AISA announces 2013 Hall of FamePublished 1:37pm Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Special to the Herald / AISA
A diverse group that includes two teachers, a pair of coaches, an administrative assistant, an athlete, two administrators, two state officials and two lifelong academic and athletic supporters comprise the ninth class of inductees in the Alabama Independent School Association Hall of Fame and will be honored with a banquet later this year.
“We are excited about this diverse group of candidates selected for inclusion in the AISA Hall of Fame,” said AISA executive director Randy Skipper. “These inductees are a true testament to the level of commitment that is necessary for the success of any independent school and we are proud of the impact that they have made in their respective school communities.”
The Hall of Fame selection committee consisted of past and present AISA officials at the state level as well as headmasters, educators, athletic directors and boosters from the local level. Two media members round out the committee.
The AISA Hall of Fame is open to both academic and athletic standouts as well as lay people who have made contributions either at the local or state level. The 13 inductees include the second athlete inducted by the committee in the 13-year history of the Hall of Fame, with former Lowndes Academy and National Football League star Preston Gothard joining former Glenwood School and current Atlanta Braves pitching ace Tim Hudson, who was inducted in 2011. Like many of the honorees who have spent a large portion of their lives supporting the institutions that have made up the Alabama Independent School Association during its 44-year existence, Gothard has been supportive of Macon-East Montgomery Academy and has served on its board of directors in recent years.
“I had no idea they had even put (a Hall of Fame) together,” Gothard said. “But any time you’re recognized by your peers or your (local school), it’s a great honor.”
This year’s induction class also includes Martha Walker, the wife of 2009 inductee David Walker, marking the first time a husband and wife team have ever been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Walker was one of two inductees that were unanimous selections by the Hall of Fame committee, along with former AISA executive director Don Oswald.
The 13 members of the 2013 class join 81 other individuals inducted in the first eight classes. The Hall of Fame started in 2000 but switched to a bi-annual format beginning in 2005.
A thumbnail sketch of the inductees follows:
Sara Bazzle – A lifelong supporter of the AISA, Bazzle was educated and served as a teacher at an AISA school before moving to the state office in 2004. A 1979 graduate of Calvary Christian Academy, she immediately went to work at the school and remained there until its closing in 2004, serving as a daycare worker, teacher’s aid, church secretary and school secretary as well as a sixth-grade science teacher. She moved on to the state office as a secretary in 2004 but was quickly promoted to activities director, a title she has held over the past 10 years.
David Brantley – While much of his career has been spent in his native Escambia County, Brantley is best known for his service the last 18 years as headmaster at Fort Dale Academy. A 1966 graduate of T.R. Miller, he started his career as a teacher at Fort Rucker Elementary in 1970 before moving into administration as a principal at A.C. Moore Elementary in 1976. Three years later, he was the principal at Escambia County High and two years after that, in 1981, he became the superintendent of the Escambia County School System. In his time at Fort Dale, Brantley has worked tirelessly to make the school a prominent fixture in Butler County and has served in the community with the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Butler County Economic Development Office. He currently serves as the treasurer in the AISA Headmasters Association.
Preston Gothard – Only the second athlete selected for the Hall of Fame, Gothard is a 1980 graduate of Lowndes Academy. While his career with the Rebels came during a stretch where Lowndes struggled on the gridiron, he was invited to walk on by Paul “Bear” Bryant to play football at the University of Alabama and earned a scholarship as a junior. Signed as a free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers, he played five years in the National Football League while remaining close to his alma mater in Lowndesboro. He is the president of Gothard Well Drilling Inc., but volunteers his spare time helping Macon-East Montgomery Academy, where his children attend school. He has served on the board of directors at the school in the past as well.
Patricia Kelley – Has spent the last 29 years working at Abbeville Christian Academy, first in a part-time role splitting her duties of librarian and school secretary, then for the last 13 years as the executive assistant for headmasters Barbara Lindsey and Jim Arrington. A 1969 graduate of Baker Hill School, Kelley worked for a few years in private business in nearby Eufaula, but has dedicated most of her life toward serving Abbeville Christian.
Frank Lamar – A native of Autaugaville and a 1953 graduate of Autauga County High, Lamar has been involved with Autauga Academy since its inception in 1969. Lamar served on the board of directors from 1977-2000, primarily as the board’s treasurer. Chosen as the Autauga County Businessman of the Year in 2001, Lamar served several years as a certified public accountant for the AISA state office as well. A charter member of the Prattville Rotary Club, that organization honored Lamar in 2010 by with an annual scholarship named in his honor.
Jesse Little – A 1964 graduate of Sweet Water, Little served as baseball and football coach at Marengo Academy for parts of four decades, winning four state championships in both. He motivated students off the field as well, teaching biology, physics and chemistry at the school. On the field, he coached football for 12 years, compiling a record of 92-39 while winning state championships in 1981, 1983, 2001 and 2002. He coached baseball for 14 years, compiling a record of 207-78 while winning state championships in 1977, 1993, `995 and 2000. He served two stints in both sports, coaching football in 1981-85 and 2001 until his retirement from coaching in 2008. He went into private business after the 1985 season and returned to the diamond as a coach in 1993-2000 and for one season in 2006. He originally coached baseball from 1977-1981.
Glynn Lott – A 1983 graduate of Lowndes Academy, Lott coached both girls and boys basketball at Macon Academy (1985-90) and Meadowview Christian (1991-94), but became synonymous with Macon-East Montgomery when that school relocated to Cecil in 1995 and Lott became its first football coach. Two years later, he would add athletic director to his title and has transformed the AISA school in east Montgomery County into one of the state’s best-known programs in his dual role of constructing new athletic facilities while coaching five different sports. A 14-time all-metro coach and six-time all-state coach, he has won state championships in football, softball and track while guiding basketball teams to eight Final Four appearances. Since 2008, he has served as the president of the AISA Coaches Association, improving the visibility of that organization in the process. For the past two years, he also has served as headmaster of the school.
Nancy McLeod – Successfully made the transition from the classroom to administration where she has served the 20 years as the elementary school principal at Lee-Scott Academy. A 1959 graduate of Opelika High, she started her teaching career with night classes at a small private school in 1970, then moved on to Scott Prep in 1974. When that school merged with Lee Academy in 1981, she continued her teaching duties at Lee-Scott, adding the role of coordinator of curriculum and instruction in 1984. She left the private school in 1987 to become a teacher at Opelika Middle School, then returned in 1993 to accept the job as Lee-Scott’s first elementary principal, a title she holds to this day.
John Meals – A 1963 graduate of Gibson (Tenn.) High, Meals served as the headmaster during a crucial stretch (1992-2000) at Lee-Scott Academy, transforming that school into one of the AISA’s best before his retirement in 2000. Meals was a champion of both the public and private school sector, believing they needed each other in order for both to be successful. A coach and math teacher at a junior high in Huntsville, he moved over to Grissom High when that school opened in 1969 and held the same duties until his move to the Auburn-Opelika area in 1973 to become a track coach at Auburn University. He started teaching at Opelika High that year and would move into administration at the school, first as an assistant principal in 1978 and then as principal in 1982. In 1987, Meals became the assistant superintendent for Opelika City Schools and held that position until he was hired by Lee-Scott to resurrect the struggling school. He was headmaster for only eight years but during that time he completed the largest fund-raising campaign in school history, negotiated the sale of the school property to Auburn and oversaw the construction of the new campus in 1997. The baseball field is named in his honor.
Don Oswald – A 1967 graduate of Sidney Lanier, Oswald served in the AISA state office for the past 13 years before his retirement in 2012 as the organization’s executive director. He began his career as a social studies teacher at Druid High and Lanier before becoming a principal at Vaughn Road Elementary, Carver Elementary and Baldwin Magnet Middle School. He also served as a principal at Holtville High, Autauga Academy, Greenville High and St. James Middle School before becoming the AISA’s academics director in 2000. He took over the role of executive director following John Faircloth’s retirement in 2003 and ran the private school organization for the next nine years. While retired, he remains active in the AISA as a volunteer helper at state sports events and as the part-time academic dean at Macon-East Montgomery Academy.
Paul Henry Parham – One of the founding members of Jackson Academy in 1969, Parham has remained active with the school for more than 40 years before cutting back recently for health reasons. He served on the school’s board of directors for 41 years and as chairman of the board for 20. As the founder and chief executive officer of Parham and Parham Engineering and Construction, he was responsible for the construction of the school building, the gym and part of the stadium. When a tornado came through years later and caused damage to the school, he helped in those repairs as well.
Virginia Ransom – A 1962 graduate of Wilcox County High, Ransom dedicated 40 years of her life to teaching at Lakeside School before her retirement in 2012 and continues to serve the school as a substitute teacher when called upon. Ranson got her start as a teacher in the Houston County (Ga.) school system in 1965 and moved over to Eufaula the following year, setting the stage for her switch to the private school association in 1972 when she started teaching at Lakeside. She was chosen as the AISA’s teacher of the year twice, in the 1991-92 school year and again in 2009-10.
Martha Walker – A 1966 graduate of Escambia County High, Walker has devoted 44 years to teaching and 40 years to AISA member schools, including the last four at Escambia Academy. It was at Escambia Academy that she got her start in the AISA teaching profession in 1973, but as the wife of a headmaster, she has often had to relocate despite her devotion to the students at the school in which she was teaching. She served at Escambia for 11 years; Monroe Academy for 11 years; South Montgomery County Academy for four years; Greenville Academy for three years; Morgan Academy for five years; and Clarke Prep for two years before returning to Escambia in 2009. She was selected as the AISA teacher of the year in 1997.
Already in the AISA Hall of Fame
Class of 2000
Jeanette Adams, administrator, Patrician Academy
Robert Andress, coach, Hooper Academy
Ted Davis, administrator-businessman, Catherine Academy
John Faircloth, administrator, AISA-South Montgomery County Academy
Delaney Kervin, administrator, Pike Liberal Arts School
Jack Moseley, administrator-businessman, AISA-Morgan Academy
John Niblett, administrator-coach, Central Christian Academy
John Sherrer, administrator-businessman, AISA-Morgan Academy
Buddy Sumner, administrator-coach, Wilcox Academy
Woody Woodall, administrator-businessman, South Montgomery County Academy
Jim Autry, administrator-coach, Greenville Academy
Lynn Blackburn, administrator-businessman, Lowndes Academy
Scott Brenizer, coach, Tuscaloosa Academy
Diane Johnson, coach, South Choctaw Academy
Larry Pickett, administrator-coach, Edgewood Academy
John Segrest, administrator-businessman, AISA-Morgan Academy
John Shoemaker, coach, Lakeside School
David Taccone, game official-businessman (submitted by Morgan)
Class of 2002
Richard Brown, coach, Sparta Academy
Chris de Buzna, administrator, Morgan Academy
Woodie Head, coach, Faith Academy
Mary Hostetter, administrator, Macon Academy
Barbara Lindsey, administrator, Abbeville Christian Academy
Darrell Self, administrator-coach, Hooper Academy
Jerry Steele, businessman, Monroe Academy
Jimmy Warr, coach, Patrician Academy
Bobby Wasden, administrator-coach, Meadowview Christian
Jeanette Worrell, administrator, Southern Academy
Class of 2003
Judy Brannum, administrator, Escambia Academy
Mac Champion, coach, Lowndes Academy-Monroe Academy
Linda Faust, administrator, AISA
Robby James, coach, Catherine Academy-Morgan Academy
Theresa Johnson, administrator, Crenshaw Christian Academy
DeWayne Kervin, administrator-coach, Shelby Academy
Paula Stacey, administrator, Monroe Academy
Herbert Traylor, businessman, Edgewood Academy
Lynn Wright, administrator-coach, Pickens Academy
Class of 2005
Jim Bigger, businessman, Monroe Academy
Marcus Anne Dempsey, administrator, South Choctaw Academy
Robert Gartman, coach, Morgan Academy
James Gentry, businessman, Pickens Academy
Cornelius “Connie” McKelvey, administrator, coach, Wilcox Academy
Elisha Poole, businessman, AISA, Fort Dale Academy
Vestula Thompson, businesswoman, Coosa Valley Academy
Ann Walker, administrator, Meadowview Christian
Paul Word, administrator, coach, Abbeville Christian
Class of 2007
George Fendley III, businessman, Wilcox Academy
James Gardner, coach-businessman, Fort Dale Academy
Scott Langley, businessman, Chambers Academy
Tim Skelton, administrator, Faith Academy
Art Sullivan, coach, Lowndes Academy
DeWight Ward, coach-administrator, Pike Liberal Arts
Susan Weaver, teacher, Glenwood School
James Wilson Jr., administrator-coach, Macon Academy
John Wise, businessman, Crenshaw Christian Academy
Class of 2009
Sue Bell Cobb, businesswoman, Sparta Academy
Buddy Edwards, businessman-coach, South Montgomery
Elizabeth Herring, administrator, Calvary Christian Academy
Betty Hixon, teacher, Pike Liberal Arts
John Holley, administrator, Marengo Academy
Anne Horne, teacher, Lee-Scott Academy
Barbara Hough, teacher, Clarke Prep
Duane Johnson, coach, Patrician Academy
Marjory Johnson, teacher, Macon-East Montgomery
Don McGinty, teacher-coach, Chambers Academy
James Rane, businessman, Abbeville Christian
Paula Reid, teacher, Clarke Prep
David Walker, administrator, Clarke Prep
David Woods, businessman, Southern Academy
Class of 2011
Roddie Beck, coach, administrator, Springwood-AISA
Connie Dickson, teacher, Bessemer Academy
Stewart “Sandy” Harrell, businessman, Lowndes Academy
Dwight Harrigan, businessman, Clarke Prep
John Harrison, game official-businessman, Crenshaw Christian
Tim Hudson, athlete, Glenwood School
Judy Pate Powe, teacher, Wilcox Academy
Billy Skinner, coach-businessman, Edgewood Academy
Elisabeth Smith, administrator, Pickens Academy
Carol Story, teacher, Lee-Scott Academy
John Westbrook, administrator, Meadowview Christian-AISA
Linda Williams, teacher-administrator, Lowndes Academy