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.

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.

Chalkboard Champion Ruth Clausen was also an honored conservationist

There are many examples of fine educators who have made significant achievements in the political realm. One such educator was Ruth Chickering Clausen, an English teacher from Wisconsin who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve in the US Department of Energy. Ruth was born in 1922 in Bruce, Rusk County, Wisconsin. After her 1938 graduation from high school in Eau Clair at the age of 15, Ruth enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire. She graduated in 1945 with a degree in secondary education. At about that time, Ruth married her husband, Donald Clusen, a teacher at the state reformatory. The couple settled in Green Bay, and Ruth accepted a teaching position as an instructor of English and speech. In Green Bay, Ruth joined the League of Women Voters, serving as their environmental chairperson for eight years. She served as the League’s national president from 1974-1978. During this time, Ruth organized the first voter-sponsored presidential debates between candidates Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, the first nationally televised presidential debates since 1960. Her performance during these debates made Ruth so recognizable that she was once spoofed by Lily Tomlin in an episode of Saturday Night Live. Following the election, President Carter appointed Ruth the Assistant Secretary of Energy for the Environment in the US Department of Energy. During this time, she ensured the passage of the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act. From 1978-1981, Ruth was selected to be a member of the US delegation to the first United Nations Conference on Women in Mexico City. After leaving government service, Ruth returned to the field of education, serving on the Board of Regents for the University of Wisconsin from 1983-1992. For her impressive achievements, Ruth was named Woman of the Year by the Ladies Home Journal in 1977. In 1978, she was honored as the International Conservationist of the Year by the National Wildlife Federation. She has also been inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame in 2001. This chalkboard champion passed away on March 14, 2005, in Bellevue, Wisconsin, from complications from Alzheimer’s. She was 82 years old. She is interred in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Chalkboard Champion Denis Driscoll also served in Congress

There are many instances of talented educators who have also served in political positions. Teacher Denis Joseph Driscoll, a Congressman from New York, is a fine example.

Denis was born in North Lawrence, New York, on March 27, 1871. As a youth, he was enrolled in public schools. He then attended Lawrenceville Academy and then State Teachers College in Potsdam, New York. Upon his college graduation, Denis accepted a position to teach school in Potsdam, where he worked from 1888-1889. He relocated to St. Marys, New York, where he taught from 1890-1891. Denis then served as the Principal of Public Schools in St. Marys, from 1892-1897.

In addition to teaching school, Denis studied law. He passed the bar in 1898. The same day, this patriotic educator enlisted as a private in the Sixteenth Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard. He then served in the Spanish American War. When his enlistment expired, Denis campaigned for Congress on the Democratic ticket, and was elected. He served there from 1935-1937. But this dedicated educator’s commitment to the field had not been forgotten. He served as President of the St. Marys School Board from 1911-1936.

Denis passed away on January 18, 1958, at the age of 86. He is interred in St. Marys Catholic Cemetery in St. Marys, New York.

To read more about this chalkboard champion, click on this link to the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.