that she cherished. Her classroom experience and her teacher training made her realize family and community experiences determine the well-being of children throughout their lives.
When Loftin left the classroom, she was employed by The University of Alabama in external affairs in the Dothan Regional Office, then as assistant director of government relations in Tuscaloosa and Montgomery. She returned to Dothan as executive director of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce. When appointed by the governor to be director of the state of Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention/The Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama, she left the position at the Chamber.
Actively involved in child and family concerns, Loftin served on the founding board of the Alfred Saliba Family Services Center in Dothan, the first “one-stop” for human services in the state. Other counties stepped up to meet the needs of their communities using that model. There are now 13 Family Resource Centers located throughout the state in the Alabama Network of Family Resource Centers.
In 2004, Gov. Bob Riley appointed Loftin to his Task Force to Strengthen Alabama Families. At the state level, she serves on the boards of the Alabama Network of Family Resource Centers and the Children First Alliance of Alabama. She was the first recipient of the Alabama Child Champion Lifetime Achievement Award, which now bears her name.
In 2007, nominated by Riley, Loftin received the National Health and Human Services Commissioner’s Award for Outstanding Work in Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect in Alabama. She has been named Distinguished Alumna of The University of Alabama (1988), Outstanding Alumna, Troy University Dothan (1993) and Distinguished Alumna of John Carroll Class of 1954 (1999). She is also member of the Order of The XXXI and Women of the Capstone at The University of Alabama.
She and her husband earned the Henry and Julia Tutwiler Distinguished Service Award and the ODK Summercell Award from The University of Alabama.
Michael Malone (2020)
Dr. Michael E. “Mike” Malone is a former university president who served as executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE).
Under his leadership at ACHE, the state’s unified budget recommendation was passed with the support of a unified and united higher education community. His leadership gained national attention for the state through his appointment to the American College board of directors. As head of ACHE, Dr. Malone represented higher education as chair of the Alabama Humanities Foundation Board, a trustee on the Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Board, and as a member of the State Articulation and General Studies Committee.
His work history includes serving as president of Troy State University at Dothan and vice chancellor of the Troy State University System, as well as professor of educational leadership in Dothan from 1996-2002.
From 1989-1996, Malone served as the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, assistant professor of history and assistant professor of education leadership at Western Carolina University. He was director of admissions and assistant professor of educational leadership at Old Dominion University from 1981-1989. He served as the assistant dean of admission services, adjunct professor of behavioral studies, and lecturer in the College of Commerce and Business Administration at The University of Alabama from 1974-1981.
Dr. Jayne Meyer (2012)
Dr. Jayne Meyer earned her doctoral degree from The University of Alabama in 1970. She has taught at both high school and college levels in Illinois, Alabama and Oregon. Meyer worked at the Tuscaloosa County Schools central office for seven years, first in physical education and later in federal programs. She then moved on to work for the Alabama Department of Education. There, under contract through Montgomery County Schools, Meyer worked on the First-Year Teacher Pilot Program based at UAB. In 1975, she took a job with the Federal Programs Section of the State Department of Education. After five years, she transferred from Federal Programs to Teacher Education where she served as a Teacher Education Advisor. Meyer still holds this position, although her title has changed to director of the Office of Teaching and Leading. She has had the opportunity to work with six different State Department Superintendents while affiliated with the State Department of Education. She has also served on the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and has recently been asked to help guide its transition to the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Meyer has given some thought to retirement, but she says it does not seem as appealing as continuing to work in the exciting field of education.
Judy Merritt (2016)
The late Judy Miles Merritt, the daughter of educators, began attending The University of Alabama when she was just 16. She began her career in higher education as a counselor of admissions at then Jefferson State Junior College in 1965, the opening year of the college. She would later hold positions at Florida International University as vice-president of student affairs. She returned home to Alabama in 1979 to Jefferson State Junior College as president, where she served for 35 years. Her appointment by Gov. Fob James marked the first time a woman had been named president of a college in Alabama. When Merritt began her tenure at Jefferson State Community College, the College consisted of one campus located in the eastern area of Jefferson County. Through her vision and amazing ability to form partnerships, today JSCC has campuses in four counties furthering her dream of opening doors of higher education for all. Upon her retirement in June 2014, she remarked that while the dream for many has been achieved, the fight for pathways to education, equality, and inclusion continues.
Dr. Jane Moore (2018)
Moore graduated from Dozier High School in 1953 and received her Doctor of Education in physical education from UA in 1969.
Moore was a recipient in 2016 of The Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by the Auburn Alumni Association, for her contributions to education at Auburn and her advocacy of intercollegiate athletics at the school. Moore was the first woman to serve on the Auburn University Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics and has served on multiple athletics committees for men’s and women’s sports over the last 40-plus years.
In 2003, the field of the Auburn Softball Complex was named the “Jane B. Moore Field” to honor her long-time service to Auburn athletics.
Moore established the Kindergarten Motor Development Program in conjunction with the Auburn College of Education and Auburn City School System. This venture was a one-of-a-kind testing and remediation program for young children who were participating in their early motor skills and provided practical experience for Auburn University students enrolled in her classes.
“The College of Education notification of my induction into the Alabama Educator Hall of Fame prompted me to reflect on my doctoral studies in The College of Education,” Moore said. “There is no way to express in a few words the value of those years in the development of my career as an educator. This recognition by The University of Alabama and the College of Education is very meaningful to me and very deeply appreciated.
Dr. Joseph B. Morton (2014)
Dr. Joseph B. Morton was born July 20, 1946, in Birmingham. He grew up in Pleasant Grove and graduated from Hueytown High School. His first university experience was at Auburn University, where, in 1969, he earned his Bachelor of Science in secondary education. After graduating, Morton taught in the Jefferson County School District. In 1972 he decided to go back to school. As a graduate research assistant at The University of Alabama, he earned his master’s in 1973 and his doctorate in 1974, both in educational administration.
When Morton was only 27, he became the Sumter County Board of Education superintendent. He remained in this position for four years and then went on to become the superintendent for the Sylacauga City Board of Education. In 1995, Morton became the deputy state superintendent of education for the Instructional Services of Alabama Department of Education.
On July 13, 2004, Morton was selected by the Alabama State Board of Education to be Alabama’s 36th state superintendent of education. He served in this capacity for seven years. Prior to the appointment as state superintendent of education, he served for eight years as deputy state superintendent of education.
In these roles, Morton guided the creation and implementation of the Alabama Reading Initiative; the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative; the Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators, and Students Statewide (Distance Education) Initiative; and First Choice (a new graduation plan for Alabama’s students).
While Morton served as state superintendent of education, Alabama showed significant academic gains in reading and math assessment scores with Alabama’s fourth graders scoring at the national average on the National Assessment of Educational Progress for the first time in Alabama history. Alabama is considered a national leader in student nutrition during his superintendency. In 2008, Morton was given a national award by the State Educational Technology Directors Association: the “State Policymaker Award.” In 2010, Alabama had the largest gain in the nation in Advanced Placement enrollments and students scoring 3-5 on AP exams and had the third highest gain in the nation on increasing the high school graduation rate.
Morton retired as state superintendent of education on Sept, 1, 2011. On Feb. 1, 2012, Morton became the chairman and president of the Business Education Alliance of Alabama.
Sandra H. Ray (2018)
Ray is a native of Tuscaloosa County and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from UA in 1967.
Ray is a former elected member and president of the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education. In 1995, she was elected to serve on the Alabama State Board of Education to represent District 7, which included Tuscaloosa, and served for 14 years.
During her tenure on the Alabama State Board of Education, Alabama public schools have benefitted from the creation and implementation of the Alabama Reading Initiative and the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative, among other programs.
Ray has served on the UA President’s Community Advisory Council and the UA Teacher Education Council and is a founding member, past president, and current member of the UA College of Education Board of Advisors.
She was one of the first two women to become directors of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce and later served as vice president.
Melba Richardson (2019)
Melba Bolton Richardson grew up in Crestview, Florida, attending Okaloosa County Public Schools. A 1964 graduate of Crestview High School, she was a class and SGA officer, played first chair clarinet, was head majorette, and was voted most talented her senior year. She attended Huntingdon College before transferring to The University of Alabama, where she received her B.S. in Secondary Education English with a minor in history. She later received her M.Ed. and Certification in Administration from Auburn University, Montgomery, 1989 and 1997, respectively. Melba knew she wanted to be a teacher from the time she was twelve years old.
Melba began her teaching career at Tuscaloosa Junior High School, where she had also done her student teaching. When she and her husband, Bill, moved to East Tennessee, she taught at Maryville Junior High School, where she was named Teacher of the Year. She began her teaching career at Saint James School in Montgomery in 1983, teaching English and serving as department chair. She became middle school principal in 1989, transforming the middle school into a nationally acclaimed model. Melba served as Academic Dean in 1998 before becoming Head of School in 2008. During her tenure as Head, Saint James became the innovative educational model for the state and nation and earned the number one ranking of independent schools in Montgomery.
Melba has received numerous awards and honors through the years. She represented Alabama at The National Middle School Association Network and made presentations throughout the country on educational topics. She has worked tirelessly for both public and independent schools around the country, often providing inservice for faculty and staff. Melba was the only independent school representative the State Superintendent’s Advisory Board. She also represented Alabama at the Getty Museum opening in Los Angeles. She was the first independent school administrator to serve on the board of CLAS, the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools. She also served as President of The Alabama Association of Middle Level Administrators. Melba serves on UA’s College of Education Advisory Board and served as chair. She also serves on The Alabama Network of Family Resource Centers, and chairs The Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts. She also serves on Mary Ellen’s Hearth Board, a facility for homeless women. She was recently inducted into the prestigious Women of the Capstone. Melba was honored in 2015 by the Alabama Senate as well as the city of Montgomery with resolutions honoring her contributions to education. The Alabama Association of Independent Schools awarded her a Lifetime Leadership Award in 2015 and she was instrumental in the merger of AAIS and AISA. The Saint James Board of Directors created the Melba Richardson Leadership Award in 2015, given at graduation each year. The board also named The Melba Richardson Middle School in her honor for her dedicated service to Saint James and her contributions to middle level education throughout the country. In 2017, she was inducted into the AISA Hall of Fame.
Melba’s innovation became a hallmark of her leadership. She has never believed in status quo and always strived to the be the pacesetter for excellence. National recognition came to the school with their partnership with Selma City Schools through arts innovation. Melba still teaches administrators around the state how to implement the arts in their schools. She implemented the middle school concepts at Saint James and created the first true middle school in Montgomery. The middle school earned national recognition for their advisory program. She began the all-day pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs beginning with three year olds. Her impact in the high school was profound, creating 13 pre-college major electives for students. The school earned the Apple Distinguished Award for innovation in technology. She firmly believed professional development was the key for faculty to take the school to a higher level. She often sent them or traveled with them around the country to become skilled in their areas. Melba was instrumental in bringing the Nuts and Bolts Conference for Middle Level Education to Destin, Florida, so that more teachers from the South could attend. More importantly, however, was her ability to interact with students daily, attending their activities, sitting in class or lunch with them, or merely passing them in the halls for encouragement.
Melba serves in numerous volunteer and civic roles and is active at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. She spends her leisure time traveling, reading, writing, gardening, and sewing smocked and French hand sewn dresses. She also still marches as a majorette when her high school alumni band celebrates an anniversary every five years. She promotes kindness and has what she calls a “note writing ministry” to congratulate and encourage others. It is pure joy for her to keep up with her former students. Melba believes our children are this country’s greatest treasure and we have an obligation to properly educate them.
Dr. Marcus L. Roberts, Jr. (2014)
The late Dr. Marcus L. Roberts Jr. grew up in rural Etowah County on a small farm with parents who valued education. When he graduated from Altoona High School as valedictorian in 1944, he was told that Jacksonville State Teacher’s College was offering a scholarship to any valedictorian. He wanted to be a teacher since second grade, so he accepted the full scholarship of $25 per term.
Because he distinguished himself at JSU, he had three job offers upon graduation. His supervisor encouraged him to take the job at Tuscaloosa High School. In 1947, Roberts began his teaching career and touched many lives serving as the chair of the business education department and teaching business and typing until 1954.
One morning while teaching, an office runner interrupted his class with a phone call from John McLure, dean of the UA College of Education, who offered Roberts a job. In 1954, Roberts was appointed registrar and instructor in the College. As registrar, Roberts registered the first black student, Autherine Lucy, while an angry mob gathered outside Graves Hall in an attempt to prevent her from attending class. He served as acting head of curriculum and instruction (1972-1973, 1983) and as acting dean (1981 -1982). Roberts worked closely with the State Department of Education to enhance and strengthen teacher education. He served as assistant dean for Student Services and teacher certification officer until his retirement in 1987.
The honors bestowed on Roberts during his career included the Kappa Delta Pi Faculty Appreciation Award, Phi Delta Kappa Professional Educator of the Year Award, Alabama Association of Teacher Educators’ Distinguished Service Award, Penny Allen Award (UA), Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award (UA), the College of Education Society Outstanding Contribution to Education Award, the Alabama Association of Rehabilitation Facilities Community Service Award, and the National Retired Teachers Association of AARP National Retired Educator Award for the state of Alabama.
Dr. Barbara Starnes Rountree (2018)
Rountree, originally from Guntersville, joined the UA College of Education faculty in 1977. She served in a number of leadership roles before retiring with 25 years of service from the University as co-chair of the Multiple Abilities Program.
Rountree helped create and operate “Something Special,” a Tuscaloosa-area summer camp at the Alabama Museum of Natural History, for over 20 years. More than 5,000 children participated in the camp during that span. She also founded “Space Scientists,” a summer program for elementary students, that later served as the prototype for NASA’s Space Camp.
In 1985, Rountree worked with the community and teachers to create the Children’s Hands-On Museum. She served as director of the museum for two years before returning to teaching full-time in the College of Education.
“After Dean Roth sent me to the Smithsonian and the Children’s Museum of Boston, I came home and tried to find volunteers across the city,” Rountree said. “We began making prototypes. I spent a lot of time talking to city clubs, trying to raise money, meeting with people, trying to get different groups to sponsor exhibits. We had a lot of help from the Alabama Museum of Natural History and College of Education to launch CHOM.”
In 1993, Rountree founded Capitol School, currently an international school, in Tuscaloosa, where she has continued many of the camp programs she created while at UA.
Dr. N. Joyce Sellers (2014)
The late Nona Joyce Sellers was born in Oct. 5, 1949, in Holt. She graduated as valedictorian from Holt High School in 1968.
Sellers began her career in education in 1974 at Maxwell Elementary School as a reading teacher. Later that year, she became a classroom teacher at Hillcrest Junior and Senior High Schools. In 1982, she became the first female assistant principal in Tuscaloosa County at Tuscaloosa High School. In 1986, Sellers became principal of Holt High School. She remained there until 1990 when she became principal at Hillcrest High School. From Hillcrest, she went on to serve as the first female superintendent of the Tuscaloosa County School System from 1994 until her retirement in late 2003.
As superintendent, Sellers oversaw the expansion of Tuscaloosa schools with the construction of Tuscaloosa County High, Taylorville Primary, Brookwood Middle, Echols Middle, Davis-Emerson Middle, Northside High, Northside Middle, and numerous building additions and renovations. During this time, Sellers served as an adjunct professor at The University of Alabama, helping train and inspire future educational leaders. She established the Education Excellence Foundation in 1994, a non-profit organization to benefit education in Tuscaloosa County.
Sellers was also a source of leadership to much of Tuscaloosa County. She was a part of numerous organizations: Leadership Alabama, the Alabama Council of the National Beta Club, the XXXI Society at UA, and many others. She also assisted in the Tuscaloosa Public Library’s Strategic Plan and the Tuscaloosa County Vision Planning forums. In her dedication to the Tuscaloosa youth, Sellers served as curriculum chair for Forerunners sponsored by the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce. She also helped to create programs that combated drug abuse by young people through Task Force for Drug Free Schools, and the West Alabama Drug Conference.
Additionally, the Holt High School Library is named after her; she has received the Holt High School Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Holt High School Hall of Fame. She received the Kermit Johnson Outstanding Superintendent Award, the Tombigbee Girl Scout Council Women Committed to Excellence Award, the Soroptimist Woman of Distinction Award, the Mollie Allen Advocate for Children Award from the Tuscaloosa County council of PTAs, the Northport Citizen of the Year, the Truman Pierce Leadership Award, the Betsy Plank Distinguished Achievement Award, and she was named one of the pillars of West Alabama by the Community Foundation of West Alabama. The N. Joyce Sellers Award was established by the Alabama State Department of Education to recognize outstanding school superintendents each year. Joyce also received the Capstone Education Society Outstanding Contribution to Education Award.
Theresa Snoddy (2020)
In 1968, Theresa graduated from Winston County High School as valedictorian. Theresa attended Walker College and earned an Associate in Science degree and then a bachelor’s degree in English and art education from The University of Alabama. She began her first year of teaching at Addison Elementary in Addison teaching Title I reading.
After moving to Auburn, she was hired as an elementary English teacher at Huguley Elementary School in Lanett, Alabama, where she taught for 12 years. During the years at Huguley, Theresa and a colleague co-wrote an elementary handwriting program that was piloted in a nearby school, under the auspices of Auburn University. Theresa earned her master’s degree in elementary education and began working on her education specialist degree.
In 1985, Theresa moved back to Double Springs. She taught English and Literature at Winston County High School. After that year, Theresa moved to Lynn School in Lynn for three years, where she taught sixth grade. She then taught at Double Springs Elementary for ten years.
Following her time teaching elementary school, Theresa taught English and Literature at Winston County High School. In 2002, Theresa earned National Board Certification, becoming the first teacher in the Winston County school system to do so. She has since helped other teachers working toward National Board Certification. Theresa was awarded the ALFA Winston County Teacher of the Year.
After retiring from teaching, Theresa worked very hard to help form the Winston County Arts Council, where she currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Board.
Dr. Karl Stegall (2020)
Dr. Martha Tack (2019)
A native of Eclectic, Alabama, Dr. Martha Wingard Tack graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. degree from Troy University. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from The University of Alabama.
Dr. Tack is Professor Emeritus in the Educational Leadership Program within the Department of Leadership and Counseling at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). During her 21-year career at EMU, she served in several leadership positions including senior executive for presidential initiatives and headquarters administrator for the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU); interim associate vice president for academic affairs; and associate dean in the College of Education. While working as head of the Department of Leadership and Counseling at EMU, she was responsible for the implementation of the institution’s first doctoral program, a Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership. During a short leave of absence from EMU, Tack was affiliated with the University of Alabama at Birmingham as associate dean and tenured professor of educational leadership in the School of Education.
Before her affiliation with EMU, Tack was a tenured professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Supervision at Bowling Green State University. Tack served as assistant dean for personnel, policy, and off-campus programs and tenured associate professor of educational leadership in the College of Education at The University of Alabama. While on leave from the College of Education for two years, she worked as Assistant-to-the-President and American Council on Education (ACE) Intern. During her employment at The University of Alabama, she also served as acting head of the Area of Special Education and as acting director of the Women’s Studies Program.
For two years, she was state coordinator of the Michigan ACE Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education and chair of the 16-member Executive Board. Under her leadership, the Michigan Network received the coveted 2005 American Council on Education National Network and Program Award for Outstanding, Innovative, and Visionary Programs Benefiting Women Leaders. For 12 years Tack served on the Board of Trustees of the National Business and Professional Women’s Foundation and was chair of the Foundation’s Research and Information Committee for six years. She was a member of the Board of Trustees for The University of Findlay (Ohio) and also served the Mortar Board National Foundation as a trustee.
During her professional career, Tack won a number of awards. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Findlay and the Outstanding Contributor to Graduate Education award from Bowling Green State University. In addition, she was named the Education Alumna of the Year by Troy University, her undergraduate institution, and was the winner of two Phi Delta Kappa (Bowling Green Chapter) Research Awards.
Tack received external funding to study issues in leadership from several agencies. For example, she and Dr. James L. Fisher were awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to complete and deliver a FIPSE lecture on the “Effective College President.” The grant was one of only six awarded nationally. She and Dr. Fisher also received research funding from the Exxon Education Foundation. The National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation also supported Tack’s initiatives.
Tack co-authored (with Patitu) an ASHE/ERIC Higher Education Report entitled Faculty Job Satisfaction: Women and Minorities in Peril. She also co-authored (with Fisher) two books on college administration: The Effective College President and Leaders on Leadership: The College Presidency, New Directions for Higher Education. In addition, she has written numerous articles and has given many presentations on leadership and planning in a variety of settings across the country. She has directed 35 dissertations, with 3 winning research awards. Tack’s areas of expertise are leadership, women in leadership, management, and strategic planning in higher education.
Her membership in honorary societies includes the following: Phi Delta Kappa, Kappa Delta Epsilon, Kappa Delta Pi, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Mortar Board.
Dr. Archie Wade (2015)
Wade, one of the first black faculty members at UA, taught for 30 years in the kinesiology department before retiring in 2000.
A Tuscaloosa native, Wade coached basketball and baseball at Stillman College, his alma-mater, before playing professional baseball and earning his master’s degree at West Virginia University.
He played for legendary baseball manager Sparky Anderson as a minor league player, and he was a starter in a record-breaking 29-inning game in 1966. That same year, he led the Class A Florida League with a .338 batting average.
Wade spent two years as a recruiter for legendary UA football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant while teaching and working on his doctorate at UA.
Dr. Matt Curtner-Smith, professor of kinesiology at UA, worked with Wade and co-authored “Legacy of a Pioneer African American Educator,” a paper that reconstructs Wade’s contributions. Curtner-Smith said Wade’s legacy was evident when he began working at UA.
“His story is obviously interesting and historically significant,” Curtner-Smith said. “However, on top of this, as an inexperienced assistant professor in the early 1990s, I was also struck by the incredible respect all our students had for him. They really did revere him. Having witnessed his induction into the YMCA Hall of Fame a year or so ago, I saw the same kind of affection for him among his local community. He really is one of those people about whom you do not hear a bad word.”
Wade said he still receives letters from former students, some of whom took his classes as far back as 1975.
“I’m still enjoying retirement, but I miss the relationships with students,” Wade said. “To see them grow, academically and professionally, and to have a role in that, you can’t help but miss that time with them.”
As part of the University’s “Through the Doors” activities in 2013, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of integration at UA, Wade was be honored with a plaque commemorating his 30 years as a faculty member in the kinesiology department during a ceremony at Graves Auditorium at UA. The plaque is in the conference room of Moore Hall, where Wade had an office and taught classes.