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Fall News From the National Teachers Hall of Fame

Class of 2020 Inductee Dr. Melissa Collins is the 2022-2023 Tennessee Teacher of the Year. Collins is a second-grade teacher at John P. Freeman Optional School in Memphis-Shelby County Schools in Memphis where she has taught since 1995. Collins will represent Tennessee in the National Teacher of the Year competition and serve as an ambassador for education in the state throughout the 2022-23 school year. 

Christopher Poulos, Class of 2022 Inductee and the 150th Member of the National Teachers Hall of Fame, was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives from the state’s 81st district covering Southington, Connecticut. Poulos teaches high school Spanish at Joel Barlow High School in Redding where he has taught since 2000. Poulos won the election by one vote! A national news story (MSNBC) about Poulos’ victory and how he can continue to teach when the legislature is in session is at this link:

The New York Times video article titled "Empty Classrooms, Abandoned Kids: Inside America's Great Teacher Resignation" published on Nov. 18, 2022 includes Class of 2022 inductee Kareem Neal as one of the featured teachers. The link is

There is a new schoolmarm at the One-Room Schoolhouse on the north end of the ESU campus. Standing 5.5 feet tall and ringing the school bell, the bronze statue now gracing the front door of the schoolhouse is the design and creation of John Forsythe, owner of Veritas Bronze in Reading. The statue was commissioned by the family of Gertrude Edens upon her death in January 2021. Her 40-plus years as a classroom teacher began in a one-room school in Sedgwick County. Her children, Anita and Jay Edens, and Jay's wife, Rhonda, felt that she should be remembered in an educational setting, so The National Teachers Hall of Fame worked with them and Forsythe to make the tribute a reality.

There will be a plaque placed near the statue as a tribute to all one-room schoolteachers. There will also be a tapestry and teaching career collage inside ESU's schoolhouse to honor Gertrude Edens. The formal dedication ceremony will take place during induction week for the NTHF Class of 2023 in June when the Edens family will be in attendance.

The Future Teacher Mentorship Program has restarted. For this program, an elementary education student teacher and a secondary education student are selected to spend the last four weeks of the semester in the classroom of a member of the National Teachers Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame supports the student teachers by covering their travel, lodging and food. The student teachers selected for the spring 2023 semester are elementary education major Emma Medlock, graduate of Olathe Northwest High School, and secondary education major Gretchen Grimmett, a graduate of Douglass High School.

NTHF’s 31st annual auction in November — a combination of live radio/livestream and online formats — was a success with big thanks to the Emporia area community; our many auction partners; leadership from corporate sponsors KVOE and Emporia State Federal Credit Union, other corporate sponsors Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Tyson, Longbine Auto Plaza and Kari’s Diamond & Bridal; and NTHF Trustees. The auction total was a little over $26,000, all of which will go toward induction activities. The calendar of induction week events June 13-17, 2023, will be released in the spring.