Members of the eighth class of the Governor Louie B. Nunn Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame have been selected.
The three chosen by the statewide selection committee are Marie Jones, Angela Alexander Townsend and Wendell Worley. Members of the 2016 Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame will be inducted during a ceremony scheduled for March 15 in Frankfort.
The Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame was created in 2000 through a gift by late Gov. Nunn, who hoped to recognize the vital role that primary and secondary 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.
A native of West Liberty, Marie Jones began her teaching career in 1948 at Spaws Creek, a one-room schoolhouse in Montgomery County. At Spaws Creek, Jones not only taught all eight grade levels, she also started the fire each morning, cleaned the classroom, and prepared lunches for the students. Jones attended Kentucky Wesleyan College (1947-48), Morehead State University (1949-51), and earned her bachelor’s (1952-53) and master’s degrees (1958) at the University of Kentucky.
In 1949, she went back to college to finish her teaching degree. Upon graduation, Jones started working for the Scott County School District (1953) at Stamping Ground High School where she taught typing and other business related classes. In 1955, she moved to the newly opened Scott County High School in Georgetown, where she continued teaching and serving as Chair of the school’s business department until her retirement (1990). Following her “official” retirement, Jones continued to work at SCHS on a part-time basis until her “final” retirement in 2013, at the age of 84.
During the course of her teaching career, Jones taught students how to type on the first manual style typewriter and later the computer keyboard. She educated them on important life skills such as how to balance a checkbook, type a business letter, and address an envelope. Beyond the classroom, Jones devoted 58 of her 60 plus years in education serving as sponsor of the senior class and coordinating all aspects of the graduation ceremony and senior class activities. Over the years, she also served as a sponsor of the cheerleading team, FBLA and PEP Club.
Jones’ nominators stated: “She empowers us as young students to take over, take charge, and to lead with confidence”; and “Her example and concern for young people transcends generations.”
Angela Alexander Townsend
Angela Alexander Townsend, a native of Bowling Green, has run the pedagogical gamut in her teaching career of more than 38 years. She began teaching Senior English at Bowling Green High School in 1966. She taught at Lincoln Elementary School in Louisville and Princeton Junior High School in Cincinnati. Following her move back to Bowling Green, she taught at Bowling Green Junior High, Bowling Green Senior High, Warren Central High School, and lastly at Greenwood High School, where Townsend retired from in 2009 to care for her ailing mother.
Townsend also worked as an educational workshop consultant for the Warren County Schools, Green River Regional Educational Cooperative (GRREC) and occasionally for the state at large. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky, and a master’s, Rank I certification and a reading endorsement from Western Kentucky University. She also studied Montessori at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
She actively served as sponsor of several school and youth-based organizations such as the National Honor Society, Quill and Scroll, Black History Club, Afro-American History Club, two organizations for gifted disadvantaged students from area high schools — SUTE (Students United to Excel) and SAY (Sponsor a Youth), the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), JAC (Junior American Citizens) and Bowling Green Youth Achievers. For many years, she was on The Governors Scholars Statewide Selection Committee, was Daily News Correspondent Advisor for local schools, and established and taught the first diversity course in the Warren County District.
A partial list of Townsend’s awards and career highlights include being named as Kentucky Distinguished Educator (1992), Kentucky Colonel via KERA (Kentucky Educational Reform Act), serving as Minority Affairs Rep to the KCTE Board/LA (Spring 1997), NAACP Youth Achiever Adult Award (1993), DAR/JAC Thatcher Pin Award, American Legion Youth Leadership Award, and her poetry about the defunct Jonesville Community, which is housed in the Kentucky Museum on WKU’s campus, is used in university honors courses.
Former colleagues stated: “Throughout her career, Ms. Townsend placed equal concern on the quality of each student’s education and his or her overall well-being”; and “She ensured that no student left her classroom without understanding they were valued.”
A resident of London, Wendell Worley began his teaching career in 1984 at Laurel County High School. Worley has spent his entire 32-year tenure at the school, now named South Laurel High School. There he teaches Advanced Placement (A.P.) American Government & Politics and Honors Civics & Economics. He began the first A.P. class (AP U.S. History) in Laurel County and taught that subject for more than 25 years. He earned his associate’s degree from Sue Bennett College in London (1982), a bachelor’s degree from Cumberland College in Williamsburg (1984), and a master’s degree (1990) and a Rank I (1995) from Union College in Barbourville.
In addition to his classroom teaching responsibilities, Worley has served as the chair of the Social Studies Department, as a member of the Site Based Decision Making Council, and as coach of the school’s Quick Recall Team. A partial list of Worley’s awards include the United States Presidential Scholar Program’s Distinguished Teacher (1993), Laurel County High School Teacher of the Year (1994), South Laurel High School Outstanding Teacher (1996-97), London-Laurel Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year (2011), Campbellsville University/WKYT-TV Excellence in Teaching Award (2002, 2011) and UK Teacher Who Made a Difference (2001, 2014).
Former students commented: “He taught us how to find our own opinion and voice and then use that to debate politics and ensured that we showed each opinion respect”; and “He cares deeply for the well-being of his pupils, both inside and outside the classroom.”
Contact: Tammy Spinks, (270) 745-4664