Inductees honored for RCS Hall-of-Fame

Five inductees honored during special ceremony on Saturday.
Apr. 15, 2014 @ 05:03 AM

Educators and supporters of Rutherford County Schools (RCS) gathered at the Carolina Event and Conference Center on Saturday to honor five influential individuals who were inducted into the 2014 Rutherford County Schools Hall-of-Fame.

Inductees Dr. Lucille Daniel, Jacqueline Hampton, the late Inez Padgett, Thomas Porter and Rev. Rob Staley were recognized during the 2nd annual RCS Hall-of-Fame Gala with a special reception and ceremony. The event was presented by the RCS Education Foundation and the Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation. It was sponsored in part by Bryan A. King-Lakeside Mills, Inc.

Videos documenting the inductees' careers were shown and inductee was presented with a crystal recognition award.

"The amount of time spent gathering the information, finding the historical documents and speaking with colleagues and people who worked with them personally took a lot of time," Kevin Bradley, of the RCS Education Foundation, said. "Selfishly, I benefited just from getting to glean the historical information. I feel like now I know these people better than I ever would have without this hall-of-fame being established."

Daniel spent her 44-year career (1952-1996) teaching science at numerous North Carolina high schools including her alma mater, R-S Central High School. A consummate lifelong learner, she earned a doctorate at age 65 in 1996. Believing that she could reach more students by helping other teachers, Daniel provided professional development to teachers in over 15 countries. Authoring and co-authoring over 560 textbooks and curricular publications, she emphasized developing science materials for students with learning and reading difficulties. Along with many state and local awards, Daniel earned the National Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching in 1984. Her contributions to science education have been tremendous gifts to students and teachers in Rutherford County and around the world.

"I'm just so honored and overwhelmed and all other kinds of adjectives," Daniel said after the ceremony. "I couldn't believe it when Kevin called me and I cried. My whole career has just been wonderful."

Hampton has been an educator since 1971 serving the children of Rutherford County as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and central office administrator. In 2008, she was elected to serve on the RCS Board of Education. She also serves on numerous community boards and as a McNair mentor. Thousands of Rutherford County citizens fondly recall their time as Mrs. Hampton’s “babies.”

"The babies (students) are the most important asset we have," Hampton said as she accepted her award. "As you go forward, tell people what a wonderful school system we have here."

Padgett began her career as a teacher at Spindale Elementary School in 1952. After earning her degree as an educational specialist and receiving her administration license, she moved to the central office where she became the director of elementary instruction. Padgett served as assistant superintendent for instruction and as interim superintendent for Rutherford County Schools before her retirement in 1989. Family members Matthew Padgett and Nilda Padgett accepted the award in her honor.

Porter served RCS as a teacher, coach, principal and assistant superintendent. As a principal at Bostic Elementary, New Hope Middle School and R-S Central High School, Porter believed in providing a safe learning environment, support for teachers and fairness to all students. Porter led by example, never asking teachers or coaches to do anything he would not do himself. He found his greatest reward in seeing students from all walks of life reach their potential for success.

After receiving his award Porter thanked his family and former teachers for having positive influences on him throughout his life.

"Congratulations to my fellow inductees. We thank you for your outstanding service to Rutherford County," Porter said. "I've been blessed and I truly love Rutherford County Schools."

Although custodian, bus driver and supervisor were his official job titles, Staley was a mentor to students and a counselor and friend to teachers. From 1970-2013, serving at New Hope Middle School and R-S Central High School, Staley excelled in his work as a custodian while serving as a pastor to his church. He took pride in his work as a custodian and encouraged others to perform to his high standards. Additionally, he used time at work to forge interactions with students, helping shape and influence the lives of young people. Always leading by example, he inspired coworkers and students to greater effort and dedication. Staley left a lasting impression on the students and staff of the R-S Central community.

"I'm honored, thankful and humbled to have the opportunity to accept this great achievement. I owe it all to the many fine people that really shaped my life," Staley said. "I will never forget you, you are the people who helped me be what I am this evening. I pray God will continue to bless each of us in this manner."

Each of the inductees will have a permanent plaque placed in the board room at Cool Springs Administrative Offices.

"It's an honor to have been able to present all of these people with their awards. Thank you for answering the call to serve to better the lives of those in Rutherford County," Bradley said. "In years to come, I know more names will join this list."