Five honored with induction into SAU’s Educational Leadership Hall of Fame | University of Southern Arkansas

Five SAU Educational Leadership alumni from the area were recently inducted into the fourth Educational Leadership Hall of Fame Induction and Banquet at Southern Arkansas University.

Todd Marshall, Fred Lilly, David Downs, Debbie Huff, Sherri Moore and Dr. Kenneth Booth were honored at the event for their outstanding achievements in the field.

Todd Marshall is the director of CTE and STEM at the Texarkana Independent School District. Marshall is a former principal of Pleasant Grove High School in TEXarkana, which achieved state and national recognition in academics, fine arts, career and technology, and athletics.

Fred Lilly is the retired manager of Camden Fairview. Lilly has served more than 40 years as an educator and leader, receiving numerous awards, including her induction into the Arkansas High School Athletic Administrators Hall of Fame in 2014 and being named a State Administrator of the Arkansas Staff of the Year in 2017.

David Downs is the superintendent of the Emerson-Taylor-Bradley School District. Downs was principal of Taylor High School before becoming superintendent and completed all of his degrees and degree programs at SAU.

Debbie Huff is the Director of Federal Programs for Genoa Central School District. Huff has over 30 years of teaching experience and has earned her Masters degree, building level license and district level license from SAU.

Sherri Moore, former principal of Bradley Elementary School, whose posthumous award was received by her sister, Kelli McLelland.

John Ward, Superintendent of Magnolia Public Schools, gave the keynote address. Ward is Arkansas’ 2022 Superintendent of the Year and a member of the 2017 SAU Educational Leadership Hall of Fame.

Dr. Kenneth Booth received the Dr. Kenneth C. Booth Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership. During the ceremony, the Excellence in Educational Leadership Award was named in honor of 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 director of the SAU Educational Leadership program from 2002 to 2006. During his tenure as director, he completely overhauled the curriculum, rewrote every course, created a comprehensive textbook on educational leadership, and created the first post-master’s certificate programs for the areas of leadership, program and superintendent license.

The recipient of the College of Education Alumni Professorship, Dr. Neelie Dobbins, was also recognized. Dr. Dobbins has taught at the 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.

Janice G. Ball