Five area SAU educational leadership alumni were inducted into the fourth Educational Leadership Hall of Fame Induction and Banquet at Southern Arkansas University on Monday, November 8, 2021. Honored at the event for their outstanding achievements in the field were Todd Marshall, Fred Lilly, David Downs, Debbie Huff, Sherri Moore, and Dr. Kenneth Booth.
Todd Marshall is the director of CTE and STEM at Texarkana Independent School District. Marshall is a former principal of Pleasant Grove High School in Texarkana, Texas, which earned state and national recognition in academics, fine arts, career and technology, and athletics. Fred Lilly is the retired superintendent of Camden Fairview. Lilly served for more than 40 years as an educator and leader, receiving many awards including induction into the Arkansas High School Athletic Administrators Hall of Fame in 2014 and being named Arkansas Personnel State Administrator of the year in 2017. David Downs is the superintendent of Emerson Taylor Bradley School District. Downs was principal at Taylor High School before becoming superintendent and completed all of his degrees and programs of study at SAU. Debbie Huff is the federal programs director at Genoa Central School District. Huff has more than 30 years in education and received her master’s degree, building-level, and district-level licensure from SAU. Sherri Moore, former Bradley Elementary School principal, whose posthumous award was received by her sister, Kelli McLelland.
John Ward, superintendent of Magnolia Public Schools, delivered the keynote address. Ward is the 2022 Arkansas Superintendent of the Year and a 2017 SAU Educational Leadership Hall of Fame member.
Dr. Kenneth Booth received the Dr. Kenneth C. Booth Educational Leadership Excellence Award. During the ceremony, the Educational Leadership Excellence Award was named after Booth, a dedicated and innovative former Educational Leadership program director. The award is now the Dr. Kenneth C. Booth Educational Leadership Excellence Award. He served as the director of the SAU Educational Leadership program from 2002-2006. During his time as director, he completely revised the program, re-wrote every course, created a comprehensive Educational Leadership handbook, and created the first post-masters certificate programs for the principalship, curriculum, and superintendent licensure areas.
The College of Education Alumni Professorship recipient, Dr. Neelie Dobbins, was also recognized. Dr. Dobbins has been teaching at SAU since 2010 and has an exemplary record of teaching, service, and research. She has chaired the Department of Teacher Education since 2015 and served as the Department’s Accreditation Coordinator since 2017.