History teacher Darrell Jones: US Veteran and Chalkboard Champion

On Veterans Day, the entire country pauses to express appreciation to our nation’s heroic veterans for all they have done, including laying their lives on the line, to protect our American freedoms. One such veteran is Darrell Jones, a middle school history teacher in Mississippi.

As a younger man, Darrell served in the United States Air Force for 20 years. On active duty from 1991 to 2011, he was deployed over two dozen times, including stints in Iraq. During his years of service, the now-retired Technical Sergeant E-6 worked as a crew chief and as an aircraft mechanic.

Darrell grew up in Buffalo, New York. After he graduated high school in 1988, he enrolled in college, where he completed three years of study. He interrupted his studies to join the military, but once he retired from the Air Force in 2011, he used his GI benefits to complete his degree. He earned his bachelor’s in secondary education from Mississippi State University in 2014.

This valiant veteran now works as a 7th grade history teacher at Armstrong Middle School in Starkville, Mississippi. “People ask me all the time why I became a teacher after working hard in the military for 20 years,” says Darrell. “I say…I want to continue to serve my country and take care of our children.” He is as dedicated to his work with students as he was to his work in the military. “My goal is to show my students the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day, without taking the joy away from the holiday,” asserts Darrell. “I want them to remember we can honor those who have given their lives for our country and appreciate what they have done while also cherishing the fact that we get to spend the day with friends and family.”

Here is the American hero and Chalkboard Champion with some of his kids. Thank you for all your service, Darrell!

Chalkboard Champion Tevester Anderson: High school biology teacher and basketball coach

Often talented high school coaches become accomplished college-level coaches. This is certainly the case with Tevester Anderson, who spent two decades as a high school biology teacher and basketball coach and 16 years as an assistant coach at the college level before landing his first position as a Division 1 Head Coach at the age of 61.

Tevester was born February 25, 1937, in Canton, Mississippi. In 1962, he earned his bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine from Arkansas AM & N University, now known as Arkansas at Pine Bluff. In 1971, he completed the requirements for his master’s degree in biological science from North Carolina AT&T State University.

Tevester decided against a career in medicine and instead accepted a position teaching biology and coaching basketball at Canton High School, where he worked from 1962 to 1971. From 1971 to 1980 he taught at Fulton High School. As a high school coach, he was a pioneer in helping integrate high 
school sports. “I learned you can save just as many lives as a 
coach and a teacher as you can as a doctor,” he once said.

Later, Tevester worked as an Assistant Coach at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, as an Associate Coach at the University of Georgia, in Atlanta, Georgia, and, finally, as a Head Coach at both Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, and Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. During his time as Head Coach at Murray State, Tevester led his team to an overall record of 103-52 with two Ohio Valley Conference titles and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament. During his ten-year tenure at Jackson, Tevester led the Tigers to an overall record of 149-170.

This chalkboard champion retired in June, 2013. “We sincerely thank Coach Anderson for his contributions to Jackson State University,” commented Vivian Fuller, acting Athletic Director for JSU. “He is truly a professional in collegiate athletics.”

Ten-year-old Dalton Sherman asks the question, “Do you believe in your students?”

As educators all over the country ready for another school year, we are undoubtedly contemplating our role as a teacher, advocate, and role model for our kids. Here is a keynote speech from a young man just ten years old who asks the question, “Do you believe in your students?” You’ve got to see this!

Chalkboard Hero James Dallas: High school English teacher, veteran, businessman, and civic leader

James_A._Dallas_Sr.Many gifted educators make significant contributions to their local communities in addition to their dedication to their professions. Such is the case with James A. Dallas, a high school English teacher from Florida.

James A. Dallas was born in Monticello, Florida, on December 19, 1917, one of seven children born to parents Albert and Florida Dallas. Sadly, young Jimmie was orphaned before his twelfth birthday, so he was raised by his siblings. Following his high school graduation from Middletown High School in Hillsborough County in 1936, Jimmie enrolled first in Bethune-Cookman College and then in Florida A&M University. There he played trombone in the university’s marching, concert, and jazz bands. After he earned his degree at Florida A&M in 1941, Jimmie enrolled in the pharmacy program at Howard University. However, ten days after his admittance into the program, young James was drafted into the United States Army. Jimmie served his country as a First Sergeant in the 24th Infantry Division in Okinawa, Japan, from 1942-1946.

Once Jimmie earned his discharge from the army, he accepted a position as a teacher of English and public speaking at Dorsey High School in Miami, Florida. He later transferred to Blanch Ely High School and then Sunrise Middle School. “He was a good English teacher,” remembered former colleague James Crumpler. “The kids liked him. He related real well with them.” In  his fourth year of teaching career, Jimmie married fellow educator Margie Sweet. The union produced three children: Ronald, James II, and Michele.

During these years, Jimmie was active in the local chapter of the NAACP. He became a leader in the Elks Lodge, and became a founding member of the Young Men’s Progressive Association. In addition to teaching and civic activities, Jimmie was also a successful businessman. He owned two nightclubs which hosted many famous musicians of his day, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and Lionel Hampton. He also owned a local grocery store and a pest control business.

After a distinguished career spanning 36 years, James Dallas retired in 1982. This American hero and chalkboard champion passed away on April 9, 2004. He was 86 years old. To honor him, a street in Fort Lauderdale has been named after him.

Race relations in America, and teaching tolerance resources to help teachers address the topic

The recent shootings of African Americans Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, and the sniper attack in Dallas that left five white police officers slain, have resulted in a wave of nationwide protests, demands for stronger protections against officers who misuse the authority of their badge, and an ongoing discussion about race relations in America. To respond to these current events, there may be classroom teachers all over the country looking for suitable instructional resources to address these topics with their students. The Southern Poverty Law Center, long known as an organization that fights racism on all levels, has created a collection of materials that are available for free. These resources may empower students to work towards constructive changes that may help to create a more just society. To access the resources, simply on this link: Teaching About Race, Racism, and Police Violence.