Carol Liu: Chalkboard Champion and Former California State Senator

There are many examples of talented educators who have also served in political office. One such educator is Carol Liu, a secondary school history teacher who served as a California state senator representing District 25 from 2008-2016.

Carol was born September 12, 1941, in Berkeley, California, and raised in Oakland. She earned her bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University in 1963. She then attended UC Berkeley to earn her teaching credential and administrative credential.

After completing college, Carol taught history for 14 years at both the junior high and senior high levels in Richmond, California. Her teaching career there spanned from 1964-1978. During this time, she also served as the Executive Director of the Richmond Federation of Teachers (1975-1978). Carol then became a school administrator, a position she held from 1978-1984. Additionally, she was an instructor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.

In 1992, Carol decided to get her feet wet in politics. She was elected to the La Canada Flintridge City Council, where she served until 1999. During that time, she was also selected as mayor of the City of La Canada Flintridge, a post she held from 1996-1999. In 2000, Carol was elected to the California State Assembly on the Democratic ticket. She served there until 2006. In 2008 Carol was elected to the California State Senate, where she served until 2016. While in office, the former teacher served as chairperson of the Senate Education Committee. Her efforts included bills to reinvigorate career and technical education at the high school level, lower the costs of college textbooks, protect foster children, and prevent domestic violence. She also worked towards meeting the needs of low-income families, legislated on behalf of seniors and those with disabilities, and promoted environmental issues.

Read more about Carol Liu’s work in the Senate on Ballotpedia or from the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) at Scorecard.

Adam Ryan Young: Chalkboard Champion and politician

In US history, there are many examples of politicians who have been employed as professional educators. One example of this is Adam Ryan Young, a high school social studies teacher who was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates.

Adam was born on December 16, 1982 in Summersville, Nicholas County, West Virginia. He grew up the fourth of five children in a working class family. Following his high school graduation from Nicholas County High School in 2001, Adam enrolled in Glenville State College, located in Glenville, West Virginia There he earned a BS in Behavioral Science, a BA in Social Studies, and a BA in History, all in 2006. He completed the requirements for his Masters in Education in Educational Leadership from Salem International University in 2010. Adam was the first member of his family to earn a college degree.

After working for five years as a professional in the mental health field, Adam sought out a position as a teacher at his alma mater, Nicholas County High School, in 2006. He has instructed courses in civics, government, American history, world history, geography, sociology, and psychology. In addition to teaching at Nicholas County High, he has served as the Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers and the President of the Faculty Senate for his high school.

Running on the Democratic ticket, Adam was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates representing District 41. He served there from 2012 to 2014. While in office, he was a member on the committees for Education; Joint Education; Senior Citizen Issues; and Energy, Industry, and Labor Economic Development and Small Business. During his tenure, he co-sponsored the Nonprofit Youth Organization Tax Exempt Support Amendment, a bill that allows property tax exemptions for nonprofit youth organizations that provide opportunities for education and recreation for young people.

Kudos to Adam Ryan Young, chalkboard champion and politician.

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!

Remembering retired educator Bill Ruth on September 11

927-ruth-largeIt has been fourteen years since our nation was rocked to the core by the September 11th terrorist attacks. Like most teachers who went to school that day, I distinctly remember how difficult it was to ease the fears and distress of my students while trying to keep my own alarm and emotions under control. And now, so many years later, when I reflect upon the events of that day, I wonder if any educators lost their lives in the attacks.

In conducting some research, I discovered the story of one heroic educator: William (Bill) R. Ruth, a retired middle school social studies teacher from Maryland. After his career as an educator, Bill was working at the Pentagon as a Chief Warrant Officer for the US Army. He was in his office there when the building was struck by American Airlines Flight 77. He was one of 30 individuals on the ground who lost their lives in the tragedy. On the day of his death, Bill Ruth was 57 years old.

Bill had a long record of service to his country. He served in the Marines during the Vietnam War, where he was a helicopter pilot. He would later tell friends of the missions he flew, evacuating the wounded and the dead. As a Maryland National Guard reservist, Bill also served in the Persian Gulf War. When the conflict erupted, Bill was pulled out of the classroom and sent to the Middle East.

After his tour of duty in Vietnam, Bill earned his master’s degree and became a social studies teacher, a career that spanned three decades. Right before he retired, Bill worked at John T. Baker Middle School in Damascus, Maryland.

“Mr. Ruth was my seventh grade social studies and history teacher at John T. Baker Middle School in Damascus, Maryland, way back in 1995,” remembers educator Barbara Boyd Overmier. “He was the best teacher, and he made learning fun. He would bring in pictures and slideshows of helicopters he flew, and always had a fantastic story to tell. I remember being more interested in going to his class than any other. I remember him as a kind man, wanting to make sure we achieved our potential and enjoyed doing it.”

Bill Ruth is remembered fondly by many, including scores of former students. And he has left a lasting legacy to his profession. “We lost not only a great man that day,” expresses Overmier, “but our country lost a hero. He was such an inspiration to me that I recently completed my education to become a teacher so that I could touch lives the way that he did,” she discloses. “We’ll miss you Mr. Ruth, you were the best of the best!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Dr. Charles Turnbull: The history teacher who became the governor of the US Virgin Islands

thMany talented educators have also distinguished themselves as accomplished politicians. An example of this can be found in Dr. Charles Wesley Turnbull, the twenty-seventh governor of the US Virgin Islands.

Charles was born February 5, 1935, in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas Island. The city is the capital of the US Virgin Islands. His parents were Ruth Ann Eliza (Skelton) and John Wesley Turnbull, impoverished immigrants from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. As a child, Charles attended public schools, graduating from Charlotte Amalie High School in 1952.

As a young man, Charles earned both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Hampton University, a traditionally African American institution of higher learning located in Hampton, Virginia. His education was funded by a Ford Foundation Scholarship. While at Hampton, Charles served as vice president of his freshman class and president of both his sophomore and senior classes. He was also selected as the chief justice of the student court. Charles earned a bachelor’s degree in history with honors in 1958, and his master’s degree in secondary education in 1959. In 1972 he earned a doctorate degree in educational administration from the University of Minnesota.

Charles began his career as an educator as a teacher at the elementary level, eventually becoming a history teacher at the secondary level. Eventually, he worked his way up to the position of principal of his alma mater, Charlotte Amalie High School. Later he became a professor at the University of the Virgin islands. In 1967, the gifted educator accepted a position as the Commissioner of the Territorial Department of Education, where he served from 1979 to 1987. During his years there, Charles was responsible for constructing new schools, eliminating double sessions, initiating vocational and technical programs, inaugurating alternative education programs, and encouraging the involvement of volunteers. He also established the Cultural Education Division to promote awareness of the history and culture of the Virgin Islands and the greater Caribbean region.

In 1998 Charles was elected the sixth governor of the US Virgin Islands. Prior to 1970, the governor was appointed by the US president. Once elected, Charles served two terms. During his tenure, he served as a member of the National Governors Association, the Southern Governors Association, and the Democratic Governors Association.

For his tireless work as an educator, Charles has been honored with numerous awards. Among these are the Leadership and Service in the Field of Education award in 1989; the Citation for Excellence in the Service of Humanity in 1992; the Turner Broadcasting System’s Trumpet Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Service and Education in 2001; and the Humanist Award from the Virgin Islands Humanities Council in 2005.

Charles Wesley Turnbull: a true Chalkboard Champion.