Hall of Fame honors Hartselle educators
Special to the Enquirer
The Hartselle Educator Hall of Fame induction was held last month to celebrate the class of 2022. The event was a sellout with standing room only. Under the direction of chair Sabrina Buettner, vice-chair Gary Bell, treasurer Bob Sittason, secretary Libby Watson, historian Sandra Smith and board members Jan Byrd, Bill Fowler, Randy Garrison, Susan Hayes, DeeDee Jones, Johnny Jones, JoAnn Sneed, Cleo Stubbs, Glenn Thompson, Christy Williams and Jimmy Yarbrough, the event was a success and honored five stellar retired educators from the Hartselle school system.
John Robert Cochran taught history, physical education and coached at Hartselle High for 30 years. He was head wrestling coach from 1978-85, girls’ basketball coach from 1985-97, assistant football coach for 10 years, head softball coach for four years and assistant baseball coach for three years. He was known as a dynamic history teacher who made going to school fun and had a great rapport with his students.
Annie Jo Key taught at Speake School for three years before going to Hartselle Elementary, now F.E. Burleson, as a secretary in the morning and sixth-grade teacher in the afternoon. She worked 38 years in education and retired in 1997. Following retirement, she joined the Decatur Morgan Hospital Boot Scooter line dancers performing for nursing homes, retirement homes and special needs classes. She also volunteered at the Decatur-Morgan County Community Free Clinic and as a Morgan County poll worker. She remains active in education and serves as a substitute teacher for Hartselle City Schools.
Wanda McAbee has worked tirelessly for more than 48 years in education, primarily in gifted education. She left the classroom in 2003 to become the gifted program coordinator for Hartselle City Schools. In 2005, she became the program director for the Alabama Council on Economic Education. She moved to the role of executive program director in 2015 and continues in this role.
Sandra Smith began her teaching career in 1971. She took time off to raise her children and, when her youngest entered first grade, she returned to the profession she loved. She retired in 2005 with 26 years of experience. Along with being a full-time middle school teacher, she taught Sunday school at First Baptist for 40 years.
Jo Ann Sneed began her career as a practicing chemist with Southern Research Institute. In 1975, she began sharing her knowledge with students at Hartselle High until her retirement in 2005. For almost 50 years she has taught Bible classes with the Hartselle Church of Christ and has dedicated her life to recognizing and meeting needs where she sees them.