Northwestern State University’s Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development will induct new members into its Hall of Distinguished Educators during Homecoming 2015 festivities on Saturday, Oct. 17.
Honorees are Anna Swafford Bernard of Baton Rouge, Stuart Bird of Bullard, Texas, Marvin Leahrohn Caldwell of Shreveport, Fred Fulton of Palestine, Texas, and Dr. Grady Harper and Douglas McLaren of Natchitoches. Those inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Educators must have graduated from Northwestern State at least 30 years prior to nomination.
This year, the College created a new honor, the Outstanding Young Professionals in Education Award. These honorees are Dr. Cade Brumley of Stonewall and April Giddens of Natchitoches. This award recognizes outstanding young professionals who made contributions in Pre-K through higher education or to the profession of education through teaching, research or community service. Nominees must be 40 years old or younger, have at least 10 years of meritorious service to education and gained prominence in some areas of teaching, administrative achievement, contributions to research, leadership in professional associations, contributions to professional literature or outstanding community service.
Induction ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 17 in the auditorium of the Teacher Education Center on the NSU campus. Prior to the ceremony, a reception will begin at 9:30 a.m., which will include a reunion for education graduates from 1995 and 2005.
Bernard graduated from Northwestern State with a degree in elementary education in 1963. She earned a master of education/reading specialist at Louisiana State University in 1975, +30 at LSU in 1977 and an education specialist degree in administration and supervision at LSU in 1978. She began her career as a classroom teacher in elementary and middle schools and later served as an assistant principal, principal and supervisor. Since 2000, she has acted as an educational consultant, first for the Louisiana Department of Education and currently for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.
During her career, Bernard has represented colleagues at national conventions, served as an officer on several professional associations, worked with Louisiana Department of Education leadership and evaluations teams and served as a trainer, mentor, principal and supervisor for East Baton Rouge Parish schools.
Bird graduated from Northwestern State with a bachelor’s in music education in 1974 and earned a master’s in music education at NSU in 1980. He earned superintendent certification at Stephen F. Austin University in 1999. He began his career as a band director in Sabine and Natchitoches parishes before moving to the Carthage, Texas, ISD, where he became a high school principal, serving from 1990-2000 when he was named principal at Jacksonville, Texas, ISD. He was named Jacksonville superintendent in 2002 and since 2012 has served as superintendent of Troup, Texas ISD, where he has overseen improvements in the district academically, in areas of technology and instruction and set in motion the process to replace three facilities.
Bird had much success during his years as a music educator where bands under his direction consistently earned first division ratings in marching and concert competitions. He was named NSU’s Alumni Band Director of the Year in 1992 and has been active in numerous professional organizations that advance music education and he continues to mentor young administrators, teachers and band directors.
Caldwell earned a degree in health and physical education at NSU in 1970, a master’s in school administration and supervision at Louisiana State University in 1975 and +30 hours in school curriculum at Louisiana Tech in 1978. He spent his career in Caddo Parish as a teacher and coach and later as supervisor of health and physical education. He was also an adjunct professor at LSU-Shreveport. Caldwell wrote and published over 30 physical education and motivational books and presented workshops and programs at the local, state and national levels for students, teachers and the public.
Caldwell served on Louisiana Department of Education committees developing curriculum guides in health and physical education, served as director to YMCA and Kiwanis camps and developed a recreational and fitness program for daycares. He also created the “Every Child A Winner” program that ensured every child had opportunity for success through creative physical education activities. He earned many honors in Caddo Parish, including Coach of the Year, Educator of the Year, Outstanding Young Man of the Year, and NSU’s Distinguished Alumni Award, presented by the Department of Health and Physical Education.
Fulton earned a degree in health and physical education at NSU in 1965 and a master’s in health and physical education in 1972. He completed post M.Ed. hours in educational administration, supervision and reading. Fulton began his career in Sabine and Beauregard parishes before joining the administration at Northwestern State as dean of students and director of student life and later as vice president for student affairs. His last service was as superintendent of schools for Slocum ISD in Elkhart, Texas.
Fulton worked in the public schools systems as a classroom teacher and coached track, cross country, football and basketball before moving into administration as assistant principal for instruction, principal at DeRidder High School and assistant superintendent for instruction and personnel/director of curriculum for the Beauregard Parish central office. He noted that one of the most rewarding days of his career was his appointment to director of student life at Northwestern State.
Harper earned a bachelor’s degree in art from Louisiana College in 1955, a master’s in art education at NSU in 1957, a master’s of fine arts at Stephen F. Austin University in 1969 and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 1969. He taught art at the junior high level beginning in 1955 and at the college level from 1959 until his retirement in 1990. Harper was a professor of art at Northwestern State from 1969-1990 where he served as chairman of the art department for three years, before serving as director of Northwestern Abroad, the university’s student international travel program.
Harper enjoyed a long, successful and influential career as an educator and visual artist. He took art to the community with adjunct workshops, exhibits, demonstrations and international art study abroad programs open to students and the community. During his career, Harper exhibited art in numerous galleries in the southern United States and in private collections nationwide and was recognized with many awards and accolades. He was admitted to numerous juried exhibits and art shows, often receiving awards or acknowledgements for work submitted. He served on the editorial board for Louisiana Life magazine from 1981-85 and authored many published works on painting techniques and art education.
McLaren earned an undergraduate degree in 1967 and a master’s at Stephen F. Austin in 1961. He began his career as a teacher and coach at Logansport High School before serving on the DeSoto Parish School Board as director of Special Services, director of Integration and Reapportionment and later Superintendent of Schools. He retired in 1983 to go into private business.
During his tenure as an administrator, McLaren initiated and implemented the Four Phase program that garnered national recognition and oversaw the building of North DeSoto High School. Prior to that, during his years as a classroom teacher, he taught grammar at the junior high level and coached football and girls basketball, where he was able to impart life lessons among his students.
Brumley earned a bachelor’s degree in health and human performance with a minor in social studies at Northwestern State in 2002, a master’s in education administration from LSU-S in 2004 and a doctorate in education leadership at Stephen F. Austin in 2007. He began his career as a teacher and coach in Caddo Parish before serving as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and later principal in Sabine Parish. He has served as DeSoto Parish Superintendent of Schools since 2012.
Giddens earned a bachelors degree in elementary education in 1996, a master’s in 1998 and + 30 at NSU and is working towards completion of a doctorate in curriculum, instruction and assessment. She has worked in the classroom as an elementary and middle school teacher in Sabine and Natchitoches Parish schools and served as a literacy integration specialist in Natchitoches. She is currently a master teacher at Natchitoches Central High School and an adjunct instructor at Northwestern State.
Giddens has been engaged in leadership training for future teachers and regularly presents at local, state and national professional development seminars. She has received several honors during her career and was named Louisiana’s 2012 Teacher of the Year.