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Marshall's June Harless Center to induct 3 into hall of fame

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research & Development Hall of Fame will gain three new members  May 2 during the 10th annual Harless Hall of Fame Dinner and ceremony at the Marshall University Foundation Hall, Home of the Erickson Alumni Center.

A showcase of the Harless Center's work begins at 5 p.m., followed by a reception and dinner at 6 p.m. 

The ceremony will recognize those who have been identified as outstanding contributors to West Virginia's educational system with special focus on the rural areas of the state, said Stan Maynard, executive director of the center. 

Inductees into the Hall of Fame typically include one teacher, one administrator and one business/educational partner or organization that has provided exemplary leadership to ensure the success of the education of all students in West Virginia.  This year's hall of fame inductees include: 

  • Gov. Gaston Caperton, former president of the College Board and a former two-term governor of West Virginia;
  • Illah Nourbakhsh, professor of robotics, director of the Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) Lab and head of the Robotics Masters Program in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University; and,
  • A. Michael and Henriella Perry, leaders in West Virginia business, education and health communities and co-founders of the Heritage Farm Museum and Village. 

The showcase and the presentation of the Hallie Harless Distinguished Teacher Award will also be part of the night's events. This year's recipient is Joni Shortidge, a special education teacher from Guyan Valley Middle School in Lincoln County.  

William A. Smith, superintendent of Cabell County Schools, Gerry Sawrey, assistant superintendent of Cabell County Schools and John Ruddick, general manager of Verizon, also will be recognized for their unwavering support of West Virginia educational initiatives.  

The mission of the June Harless Center is to provide leadership in educational initiatives for West Virginia educators and students, providing educators and families of rural West Virginia with a support system that addresses educational problems, sustains school improvement and provides positive growth in all educational factors.  The June Harless Center currently has ongoing projects with many counties in the state providing support and professional development.