Four regional educators were inducted into the Educational Leadership Hall of Fame at Southern Arkansas University on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

The 2018 Educational Leadership Hall of Fame inductees included:

  • Heath Miller, principal, Lake Hamilton Primary School in Lake Hamilton, Arkansas
  • Barbara Garner, assistant superintendent, Crossett School District in Crossett, Arkansas
  • Kim Cody, principal, Redwater Junior High School in Redwater, Texas
  • Johnny Embry, assistant superintendent, Camden Fairview School District in Camden, Arkansas.

Also at the event, the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Pat Ward of McNeil, Arkansas. Jamie Boyd, director of admissions, Field experience and Licensure and assistant professor of education, also received the Educational Leadership Excellence Award. This award is given to an SAU faculty, staff or community member who has contributed to and supported educational leadership.

Dr. Trey Berry, president of SAU, welcomed the audience, and Ouida Newton, state board member of the Arkansas Department of Education, delivered the keynote address. Connie Wilson, assistant professor and director of Educational Leadership at SAU, introduced the guests. Regan Grubbs, 2018 Miss SAU, helped induct the educators along with Berry and Taylor McNeel, president’s ambassador and 2015-2016 National FFA President.

Berry said that this past year, SAU has seen an increase in the number of students interested in majoring in education. “Teaching is an influential and noble profession,” Berry said, praising the inspirational work of teachers.

In her remarks, Newton asked those present to think about what kind of superpowers they would most like to have, and told the audience that educational leaders possess “awesome power” that can change the lives of students.

She said great leaders can inform, direct and inspire students, describing those abilities as superpowers.

“You superheroes work together to lead and to provide your students with a quality education,” Newton said, thanking the educators for providing passionate and consistent leadership on a daily basis.

Cody praised her experience at SAU, saying that it “reaches out to the small school environment.” She said the support and quality instruction she received from caring professors helped her grow in her career and become a campus leader. Cody received her bachelor’s degree at East Texas State University in Texarkana and her master’s degree in Educational Leadership at SAU.

On being inducted, Embry said he considered SAU “a natural place to go” as his career evolved toward the administrative level. He called SAU a great resource for helping local school districts hire quality teachers. “Education is a wide-open field,” he said, “with needs across southwest Arkansas.” SAU can meet those needs by helping to bring new teachers into the profession. Embry received his bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Education from SAU and his master’s degree from the University of Arkansas. He also received his building and district-level licensure for educational administration from SAU.

Miller, in his induction remarks, said SAU prepared him to become an educator, a coach and an administrator, teaching him not only the theory but application of teaching. “SAU helped me grow professionally,” he said. He received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and building and district-level licensure all at SAU and is currently working on his doctorate at Arkansas Tech University.

Garner praised the opportunities given her by SAU, saying she knows she is making a positive difference in lives. She said students leave her district knowing they have the skills necessary for jobs of the future, or to pursue a higher education. She received her bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Central Arkansas; her master’s degree in Teacher Leadership and Educational Leadership from the University of Arkansas-Monticello, and her District-Level Administrator licensure from SAU.

Ward said SAU is a good starting point for a career, calling the University a home to her. She received her bachelor’s degree from SAU and her master’s degree in business from the University of Mississippi.

This event marked the second annual Educational Leadership Hall of Fame induction for SAU’s College of Education.


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