TROY – Troy University’s Alabama Educational Leadership Hall of Fame gained three new members during ceremonies in the College of Education Thursday.
Inducted were: past State Superintendent of Education Joe Morton, former Alabama Association of School Boards president Robert Lane, and retired Alabama High School Athletic Association executive director Daniel Washburn.
TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., reflecting on the institution’s original purpose to train Alabama teachers, called the hall of fame the University’s “dedication to education.”
“Our motto in 1887 was ‘teach the mind to learn, the heart to feel and the body to act,’ and at the heart of leadership, you find the ‘feel,’” he said. “These three inductees will add luster to the Hall of Fame, and each has made a lasting mark on education in our state.”
Steve Foster, president of the Alabama Association of School Boards who served with Lane on the Lowndes County school board, provided Lane’s introduction.
Lane, a TROY alumnus, has distinguished himself in local, state and national educational arenas. A 24-year member of the Lowndes County Board of Education, he served as the 22nd president of the Alabama Association of School Boards and served eight years as a member of the National School Boards Association Board of Directors. He is the third Alabamian to serve on the NSBA board and is the second of three African-Americans to serve as AASB president. Retired from the U.S. Navy, Lane also served a stint as district office manager for former U.S. Rep. Earl Hilliard.
“My dedication came from doing what we needed to do for the kids of Lowndes County, and that was to educate them,” Mr. Lane said.
Earl Franks, executive director of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools, provided an introduction of Dr. Morton.
Dr. Morton’s 42-year career in education began as a school teacher in Jefferson County, before he became the state’s youngest superintendent of education in Sumter County at age 27. He also served as superintendent of the Sylacauga City School System for 17 years before accepting the position of deputy state superintendent. In 2004, the Alabama State Board of Education unanimously voted to name him Alabama’s 39th State Superintendent.
Addressing TROY education students attending the ceremony, Dr. Morton issued a challenge: “Thank you for choosing education. We need you – step up in teaching and stay in Alabama to teach.”
Luke Hallmark, president of the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools and superintendent of schools for Marengo County, provided introductory comments for Washburn.
Retired as executive director the Alabama High School Athletic Association in 2007 after 16 years in the post, Washburn was a standout high school and college quarterback, and began his education career as a high school teacher and coach at Lanett and Prattville high schools for 21 years, followed by eight years as superintendent in Lanett City Schools. He served as National Federation of State High School Associations president in 2005-2006, and established as a requirement for eligibility the STAR Sportsmanship initiative, which has registered more than 175,000 students, coaches, officials and parents in the state since 2007.
The Hall of Fame was established on July 1, 1982, by the Troy University Board of Trustees under the authority of the Legislature of the State of Alabama. Its purpose is to recognize, by cooperative effort of Troy University, the Alabama Association of Schools Boards and the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools, outstanding leaders and to establish and maintain a Hall of Fame to permanently record their achievements. To date, 40 have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, including Lane, Morton and Washburn.
Portraits of the members hang inside Hawkins Hall, the home to the University’s College of Education.
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