Sevierville, Tenn. – Last night, the first class of honorees for the Sevier County Education Hall of Fame was inducted during the 16th Annual “Teacher of the Year” Banquet and Ceremony held at the Park Vista Hotel and Convention Center. The Hall of Fame was created by Sevier County Bank in partnership with Sevier County Schools to recognize outstanding teachers, administrators and support staff. The initial class includes fourteen recipients, each receiving an eternal flame trophy, while their names will appear on a plaque in the Sevier County Education Central Office.
“This group represents the absolute best of Sevier County Schools, spanning many years of education in this county,” said Dr. Jack Parton, Superintendent of Sevier County Schools. “We would like to thank Sevier County Bank for being the driving force behind this wonderful initiative, helping us honor and recognize those who have given so much of their lives to our schools, students and this community.”
“We have so much admiration and respect for the time and dedication all of the teachers, administrators and support staff put forth,” said R.B. Summitt, Sevier County Bank President. “The Hall of Fame provides a way to recognize their hard work and also celebrate the achievements of school system employees’ from many years ago that have played a large role in shaping the Sevier County community.”
Below is a list of this year’s inductees:
Mr. William Wesley Williams – Mr. Williams was born and raised in Sevierville, TN and graduated from Sevier County High School in 1956. He began teaching at Sevier County High School in 1966, teaching for 37 years before a short-lived retirement. He taught for seven more years before retiring once again this past January. He taught every science course available during his 44 years at Sevier County High School.
Mr. Chan F. Huskey – A graduate of Pittman Center High School in 1934, Mr. Huskey held a number of positions in the Sevier County School System. He served as a teacher, principal, Superintendent of Schools, coach and Board of Education member as well as working in the Tennessee Education Department. He worked at a number of Sevier County schools, including Bellevue, Flatt Creek, Dripping Springs, Fair Gardens, Gatlinburg Pittman High School, New Center, Fairgrounds, Pi Beta Phi, Sevierville Middle School and Sevier County High School twice.
Dr. William A. Smith, Jr. – Dr. Smith was an educator all of his life – not just in academics, but in his teachings of life, responsibility, joy, accountability and love, by his story telling and by example. Throughout his years in the Sevier County Education System, Dr. Smith wore many hats from teacher to assistant principal to principal and Central Office Supervisor. The late Dr. William A. Smith, Jr. and his wife Sherry have two children, Will and Kristy.
Eleanor Hayes – Eleanor Hayes’ title was Instructional Supervisor for Middle Grades Education, but her dedication to middle grades students reached far above and beyond her job description. She created many unique programs that continue to provide academic enrichment within the Sevier County School System, including the County-wide Spelling Bee, Science Fair and Fun and Fitness Day.
Emma K. Atchley – A native of Dayton, TN, Mrs. Atchley began her time with Sevier County Schools as a substitute teacher from 1955 until 1964. In 1964, Emma became a full time educator spending a half day teaching French at the elementary school and the other half teaching English and math at Sevier County High. From 1965 until 1994 she taught English, algebra and geometry at SCHS. In 1988, Emma was selected as the Sevier County Secondary Teacher of the Year.
Grady Floyd – For many years Mr. Grady took care of the Seymour and Seymour Intermediate buildings. He led his life as a model for others to follow. Nothing was ever not his “job.” He was always looking for a project, always ready to help fix something and always there, taking great pride in all that he did. Mr. Grady considered a clean, safe building as important as a textbook.
Johnnie M. Ballard – Born in 1915 in the Boyd’s Creek community, the first school she attended was built on land donated by her family to Sevier County and aptly named, Ballard School. After this school closed she then went to Chilhowee Elementary, now known as Seymour Elementary, where she worked as a teacher and principal for most of her 40 years as an educator. In 1963 she was named principal of Seymour Elementary, the only female principal in Sevier County at the time; she also was a full time teacher and the school’s secretary.
Julia P. Householder – Mrs. Householder was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey and taught at Sevier County High School for 33 years. Her subjects included civics, geography, business law and salesmanship, world history and American Government. She also had many other responsibilities within the school and was the first guidance counselor at Sevier County High School. In 2009, she was inducted into the Sevier County High School Athletic Hall of Fame and later received a diploma making her an honorary alumnus of SCHS.
Leroy Helton – Mr. Helton grew up in Sevier County and graduated from Sevier County High School in 1966. Following graduation from the University of Tennessee, Helton began teaching agriculture at Sevier County High School and continued in this position until his retirement in 2004. He taught for 39 years and also enjoyed working with his students in the Agriculture Education youth organization (FFA).
Mary B. McMahan – Mrs. McMahan was born on July 7, 1896 in Williamsburg, Kentucky. She spent 38 years teaching at Pleasant View School in Sevierville, and was the first teacher in Sevier County to earn a Master’s Degree and the only teacher in Sevier County for several years to obtain this high level of education. Mrs. McMahan was honored November 10, 1968 along with five other women as the most deserving Sevier County Educational Americans at a service banquet sponsored by the Jayettes Organization of Sevier County.
Norma Elizabeth Stonecipher Blair – She graduated early from high school in Oakdale, Tennessee. In 1971, her family moved to Sevier County and was hired by Sevier County High School, where she set out to prepare students for their college careers. She devised and wrote a course curriculum for Advanced Composition, which her principals encouraged her to implement in the classroom. In 1990, she was nominated as East Tennessee Regional Teacher of the Year.
Reba Caughron Hood – Reba Hood served Sevier County for 60 years, beginning her teaching career at Laurel Lick School, a small two room school, in Sevier County in 1939. She then taught high school English at Pi Beta Phi High School in Gatlinburg before serving as principal of Underwood and Sunset Gap School. She later returned to her home community of Pigeon Forge where she taught from 1949 until her retirement in 1988. In 1988, she opened Montgomery School where she continued to share her love for children for the next fourteen years. Mrs. Hood was named to the Tennessee Teachers Hall of Fame by the Tennessee Education Association in April 2000.
Rubye F. Shields – Born on October 20, 1914 in Vardaman, Mississippi, Mrs. Shields and her husband moved to Sevier County in 1944. She began teaching at Laurel School before going to the one room Shady Grove School. When Shady Grove closed, Mrs. Shields went to Caton’s Chapel as principal and teacher. In 1956, Mrs. Shields began teaching English at Sevier County High School until a science position became available. She later became head of the science department and taught biology, chemistry, and physics. She taught the first physics class offered at SCHS, and in 1979 she retired after 37 years of teaching.
Freda Hodges – A graduate of Sevier County High School, Mrs. Hodges worked as an assistant and drove the bus for the Douglas Cherokee Head Start Program for several years. After that, she spent time at Kodak Elementary before moving to Northview Middle. In 1985, Mrs. Hodges began working at the Sevier County Education Central Office, serving as a receptionist until she retired at the end of 2001. Since her retirement in 2001, she has worked as a receptionist part-time at the Central Office, bringing her time spent with the Sevier County Education System to 35 years and counting.