Mary K. Armstrong, a longtime Muhlenberg County educator, was inducted Tuesday (March 3) into the Gov. Louie B. Nunn Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame.
“The whole thing has been great. It’s too glamorous for me because I’m just a country girl. I didn’t expect all this,” Armstrong, 95, said after an induction ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda that included family, friends, state officials and others. (More: View from the Hill segment on the induction ceremony.)
WKU President Gary Ransdell called Armstrong “a very special teacher who has left a long and distinguished mark in the state of Kentucky.”
Armstrong, who began her teaching career in 1940, spent more than 40 years as a teacher in Muhlenberg County before retiring in 1999. She remained active in the Muhlenberg County School District as a substitute teacher until 2011, when she was 91.
Gov. Steve Beshear said Armstrong “has touched literally thousands and thousands of students’ lives. Good teachers like Mary Armstrong do make a difference for children in our state.”
Gov. Beshear and Dr. Tommy Floyd, chief of staff for the Kentucky Department of Education, presented Armstrong with her Hall of Fame award. Senate President Pro Tem David Givens of Greensburg and Rep. Derrick Graham of Frankfort, chairman of the House Education Committee, represented Senate and House leadership at the induction ceremony. Rep. Brent Yonts of Greenville presented Armstrong with a citation recognizing her for years of service and dedication to education as well as her community, state and nation.
A native of McLean County, Armstrong said she grew up wanting to become a teacher. She began her career in Benton in a two-room school in 1940 and taught grades five through eight at Church Grove Elementary School until 1941.
Her teaching career was put on hold when she moved to Evansville, Indiana, and began working at Briggs Aircraft Factory during World War II. After marrying a WWII veteran and raising their two sons, Armstrong returned to college and to her teaching career.
In 1953, she began teaching at Bremen Elementary and continued to teach at the school until she retired in 1999. During her years as a teacher, she graduated from Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1958, earned a master’s degree in Guidance in 1962, earned a Standard Elementary degree in 1964, and completed her Rank I in 1977.
Throughout her career, Armstrong was actively involved in the Kentucky Education Association (KEA), National Education Association (NEA) and the Kentucky Teachers Retirement Association.
Debbie Mitchell, a retired teacher from Central City, helped nominate Armstrong for the Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame. “I was honored to nominate such a knowledgeable woman,” she said. “She was a good teacher and touched a lot of lives.”
About the Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame: The Gov. Louie B. Nunn Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame was created in 2000 through a gift by former Gov. Nunn, who hoped to recognize the vital role that classroom teachers in Kentucky play in the education of young people and the positive impact education has on the state’s economy. WKU was selected as the home of the Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame because of its more than 100-year history in teacher education. The first class was inducted in 2008. Inductees are chosen by a statewide selection committee. For information on how to nominate an outstanding educator, visit http://www.wku.edu/kythf/nominations.php
Contact: Tammy Spinks, (270) 745-4664