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National Teachers Hall of Fame Induction Week Begins Tuesday

June 16, 2017

Emporia is getting ready to roll out the red carpet next week for the five new inductees into The National Teachers Hall of Fame as activities are in place for the 26th induction ceremony.

Members of the Class of 2017, who have a total of 146 years of teaching experience, are:

  • Ashli Skura Dreher from Youngstown, New York;
  • Jonathan Gillentine from Kaneohe, Hawaii;
  • Matinga Ragatz from Dewitt, Michigan;
  • Joseph Ruhl from Lafayette, Indiana; and
  • Bob Williams from Palmer, Alaska. 

Wednesday will begin with a visit to the one-room school house, the Memorial to Fallen Educators, and the NTHF museum, where inductees will see their educational displays for the first time and be able to learn more about the Hall of Fame. They will then appear on KVOE’s “Talk of Emporia” at 11:05, have lunch in town, and then reconvene at the museum to livestream and film their roundtable discussion of education issues. Dr. Ken Weaver, Dean of ESU’s Teachers College, will moderate the discussion. It will be livestreamed at That evening the inductees will be honored by Emporia State Federal Credit Union at the annual welcome dinner at Sauder Alumni Center.

Thursday will begin with a tour of the Emporia area for the inductees and their guests, directed by historian Roger Heineken. After lunch, the inductees will participate in the re-dedication ceremony at the Memorial to Fallen Educators (18th and Merchant Streets) at 2 PM.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony which will honor all 119 names on the memorial wall, with special attention to the two names added this year, Kari Chopper of Colorado and Angelica Beard of Texas.

Chopper’s family will be in attendance to lay the rose at the base of the memorial in her honor. Representatives from Senator Jerry Moran’s office and Representative Roger Marshall’s office will also attend to speak on their behalf and give updates on the legislation to designate the site as a national memorial. Debby Chandler from Washington and Saul Ramos from Massachusetts will represent the National Education Association and the Education Support Professionals, honoring their members memorialized on the granite books.

The evening will end in Fremont Park for the Community Band Concert at 8 PM. The concert will be preceded by a root beer float treat, provided through the generosity of Steve and Nina Haught. The name of the event is appropriately called the “Haught “ and Cold Ice Cream Social, with a souvenir cup and float provided to 200 people. The inductees will be invited to march with the children and participate in the Children’s Concert activities. Again, it is hoped that the community will attend the concert and meet the inductees and their families.

Friday will begin at 9 AM in Visser 118 with the showing of the documentary “Most Likely to Succeed,” an analysis of the education system with inspiration for vision and courage to transform our schools to meet the needs of the future. Following the 90-minute film, the inductees will hold a brief discussion with Claudio Sanchez, the Education Correspondent for NPR and Ted Dintersmith, the film’s executive producer (who will be joining by Zoom technology from California). The viewing is free to the public, and all educators are encouraged to attend. 

After lunch, the inductees will reherase for induction night and then gear up for the 4 PM reception at the Hall of Fame museum (Visser Hall 114). Photos will be taken and local as well as out-of-town guests will be able to tour the museum and visit with new inductees as well as with the returning Hall of Famers. 

Everyone will assemble in Webb Hall of the Emporia State University Memorial Union for the 5:45 banquet to be followed by the 7:15 PM induction ceremony. While there is a fee to attend the banquet, area teachers can attend without cost due to the generosity of “Friends of Education” who purchase table seating for teachers. Reservations can be made by calling 341-5660 by noon on June 20th.

The induction ceremony, emceed by WIBW-TV’s Ralph Hipp, is free and open to the public. Beginning at 7:15 in Webb Hall, it will also be livestreamed at

Each year, inductees comment about the warmth and friendliness they feel while in Emporia. This year will be no different for “Teacher Town, USA” – Emporia, Kansas!



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