Three more outstanding educators were inducted Tuesday into the Gov. Louie B. Nunn Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame.
Eloise Hadden of Auburn, Anne Padilla of Bowling Green and Juanita Park of Rockport were honored as the sixth class of Teacher Hall of Fame inductees during a ceremony at the State Capitol in Frankfort.
“This year’s inductees are indicative of the high quality of Kentucky teachers,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “We’ve all come to expect great things from Kentucky teachers.”
“I think I was predestined to be a teacher,” said Park, who began her teaching career in 1944 in Ohio County.
She spent much of her 67-year career working with student teachers in WKU’s Teacher Education program until retiring in 2012. “It’s been marvelous,” Park said. “I want to thank the university for what they’ve allowed me to do.”
Hadden, who taught Home Economics for 33 years in Logan and Simpson counties, charted the path toward a teaching career as a 3-year-old when she sat on the steps at her family’s home in Texas and taught school for her dolls. “I love teaching,” she said.
“It was the best career anyone could have. Every day was different and I always anticipated a good day and it was a good day most of the time,” Hadden said.
Padilla, who has taught English and Composition for the past 28 years at Bowling Green High School, anticipated being a kindergarten or preschool teacher but changed her mind as a college junior in New York City. Her first job at Port Richmond High School in Staten Island, N.Y., confirmed that she made the right decision. “My first year of teaching was a great year. It was in New York City in a New York City public school and I loved it. I’ve loved it ever since,” Padilla said.
The Capitol Rotunda was filled with family members, friends, legislators, state officials and former students who were on hand to show their appreciation to the three inductees and the lives they’ve impacted.
“I was very surprised,” Padilla said of the Hall of Fame recognition. “It was a nice moment.”
“It’s just unbelievable,” Hadden said of the ceremony. “It was wonderful that so many of the former teachers I taught with are here today.”
Park said she worked with student teachers in about 20 counties and those student teachers have gone onto influence countless other students. “Students are what it’s all about,” she said.
WKU President Gary Ransdell congratulated the newest Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame members and thanked the statewide selection committee for their work in selecting this year’s class.
“Western Kentucky University is honored to be the host of the Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame,” Dr. Ransdell said. “Our roots in teacher education run deep and with great distinction.”
The Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame was created in 2000 through a gift by former Gov. Nunn, who hoped to recognize the vital role that primary and secondary teachers in Kentucky play in the education of young people and the positive impact education has on the state’s economy.