Angela McLean: The High School Government Teacher who Became Montana’s Lieutenant Governor

52f93807cbe2e.preview-100[1]Many talented teachers make their mark in fields other than education. Such is certainly the case for high school history and government teacher Angela McLean. In February of this year, Angela was appointed by Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock to be the new lieutenant governor. She is the first classroom teacher and the second woman to become Lieutenant Governor in Montana history.

Angela graduated from Twin Bridges High School and became the first person in her family to graduate college. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana Western and her master’s degree in curriculum and insruction from the University of Montana. As a beginning teacher, Angela taught at Arlee High School from 1994 to 1997. She has taught at Anaconda High School from 1997 until she was appointed Lieutenant Governor on February 17, 2014. At the time of her appointment, Angela was the chairwoman of the Montana Board of Regents, a position she held from 2012 to 2014. She has also served on the Montana Board of Public Education and as an adjunct professor at Montana Tech of the Univerisity of Montana.

This remarkable educator credits her former teachers for her adult successes. “As a high schooler waiting tables at the Blue Anchor Cafe, it would have been hard for me to imagine one day becoming lieutenant governor – but great teachers and the support of my friends, my community, and my family have made today possible for me,” she said on the day she was appointed. These teachers “made me believe the sky was the limit,” she continued. “I think, even at times when the challenges I felt were so overwhelming that I might not have believed it, they made me see it. So I hope that somewhere along the line I made a difference in the lives of my students the way the teachers in my life made a difference.”

Isaac Scott Hathaway: Talented High School Teacher, Ground-Breaking University Professor, and Accomplished Artist

hathawayportrait_tuskegee6[1]Many chalkboard champions have distinguished themselves in fields other than education. Such is certainly the case with Isaac Scott Hathaway, a high school teacher and university professor who was also an accomplished artist. Isaac is probably best recognized for the masks and busts he created of important African American leades, and as the designer of the first two US coins to feature black Americans.

Isaac was born on April 4, 1872, in Lexington, Kentucky. Following his high school graduation in 1890, he began his formal academic studies at Chandler Junior College in Lexington, and attended classes in art and dramatics at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. While in Boston, he sculpted his first bust, using as his subject Bishop Richard Allen, the first bishop of the African American Episcopal Church. Isaac’s first formal training in ceramics came from Cincinnati Art Academy.

At the conclusion of his studies and training, Isaac returned home to Lexington to teach at Keene High School. There he worked from 1897 to 1902. He also opened his first art studio, where he made plaster parts of human anatomy for schools and medical uses. In 1907 Isaac relocated to Washington, DC, where began making sculpture busts, including those of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, university president Booker T. Washington, poet Paul L. Dunbar, and scholar W.E.B. Dubois.

In 1912, the accomplished teacher and talented artist married Ettic Ramplin of South Boston, Virginia. Sadly, she died early in their marriage from complications in childbirth. Following Ettic’s death, Isaac established a course in ceramics at Branch Normal College, now known as the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff. He taught there and at a high school in Pine Bluff until 1937. In 1926, Isaac married his second wife, Umer George Porter. The couple moved to Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1937 to inaugurate the ceramics department at Tuskegee University. Shortly thereafter, Umer earned a degree from Tuskegee and became Isaac’s assistant.

The remarkable educator made an important contribution to the art world in 1945 when he developed Alabama kaolin clay as a medium, and he became the first artist on record to “make the clay behave.” The following year, Isaac was commissioned by the Fine Arts Commission of the United States Mint to design a half dollar coin using Booker T. Washington as the face and subject. In 1950 he was commissioned to make another coin, this time combining the images of both Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver.

During the summer of 1947, Hathaway broke a significant racial barrier when he introduced ceramics at the all-white Auburn Polytechnic Institute, now known as Auburn University. In 1947, Isaac and Umer relocated to Montgomery, Alabama, where Isaac became the director of ceramics at Alabama State College. He worked there until his retirement in 1963.

Throughout his life, Professor Hathaway received many awards, including honorary degrees, doctorates, or fine arts awards from various colleges and universities where he helped introduce ceramics as a field of study. This chalkboard champion and amazing artist passed away at his home in Tuskegee, Alabama, on March 12, 1967.

Jackson T. Davis: Chalkboard Champion who Worked to Improve Educational Opportunities for African-Americans

jdavis_portrait[1]Many chalkboard champions work tirelessly on behalf of disenfranchised groups of students. This is certainly true of Jackson T. Davis, a remarkable educator who devoted his entire 45-year career to improving educational opportunities for African-American students here in the United States, and for Africans abroad.

Jackson T. Davis was born in Cumberland County, Virginia, on September 25, 1882. He attended public schools in Richmond, Virginia. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in 1902 and his master’s degree from Columbia University in 1908. He was given an honorary law degree by the University of Richmond in 1930 and another by the College of William and Mary in 1931.

Following graduation from William and Mary, Jackson was was employed in a variety of high-profile positions where he dedicated his talents to improving the lives of students. He became the principal of the public schools of Williamsburg, Virginia. He also served as the assistant secretary of the YMCA in Roanoke, Virginia, from 1903 to 1904. During the 1904-1905 school year, he was principal of the public schools of Marion, Virginia, followed by a stint as the superintendent of schools in Henrico County, Virginia from 1905 to 1909. The next year, 1909-1910, this hardworking educator was a member of the state board of examiners and inspectors for the Virginia State Board of Education, and from 1910 to 1915 this forward-thinking individual was the state agent for African-American rural schools for the Virginia State Department of Education. In 1915, Jackson became affiliated with the General Education Board in New York, New York, as a field agent. Two years later he was transferred to New York City as the board’s general field agent, where he remained until 1929 when he was made the assistant director. He became the associate director in 1933, and the vice-president and then the director in 1946. During his many years associated with the General Education Board, Jackson’s work was focussed on education in the Southern states, and he used his influence to improve relations and understanding between whites and African-Americans. His pioneering work in promoting regional centers of education in the South tremendously significant.

Throughout his extensive career, Jackson specialized in Southern education, inter-racial problems, and education in the Belgian Congo and Liberia. In 1935 he traveled to Africa as a Carnegie visitor, and in 1944 he went again to that country as the leader of a group sent by the Foreign Missions Conference of North America, the British Conference of Missions, and the Phelps-Stokes Fund. Jackson served as a trustee of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, an organization devoted to African-American education and race relations, both in America and in Africa. He became vice-president of the Fund in 1940, and succeeded Anson Phelps Stokes as president in 1946.

At the time of his death in 1947, Jackson T. Davis was the president of the board of trustees of Booker T. Washington Institute in Liberia, the president of the New York State Colonization Society, a member of the Commission on Inter-Racial Cooperation, and of the Advisory Committee on Education in Liberia. He served as a member of the board of visitors of the College of William and Mary from 1913 to 1920, and as secretary of the International Education Board from 1923 to 1938. He was also frequently contributed articles for publication to educational journals.

This remarkable chalkboard champion passed away in Cartersville, Virginia, on April 15, 1947. In 1962, Jackson Davis Elementary School in Henrico County, Viriginia, was dedicated in his honor.

John Ardis Cawthorn: Educator, Veteran, and Chalkboard Champion

175px-John_Ardis_Cawthon_(Louisiana_Tech)[1]Many of our nation’s talented educators are also distinguished veterans. Such is certainly the case for John Ardis Cawthon, a high school history teacher from Louisiana who served in the US Army during WWII.

John was born on March 16, 1907, in south Bossier Parish, Louisiana. As a child, he was home-schooled by his mother. When he entered the fifth grade, he was enrolled in a local one-room schoolhouse in the Koran community of south Bossier Parish. After John completed the eighth grade, his family moved to Doyline in south Webster Parish, where the young man completed high school.

After his high school graduation in 1934, John enrolled at Louisiana Tech where he majored in History and English. There he earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. He earned his master’s degree from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge in 1938.

John accepted his first position as a teacher at a high school in Cotton Valley, where he taught from 1934 to1935. He transferred to Sarepta and was employed there from 1935 to 1939, and then he taught at A.E. Phillips Laboratory School on the Louisiana Tech campus from 1939 to 1940. From 1940 to 1942, John was a professor at Northwestern State University, then known as Louisiana Normal.

When World War II erupted, John was drafted into the US Army. He was 35 years old at the time. The former high school teacher served in Europe in the Education Orientation Division. This position took him to the Biarritz American University in France. In 1974, he published an account of his experiences in the armed forces in an article entitled “A School Teacher Gets Drafted,” published in North Louisiana History.

When the war was over, John decided to pursue his doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin. After earning this advanced degree, he returned to Louisiana Tech University in 1954, where he remained until his retirement in 1972. During this time, he published many scholarly articles in North Louisiana History and wrote several books dedicated to regional history.

This talented educator and distinguished serviceman passed away on October 5, 1984. John Ardis Cawthorn, a true chalkboard champion.

Chalkboard Champion Bill Holden: He Talks the Talk and Walks the Walk

holdenbridge_i[1]Often classroom teachers become advocates for social issues that extend far beyond their classroom. Such is the case with teacher Bill Holden, an educator who has worked tirelessly to increase awareness about the problem of juvenile diabetes.

Bill was born in 1948 in Elgin, Illinois. He earned his degree from Southern Illinois University in 1970. Bill accepted his first position as a teacher in 1973, but soon became interested in working with Native American students. After teaching many years in Illinois, he transferred to Camp Verde, Arizona. At Camp Verde, Bill became aware of the alarming rate of diabetes among his Native American students. Bill retired after 32 years in the classroom, but he was not done dedicating his energy to benefit his students. He decided to focus his vast energy on helping to find a cure for juvenile diabetes.

In 2005, Bill literally walked from Arizona to Chicago, a distance of 2,100 miles, with the goal of raising $250,000 in donations for the American Diabetes Association to fund research to find a cure for juvenile diabetes. Bill started his walk on January 11, 2005, walking through the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois. Along the way he battled arthritis in both knees, fatigue, sunburn, windburn, and stifling heat, and once he was nearly hit by a car. It took the dedicated teacher six months to complete the walk, but the effort garnered him national attention.

Bill Holden is certainly a true chalkboard champion.