One was a teacher and community volunteer who made sure literacy sang out for youngsters across rural West Virginia.
Another took her classroom experiences with special-needs children and shared it across several continents.
And a third was a foot soldier in the War on Poverty who developed one of the nations first Head Start programs in the coal fields of southern Appalachia.
When West Virginia Universitys three newest inductees are ushered in to the College of Human Resources and Educations Hall of Fame this month, theyll bring along the philosophyand proven record of accomplishmentto show that student-centered learning can take place well outside of the classrooms four walls, under all conditions and circumstances.
They are: former music and special education teacher Susan Brown Hardesty, a literacy advocate, national chair of the Mountaineer Parents Club and wife of WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr.; Melanie A. Kerber, a special education teacher who taught in Monongalia County and western Pennsylvania before taking her teaching to the world as a key administrator with NATO ; and Joanna Strosnider Nesselroad, who is nationally known for teaching initiatives designed to give economically disadvantaged youngsters the same opportunities for learning as everyone else.
WVU welcomes the newest class of inductees in a 3:30 p.m. ceremony on Friday, March 16, in the fourth-floor lobby Allen Hall, the home of the College of HR&E. The public is welcome to attend. Please RSVP to Patty Ryan at 293-3261.
These three inductees have used their education as a tool to help others achieve success in ways they never imagined when they began their careers,HR&E Dean Anne Nardi said.Their example is an inspiration to us and to our students.
Brief biographies of the inductees:
Susan Brown Hardesty
These days, WVU s First Lady is known for her tireless leadership of the Mountaineer Parents Club, an organization she and her husband established in 1995 for the benefit of moms, dads and families hoping to stay connected with the University their sons and daughters were attending.
Eight hundred parents at freshman orientation were recruited that first year. Today, some 15,000 families proudly sport the Clubs distinctive logo on pins in their lapels and decals on their car windows.
More importantly, active chapters are found in all 55 counties in West Virginia, all 50 states and in Canada, Germany and South America. There are events throughout the year, a parent advocate, informative e-mails and newsletters,summer send-offpicnics to herald the fall semester, scholarships and more.
But before the Club, there was the classroom. And the community.
Hardesty taught music and special education in West Virginia schools for 16 years, and her legacy can be found in literacy: In 1988, she developed theRead Aloud Programin Jackson County, an endeavor designed to foster the importance of reading skills for lifenot to mention the simple pleasure of settling in with a good book. The program was a page-turner, and it expanded to every county in the state.
Her advocacy extended beyond the classroom, as well. She volunteered for countless community causes while directing her church choir and organizing classical music concerts in the Charleston area, where her husband was a practicing attorney a member of state government.
She has held numerous state and national appointments over the years, and her past awards include 1997Daughter of the Yearby the West Virginia Society of Washington, D.C.; and the Dr. Earl L. Core Award for volunteerism in 2004 by the Greater Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce.
Hardesty earned her bachelors degree in music education in 1967 from WVU s College of Creative Arts, and a masters in special education in 1974 from the University of West Virginia College of Graduate Studies, at Institute.
Hardesty and her husband are the parents of Ashley and Carter, both graduates of WVU .
Melanie A. Kerber
On the map, Bethel Park, Pa., is a long way from Brussels. Unless youre Dr. Melanie Kerber, and you live by the mantra,A classroom is a classroom.
The education philosophy of Kerber is the same today as it was in 1974, the year she began her career teaching students with severe learning and behavioral difficulties in Monongalia County.
Every student can learn, the teacher said, and every student should have the chance to learn.
Kerber has been a perpetual student herself, making sure she learned all she could in every professional appointment shes ever taken in a career that crosses three decades.
After moving on to Highland Park School in Bethel Park, Pa., she returned to Morgantown and a doctoral fellow appointment at the Kennedy Center Federal Correctional Institution. From there, she moved east, over the mountains to Allegheny College in Maryland, where she served as an assistant professor of early childhood education and special education.
An offer from the Springwood School adolescent treatment center in Leesburg, Va., moved her into administration, where the-then director was recognized as the founder of the Children�€~s Center, an in-house intervention facility for pre-teens.
From Springwood, she became director of the Commonwealth Academy in Falls Church, Va., a college preparatory program for Washington, D.C. area youngsters.
The educator who thinks locally also acts globally: she became an education advocate in Jamaica, penning weekly columns for the Kingston Journal and appearing on radio and television there as an education consultant. She also co-founded the Jamaican Attention Deficit Disorder Association.
She most recently returned from a four-year appointment in Brussels as the management assistant to R. Nicholas Burns, NATO s U.S. ambassador. While there, she was a columnist for Brussels Weekly, and she also instituted aTake Your Child to Work Dayprogram for the U.S. Mission.
She was awarded an elementary education degree from Pennsylvanias Edinboro University in 1974, and is a special education graduate of WVU s College of HR&E, earning a masters degree in 1979 and doctorate in 1991.
Kerber is principal of Sto-Rox High School, in McKees Rocks, Pa. She and her husband, Frank, have a son, Brandon.
Joanna Strosnider Nesselroad
In 1965, President Johnson fired the opening salvos in his War on Poverty, and one of the first people to enlist was Joanna Strosnider Nesselroad.
The educator developed one of the nations first Head Start programs in McDowell County, the heart of West Virginias southern coalfields. As director of the training program there, Nesselroad trained both teachers and administrators, and the principles she established then remain in place today.
Nesselroad is recognized as a state pioneer in early childhood education, a reputation that led to her Head Start appointment. She has taught that subject, and home economics, at WVU , Fairmont State University, Murray State University and Penn State University. Before that, she was a public school teacher in Monongalia and Hampshire counties in West Virginia.
At Fairmont State, where she retired in 1984, shecreated the schools associate and bachelors degree programs in child care and development.
Retirement or not, shes kept busy over the past two decades, advising preschool programs, the states Visiting Homemakers Service and West Virginia Home Economics Education Program.
She also served as a consultant for the national award-winningLets Talk Sense about Sexvideo production by the WVU Extension Service.
Nesselroads research and teachings have long been recognized as the national standard for educators. Her professional biography has appeared in The Whos Who of Women, International Bibliography and The Whos Who Record of Child Development Professionals.
She earned bachelors and masters degrees in 1946 and 1955 from WVU , and was awarded a doctorate in education from the College of HR&E in 1978. She also studied at the University of Tennessee, Penn State University, New York University and Britain Infant Schools and Paget Applied Research Institute, both in London.
The educator divides her time in West Virginia and Florida with her husband, Dr. Paul Nesselroad. They have a son, Mark, a daughter, Karina, and four grandchildren.