Hartselle Educator Hall of Fame announces 2022 inductees
Special to the Enquirer
The Hartselle Educator Hall of Fame has announced its selections for the Class of 2022.
The Educator Hall of Fame was established to honor individuals who have made a significant contribution to the education of students who have attended Hartselle schools. This year’s inductees are John Cochran, Annie Jo Key, Wanda McAbee, Sandra Smith and JoAnn Sneed.
These educators will be inducted into the HEHOF April 10 at the sixth annual Hall of Fame Banquet at the Ministry Center at First United Methodist Church of Hartselle.
A time to meet and congratulate the inductees will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the banquet at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at a cost of $30 each and may be purchased at the HCS central office. All profits from the banquet will be equally divided between the Hartselle Alumni Association and the Morgan County Task Force.
Cochran taught for 25 years in the Hartselle City System and added eight more years to his teaching career at Decatur Heritage Christian Academy. At Hartselle he taught U.S. and world history as well as physical education. He displayed an encyclopedic knowledge of history, with many interesting stories that engaged his students.
Cochran was the head wrestling coach from 1978-85, assistant football coach from 1978-88, head softball coach from 1989-93, assistant baseball coach from 1983-86 and head girls basketball coach from 1985-97. He was selected as the Decatur Daily’s Large School Girls Basketball Coach of the Year in 1988.
ANNIE JO KEY
Key’s educational career spanned 38 years, with most of those years served at Burleson Elementary. There she taught second, fourth and sixth grades.
Key shared her musical talents with her students and the community, playing the piano for numerous occasions. Much loved by her students and the town, Key was and still is the ultimate multitasker. At different times, she has been the secretary, treasurer, vice president and president of the Hartselle Education Association. She served on numerous Southern Association of College and Schools visiting teams. She often was a delegate to NEA and AEA Conventions.
In retirement she still remains busy, playing the piano, volunteering and even substitute teaching.
McAbee is well known and respected across the state in the area of gifted education. She served as gifted services teacher for the system for many years, and her students won numerous local, regional, state and national awards in academic competitions.
Her educational career spanned from 1973 until her retirement this year.
She has received numerous awards for her accomplishments. To list a few, in 1975 she was selected as the Hartselle Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator and was first runner-up for the state award that year.
McAbee piloted many programs in the gifted area for the Alabama State Department of Education. She organized the first science fair for kindergarten through eighth grade in the Hartselle City Schools system. She was selected as the Alabama Elementary Economics Teacher of the year in 1996 and the Hartselle American Legion Teacher of the Year in 2003.
She became the gifted program coordinator for HCS in 2003.
Smith taught sixth grade English at Hartselle Junior High from 1971-75 and then eighth-grade English from 1983-2005.
Smith was noted as a positive role model for her students and encouraged students to perform at a high level. She emphasized logical thinking and stressed writing skills, both of which would serve her students well in their future years.
Smith taught with energy and used a variety of activities to give her students many opportunities to be successful.
She was selected as the American Legion’s Outstanding Teacher in 2005.
She loved her teaching career and her students and who made her class a favorite.
Sneed taught science courses full time for 25 years, from 1975-2000, after working for six years as a research biologist in the areas of leukemia and cancer for Southern Research Institute. Her research background helped make her classes both interesting and practical. She also taught part time for four years, 2000-04.
Sneed taught biology, chemistry, honors chemistry, AP chemistry and physics. These are among the most challenging courses in a high school curriculum, both for the students and the teacher. Sneed was up to that challenge.
She was nominated for Outstanding State Physics Teacher and was selected as the American Legion Teacher of the Year in 1998.
She served as Key Club and National Honor Society sponsor at the high school.