Walker County School Leaders

Posted 3/31/19

Last week I gave a brief sketch of the early Superintendents of Education in Walker County, but space limitations prevented my listing all of them. Today I will give the names and years they served …

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Walker County School Leaders

Posted

Last week I gave a brief sketch of the early Superintendents of Education in Walker County, but space limitations prevented my listing all of them. Today I will give the names and years they served for the entire list so as to provide a complete record.

(1) David Manasco: 1857-1861

(2) Frances Marion Langerd: 1861-1868

(3) Dr. James Lafayette Gilder: 1868-1870

(4) James Carter Scott: 1871-1877

(5) James Wiley Shepherd: 1877-1884

(6) George Washington McDade: 1884-1885

(7) Joseph Sylvester Jetton: 1886-1888

(8) Lycurgus Alexander Morris: 1888-1892

(9) Thomas Jefferson Amiss: 1894-1898

(10)Riley Daniel Argo: 1898-1904

(11) Theodore J. Lamar: 1904-1913

(12) Albert Sidney Scott: 1913-1917

(13) Thomas Jefferson York: 1917-1920

(14) J. Alexander Moore: 1920-1932

(15) James S. Brown: 1933-1934

(16) Albert Sidney Scott: 1934-1939

(17) Paul Roy Brown: 1939-1947

(18) Amos I. Waldrop: 1947-1955

(19) Raymond Edward Faught: 1955-1963

(20) Robert E. Cunningham: 1963-1979

(21) John. T. Brown: 1979-1991

(22) Maury Fowler: 1991-1995

(23) Larry Banks: 1995-1998

(24) Alan Trotter: 1998-2002

(25) Harvey Sanford: 2002-2006

(26)Dr. Vonda Beaty: 2006-2010

(27)Dr. Jason Adkins: 2010-2018

(28) Dr. Joel Hagood: 2019-present

If you attended school in Walker County, which of the above was the first Superintendent that you recall? I started to school at the Parrish Grammer School in 1943 and I vaguely remember Paul Roy Brown, but Amos Waldrop more-so. I remember my principal to be Mr. Wakefield who lived on the Airport Road in Jasper. I recall his place of residence because I thought it to be “neat” to live near an airport as the second world war, with air battles, was still on my mind. I would occasionally quiz him about airplanes as though fighters and bombers were landing and taking off from the airport in Jasper. I was a country boy and didn't know any difference. He was a good principal who reached out to the students. Parrish Elementary School also had well qualified teachers there. It was my fault, not theirs, that I was such a dunce! To their credit, there were some who followed my further education when I was in college and continued to encourage me to do my best. Occasionally, while at Harding College, I would accomplish something which the school would notify the Eagle to publish, and I would receive congratulations from some of my former teachers.Today, as of that time, we have dedicated teachers who have the best interest of the students in mind and take pride in their accomplishments. My wife, Judi, who was in the Oakman Elementary library for twenty years, and has been retired for almost that length of time, likes nothing better than meeting old students and learning about their life following their graduation from school, their families, and careers. She frequently tells me about meeting one of her old students and something about their present lives. It amazes me that she remembers so many of them from their time in the library.. One problem, however. She has difficulty trying to remember which sixth grade boy had a beard, which many now have. It makes identifying them, when they inquire if she remembers them, more difficult.

I think this compassion for students to be standard for all teachers. It gives great satisfaction to know that the time spent in a classroom has made a positive impact on the lives of their students. Sadly, occasionally there will be a name that appears in On The Record (jail records), or in the obituaries, listing the name of a former student. Sometimes it might be a student who has always had difficulties, and other who were good students who got off track at some point in their lives. To learn this about former students from the newspapers is always a disappointment. Conversely, at time there is news of accomplishments from students and many have themselves dedicated their lives to be the teacher instead of the student. There are a number of teachers now who were students when Judi was in the library at Oakman. I am confident that all teachers look on with pride when a former students joins them in the teaching profession.      

In our family there has been, and still are, a number of teachers. Although many of them taught in schools outside Walker County, yet many served in the Walker County School system. I frequently have someone tell me that they were taught by a relative of mine. I will single out one brother, Garland, as I can connect him, and his school, with an interesting story. Garland's first school was in Boldo where he taught math. This was in  the  late sixties, or early seventies, and I have had a number of his students to tell me that they were in his classroom. Garland taught most of his career in the Tuscaloosa City System during which time he was elected state president of the AEA and spent a year in Montgomery in that position. After 25 years in Alabama, he retired, and having property in Pickensville near the Mississippi line, served as a counselor in schools near Colombus, Mississippi for another 16 years, before retiring for good.

Boldo, where Garland first taught, has an interesting story connected with the name.  Spending some time researching the history of schools in the library at Jasper, I found some information that was of interest to me, this information comes by disclosing  the way Boldo got it's name. This information comes from a paper, Tieing Schools to Communities, written by Miriam Austin Lock, Supervisor, Walker County Elementary Schools (not dated).  I will copy it as written.

How did Boldo receive it's name? Many years ago when there was no “church house” the people met for worship under an arbor of  boughs. Sunday after Sunday a doe lingered in the vicinity. Did it come to worship too? Did it enjoy the singing? Did it merely like the salt of the meat scraps left from “dinner on the ground”? You may answer these questions, but the oldest man in the community tells that when a church was built it was called “Boldo Church” in honor of this old doe. Later the community and school became “Boldo”.