March 15, 2022
The William & Mary University of Instruction group recently collected to unveil a new installation in the school creating honoring trailblazers who broke obstacles at the university and inside of the discipline of instruction and opened doorways for generations of upcoming educators.
The three inaugural honorees on the Trailblazers Wall are Hulon L. Willis, Sr. M.Ed. ’56 Janet Brown Strafer ’71, M.A.Ed. ‘77, D.Sc. ’18 and Jo Lynne DeMary ’68, Ed.D. ’82. Their pictures and biographies are now exhibited in the entrance hallway of the college developing. Added trailblazers will be identified and celebrated each year.
“As we try to live out our institutional values of belonging, integrity and respect and to absolutely embrace an inclusive historical past of our institution, our development is owing to the resolve and tenacity of men and women — people individuals who have the braveness and conviction to act and persevere in order to make a big difference,” reported Dean Rob Knoeppel at the ceremony, which was held through Charter Day weekend in early February 2022.
All 3 honorees have been represented in attendance at the determination ceremony. The late Hulon Willis, Sr. was represented by his son, Hulon Willis, Jr, along with other customers of the Willis loved ones. Janet Brown Strafer and Jo Lynne DeMary attended the function, also accompanied by their families.
The venture had its origins during the university’s commemorations of 50 Decades of African People in america in Home (2017-2018) and 100 A long time of Women of all ages (2018-2019). At that time, a committee was recognized to guide initiatives in assist of the 50th commemoration and to take a look at how the school developing may greater reflect the important contributions of traditionally underrepresented teams. Under the direction of Chair Stephanie Blackmon, Course of 1963 Associate Professor of Better Education, the committee recommended developing a Trailblazers Wall to honor pioneering users of the faculty community.
The committee also led the operate of collecting nominations from the school group and picking the inaugural honorees. All through the devotion ceremony, Dean Knoeppel recognized the work of the committee, the management of Dr. Blackmon and the endeavours of other college and team who contributed to the good results of the venture.
As engraved on the new installation, the Trailblazers Wall honors “members of the W&M University of Instruction community whose lives and tales exemplify braveness and perseverance, and whose dedication, in spite of obstacles, resulted in the advancement of the faculty, the college, or modern society at significant.”
The 3 honorees had been invited to discuss briefly for the duration of the commitment ceremony, then the installation was formally unveiled by the honorees, together with Dean Knoeppel, Dr. Blackmon, and Affiliate Dean of Variety & Inclusion Natoya Haskins.
“It’s been an honor for me to get to know these amazing individuals, to study from them and get the job done with them to progress the mission of the university and university,” claimed Knoeppel. “As I have mirrored on our collecting nowadays, I discover myself constantly drawn to the terms braveness, dignity and honor.”
While celebrating and saluting the school’s trailblazers, Knoeppel urged the faculty group to honor their legacy by continuing to progress operate relevant to equity, inclusion and prospect.
“Education is a uniquely human endeavor,” mentioned Knoeppel. “It is my earnest hope that we attract power from the braveness of these trailblazers and that we have the grace, dignity and humility to progress public discourse to locate alternatives to our latest struggles.”
Hulon L. Willis, Sr. M.Ed. ’56
Willis was the first African American university student to enroll at William & Mary, earning his master’s degree in education in 1956. He was a professor of wellbeing and physical education at Virginia Point out University as effectively as director of campus police. He was a soccer and wrestling mentor and pioneered the observe of martial arts in the area. As a perfectly-recognised sensei, he taught karate to regulation enforcement, endorsing much less violent approaches of retaining the peace.
Willis’s legacy life on in the Hulon Willis Association, the university’s affinity group for Black alumni, and by his loved ones: he, his son Hulon L. Willis Jr ’77 and granddaughter Mica Willis ’13 comprise the 1st a few-generation family members of Black alumni.
Janet Brown Strafer ’71, M.A.Ed. ‘77, D.Sc. ’18
Janet Brown Strafer was one of the three learners who enrolled in 1967 as the initially Black pupils to have an chance to reside in household halls and participate entirely in campus everyday living. Jointly with Lynn Briley and Karen Ely, Strafer was honored for the duration of the university’s 50th Anniversary of African Americans in Home.
Strafer finished an undergraduate diploma in elementary education and learning, adopted by a learn of arts in education at William & Mary. She was a trainer and assistance counselor in Williamsburg-James Town County Community Faculties just before pursuing a 35-calendar year occupation in federal support. After serving as an education counselor for the Army in Berlin, Germany, she took on roles as an education expert at the Army Engineer School, a management analyst at the Pentagon and later a branch chief and senior coverage analyst.
In 2018, the School of Education and learning designed the Janet Brown Strafer Award in her honor. Every single calendar year, the award recognizes just one college student and one school member for their get the job done selling inclusivity and equity in education.
Jo Lynne DeMary ’68, Ed.D. ‘82
Jo Lynne DeMary rose to the maximum situation in general public education in Virginia when she became the state’s first lady to provide as superintendent of general public schooling. She been given both of those her undergraduate degree in elementary schooling and her doctorate in academic leadership from William & Mary. She served as a instructor, assistant principal, principal, elementary college supervisor, director of specific schooling and assistant superintendent of instruction in Henrico County right before getting named point out superintendent in 2000. For the duration of her tenure, she supervised the enhancement of the K-12 written content criteria acknowledged as the Criteria of Studying and played a vital function in the style and launch of an accountability method with annual tests in English, arithmetic, science and background.
Soon after leaving the state office of training in 2006, Dr. DeMary joined the school at Virginia Commonwealth University, assisting to produce and immediate their Center for School Enhancement. She retired in 2012 right after 43 yrs in schooling, but continued to be associated in the field, mentoring foreseeable future educational leaders and serving on many boards which includes the William & Mary College of Education’s Progress Board.