Physical Education Teacher and Olympic Athlete Dick Ault

There are many examples of fine educators who have distinguished themselves in the world of sports. Such is the case with Dick Ault, a high school physical education teacher who competed in the 1948 Olympics.

Richard “Dick” Francis Ault was born on December 10, 1925, in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, the son of the Herbert and Madeline (Dowling) Ault. After his graduation from Roosevelt High School in his home town, Dick attended the University of Missouri from 1946 to 1949. While there, he won the Big 6 title in the 220-yard low hurdles in both 1946 and 1947. In the seasons that followed, he garnered the Big 7 title in the same event in 1948 and 1949. He was also named the conference champion in the 440-yard dash in 1947 and 1949. In 1948, Dick competed in the London Olympic Games, finishing 4th in the 400-meter dash. In 1949, the former Olympic athlete competed in Oslo, Norway, where tied the world record in the 440-yard dash.

In 1950, Dick accepted a position as a teacher and coach at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois. While there, he led his cross country students to the state championship. In 1967, Dick was hired to be a physical education professor at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. There he coached several sports, including cross country, track, swimming, and golf. After a career spanning 29 years, he retired in 1996.

This chalkboard champion passed away from complications from diabetes at the age of 81 on July 16, 2007, in Jefferson City, Cole County, Missouri. For his outstanding achievements, Dick has earned many honors. He was inducted into the Missouri Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame (1976), the University of Missouri Hall of Fame (1991), the Missouri State Sports Hall of Fame (1993), and the National Sports Hall Of Fame in Washington, DC (1999).

To read more about this amazing educator and athlete, click on this link: Dick Ault Obituary.

Jean Doerge: Chalkboard Champion and Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives

There are many examples of dedicated educators who have also served in political office. This is true of Jean McGlothlin Doerge, a high school business teacher who also served in the Louisiana House of Representatives.

Jean was born June 4, 1937, in Galbraith, a small town in Natchitoches Parish in Central Louisiana. After she graduated from Cloutierville High School, she enrolled in Northwestern State University (NSU) in Natchitoches. She completed the requirements for her bachelor’s degree in education in 1958. She also became a bride that year, having married fellow student Everett Doerge, also a teacher.

Jean accepted her first teaching assignment as a business teacher at Minden High School in Minden, Louisiana. The following year, she transferred to Arp Independent School in Arp, Texas, where she taught business courses. She also served as the adviser for the school’s newspaper, yearbook, and cheerleaders. At other schools in the following years, Jean taught girls’ physical education, coached the girls’ basketball team, and taught 9th and 10th grade Language Arts. Jean returned to Natchitoches for one year when her husband was hired to coach at Northwestern. At the end of the year, the couple moved back to Minden, where Jean returned to her post at Minden High as business teacher and adviser for the school’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). She spent the next 28 years teaching there, during which time she earned a master’s degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

As an educator, Jean was clearly an innovator. She was one of the first public school educators in Louisiana to implement computer technology and word processing instruction into her classes. Through the years, she served as instructor for summer classes and night courses at Northwest Technical College in Minden and nearby Homer. She also served on the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) as a secondary representative. Doerge retired in 1992 after 34 years of teaching.

In 1998, the former teacher was elected to serve the unexpired term of her husband, State Representative Dr. Everett Doerge, who had passed away earlier that year. She was re-elected in 2007, and served until 2012, when term limits prevented her continued service. As a legislator, Jean supported many education issues at all levels.

For her distinguished career as an educator, Jean has earned numerous prestigious awards. She has been named to the NSU College of Business Hall of Distinction, and she was the recipient of the Golden Rose Award and the Golden Apple Award presented by the Epsilon State of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society, which recognized her for noteworthy legislation impacting retired teachers’ benefits. She is a member of the FBLA Wall of Fame, and she been recognized by SACS for serving on their  commission from 1988-92.

Jean Doerge: truly a chalkboard champion.

Jerilyn Britz: The high school teacher and celebrated pro golfer

Many times successful classroom teachers also distinguish themselves as gifted athletes. This is the case with Jerilyn Britz, a Minnesota educator who is also a two-time winner on the tour of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

Jerilyn was born on January 1, 1943, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato, and her master’s degree from the University of New Mexico.

Following her college graduation, Jerilyn taught physical education at a high school in St. Anthony Village in Ramsey County for five years. She also taught at the college level for three years.

Jerilyn started playing golf at the age of 17 on a tiny nine-hole course in Luverne, Minneapolis. By the time she turned 30, she decided to leave the teaching profession and become a professional golfer. Astonishingly, Jerilyn qualified for the LPGA Tour on her first attempt. She garnered first place at the US Women’s Open in 1979. The following year she captured the title at the Mary Kay Classic held in Texas. Jerilyn also placed second in the LPGA Championship in 1981. She retired from golf in 1999.

For her achievements on the golf course, Jerilyn has been inducted into the Minnesota State Maverick Athletic Hall of Fame, she has been named a member of the Mankato State College Athletic Hall of Fame, and she has been inducted into the Rock County Historical Society Hall of Fame.

Former high school coach Mark Trakh now leads USC women’s basketball team

There are many examples of classroom teachers who have also shared their considerable talents as athletic coaches. This is the case with Mark Ozeir Trakh, a former high school English teacher who currently serves as the women’s head basketball coach for the University of Southern Califonia (USC).

Mark was born May 31, 1955, in Amman, Jordan. When he was only four years old, his family immigrated to the United Sates and settled in the northeast part of the country. After he graduated from Lakeland Regional High School in Wanaque, New Jersey, Mark enrolled in Fairleigh Dickinson University. Upon moving to California in 1977, Mark enrolled first at Fullerton College, where he majored in journalism, and then in 1981 he earned his teaching credential at California State University, Long Beach.

Even before earning his teaching credential, Mark began his career as a stellar basketball coach. While still in high school, he coached junior high and youth basketball. He coached boys sophomore basketball at Western High School in Anaheim from 1979-1980. After earning his degree and credential, he accepted a position at Brea Olinda High School in Brea. He worked there as an English teacher and girls varsity basketball coach from 1980-1993. Inheriting a program that had won only four games in the previous two seasons, Mark led the team to a 354–45 overall record. During this time his girls garnered four state titles (1989, 1991, 1992, and 1993), six CIF Southern Section Championships, and twelve Orange League crowns. During his tenure there Mark was honored as a California State High School Coach of the Year. He is also a member of both the City of Brea Athletic Hall of Fame and the Southern California High School Basketball Coaches’ Hall of Fame.

Mark currently serves as the head coach for women’s basketball at the USC, after stints as a coach at Pepperdine (1993-2004), USC (2004-2009), and New Mexico State (2011-2017).

To learn more about this amazing Chalkboard Champion, click on this link: Mark Trakh.

Susan Mills: The science teacher who founded the first women’s college in California

American history offers many examples of extraordinary educators. This blog spotlights just a few of them. Today’s focus is on Susan Tolman Mills, a secondary school teacher who established the first women’s college in California.

Susan Tolman was born in Enosburg, Vermont, on November 18, 1825. One of eight children, she was the daughter of homesteaders who operated a thriving business. Her father owned a tannery and her mother was a homemaker. Susan’s mother was especially insistent that her six daughters become educated, and after the family relocated to Ware, Massachusettes, all the daughters attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Following her graduation, Susan taught classes in science and theology there for three years.

In 1848, the young educator married Cyrus Taggart Mills, a Presbyterian missionary. The adventurous newlyweds traveled to Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka. Cyrus became the principal of a seminary for boys, while Susan taught domestic skills to girls in the local schools.

In 1860, the couple moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where they took charge of the Punahou School. There Susan taught geography, geology, chemistry, and botany. She introduced physical education to the female students. She also dedicated her energy to improving the food choices and other amenities provided by the school.

In 1864, Susan and Cyrus relocated to California, with ambitions of establishing a school of their own. Their goal was to provide equal education and opportunities for women. The year after their arrival in the state they purchased a girls’ seminary in Benicia, just east of Vallejo in Solano County. They named their institution Mills Seminary. The couple spent several years improving their school by expanding the number of course offerings and recruiting qualified teachers. In 1871, they sold this property and moved their school to Oakland, on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. This new facility, with four-story buildings, dining halls, and a high central observatory named Mills Hall, was long considered the most beautiful education building in California. Eventually the girls’ school established by the Mills was transformed into Mills College, the first women’s college in the state. The college still serves young women as a liberal arts college to this day. After Susan’s beloved husband passed away, Susan continued to serve as the principal of Mills College, expertly performing her administrative duties.

In 1901, Susan was awarded an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Mount Holyoke, recognizing her extraordinary contributions to education. At the time, the trustees of Punahou commented that Susan, “met and overcame obstacles with equanimity; she accomplished great work with poor facilities; she drew her inspiration from the dull routine of a busy life.”

Susan Mills retired in 1909 at the age of 84. She passed away three years later, on December 12, 1912, in her home, the Vermont cape house she and her husband had built on the Mills campus. This talented and industrious educator was interred at Sunnyside Cemetery, located on the college grounds.