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University of Pikeville honors distinguished educators

November 24, 2015 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
When the Pikeville Collegiate Institute established a training school for teachers in 1901, the institution’s founders had no way of knowing the fruits of their labor. Since that time, hundreds of University of Pikeville graduates have made the classroom their life’s work.

The Distinguished Educators Hall of Fame was established in 2010 to honor those whose contributions to learning have inspired generations of students and made a significant impact in the field of education.

This year’s inductees include Danny Adams of Salyersville, Anita Bolt of Norton, Va., Jacqulin Damron of Pikeville, Jeff Hawkins of Neon, Delphia Ann Lockhart of Pikeville, William J. Loftus of Prestonsburg, Gene Lovel of Pikeville, Betsy Thompson of Pikeville, Lois Combs Weinberg of Hindman and Rosa Wolfe of McAndrews.

Danny Adams worked in education for 33 years spending 26 years as a classroom teacher and high school basketball coach. Early in his career, he spent one year as a teacher and assistant coach at the high school level before serving as admissions counselor, director of admissions and financial aid and assistant basketball coach at Pikeville College. In 1979, he went back to the classroom spending three years at Pikeville High School before going home to Magoffin County High School where he taught, coached and served as social studies department chair until his retirement in 2004.

Anita Bolt has taught 30 years in the Jenkins Independent School District. “As a graduate of Jenkins High School, it was a dream come true,” said Bolt. She began her teaching career in the first grade classroom before implementing Project Read where she taught first through third grade students who were identified as needing intervention in reading. For the past 16 years, she has taught kindergarten at Jenkins Elementary.

Jacqulin Damron has worked in the Pike County School System for 25 years, devoting much of her time in the classroom teaching primary and intermediate math. She currently teaches at Mullins Elementary. Her list of contributions to education include serving as a KTIP resource teacher for new teachers as well as resource teacher for teacher candidates at University of Pikeville and Morehead State University. She has also served as a member of school and district task force team, school/district professional development presenter, Title I regional presenter, instructional transformational teacher leader, school leadership team, site-based council, school and district mentorship program, Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative committee member to develop and implement common core math standards, member of the comprehensive district improvement plan, math district collaborative team and presenter and initiated grant for Reflex math program.

Jeff Hawkins, Ed.D., has 26 years of service in Kentucky public education, including roles as teacher, coach, building and district administrator, Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) regional service center consultant and director of multiple KDE statewide initiatives. Hawkins is one of Kentucky’s first Distinguished Educators and is the co-founder of the Appalachian Media Institute based in Whitesburg. He is currently the executive director for the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative serving 19 public school systems in Eastern Kentucky. Hawkins has worked in the region to grow KVEC from nine public school districts to the current 19 districts that serve 45,000 students and 2,800 educators in a geographic region larger than the state of Connecticut.

From working with children at Model City Day Care Center to teaching kindergarten at Pikeville Elementary, Delphia Ann Lockhart has dedicated her life to helping children. Lockhart developed and directed Model City in Pikeville for 19 years prior to entering the public education system where she taught at Pikeville Elementary for 23 years before her retirement in 2015. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Pikeville College and a master’s degree in education from Morehead State University.

William J. Loftus, Ph.D., has taught psychology at Big Sandy Community & Technical College (BSCTC) for 25 years. He served as advisor and mentor for Phi Theta Kappa for two decades. The world’s largest and most prestigious honor society for two-year college students, Loftus worked with chapter officers and members to help them attain their goals and be successful. He continues to serve in various leadership roles on BSCTC’s Prestonsburg campus.

Gene Lovel provided 30 years of dedicated service to Pikeville College and the University of Pikeville, as professor of economics, chairman for the division of social sciences and business, chairman of the academic affairs committee, acting registrar and faculty athletics representative. He also served as eligibility chair for the Mid-South Conference. Lovel received UPIKE’s Walker Teaching Excellence Award, the William B. and Eloise W. Sturgill Distinguished Professorship and the Gary Thrash Outstanding Ambassador Award. He was also inducted into the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame for his service to UPIKE’s student-athletes.

Betsy Davis Thompson’s passion for music and helping students turned into a career that spanned three decades as a music educator. Thompson taught at Johns Creek School and Pike County Central High School before retiring in 2013. She has given many students the opportunity to enhance and showcase their musical talents. Her choruses have performed at Carnegie Hall, for the Kentucky Legislature, the Boys Sweet 16 Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena, KMEA conferences and countless school performances.

Lois Combs Weinberg’s interest in public education was sparked in the late 1970s when she learned that her first son was dyslexic. At that time, there were no programs in the public schools to meet her son’s educational needs. Weinberg and four other parents began tutoring at the Hindman Settlement School, an effort that led to a full-time program at the James Still Learning Center which has helped thousands of dyslexic students and their families throughout Eastern Kentucky. She is currently the executive director of IDEA: Center for Excellence, a non-profit organization that works with families and children with dyslexic characteristics and provides professional development for teachers and school administrators.

Rosa W. Wolfe has faithfully served the students of Pike County for her entire adult life. A leader in rural education, Wolfe whole-heartedly supported field trips that took Appalachian students to New York City and Washington, D.C. She worked to include technology in the educational process even when it meant securing private donations to obtain computers for her school in 1980. She served as principal at Hardy Grade School in 1963 during desegregation and was selected to participate in a summer program that integrated faculty at a school in Charleston, S.C., where white teachers were integrated into the black school. During times of racial tension, she earned the trust of South Carolina elementary and high school students as they selected her to be their mediator with school administration.

Pictured are members of the University of Pikeville Distinguished Educators Hall of Fame Class of 2015. Front row, from left, Betsy Thompson, Anita Bolt, Jacqulin Damron, Delphia Lockhart, Rosa Wolfe, Lois Weinberg. Second row, from left, Danny Adams, William Loftus, Ph.D., Gene Lovel, Paul Patton, chancellor and interim president of the University of Pikeville and Jeff Hawkins, Ed.D.

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