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Hartselle Enquirer

Leadership Hall of Fame banquet slated for Mar. 10

The Morgan County Schools Foundation has announced the formation of the Morgan County Leadership Hall of Fame. In an effort to promote a culture of leadership and character building within the community and schools, the foundation will hold its inaugural Leadership Hall of Fame induction banquet and ceremonies on March 10, 2016, at the DoubleTree Riverside, Decatur, AL.

The 2016 class of inductees include:

Honorable Albert P. Brewer – former governor of Alabama and Morgan County native for whom Brewer High School is named. He represented Morgan County through three (3) terms as a state representative from 1954 to 1966. At the  age of 34, Brewer became the youngest in Alabama history to be Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was elected Lt. Governor in 1966 and became Governor upon the death of Lurleen B. Wallace in 1968. As governor through

1970 during the time immediately following the end of segregation, Brewer provided much-needed, positive leadership to Alabama in the difficult task of integration and healing in the community. Governor Brewer later became a law Professor at Samford’s Cumberland School of Law, where he still serves today.

Mr. John R. Cook Sr. – founder of Cook’s Pest Control and Cook’s Museum of Natural History. He was a graduate of Riverside High School (Decatur), a Navy veteran of WWII, and received a degree in architecture from Georgia Tech University. Upon the death of his father in 1950, Mr. Cook gave up his dream of an architecture career to return to Decatur and honor the termite guarantees established by the family business. Under his leadership, Cook’s Pest Control grew from one full-time employee and a handful of accounts to one of the nation’s largest pest control companies with 1,200 full-time employees. These accomplishments were achieved while maintaining a philosophy of providing quality service and a good work place through honesty, courtesy, respect and customer satisfaction. Mr. Cook is being inducted posthumously.

Dr. Martine Bates Sharp – former Morgan County Schools principal and former Mayor of Priceville. Dr. Sharp was one of two women to simultaneously begin as the first women principals in Morgan County. She remains the only female mayor to serve within Morgan County. Dr. Sharp married at 17 and planned to be a house wife, but was soon called into the teaching profession. She pursued her Bachelor’s Degree at Athens State while raising two sons and later earned two Master’s Degrees, her Ed. S, and Doctorate in education. Dr. Sharp’s teaching career began as an English teacher at Priceville, with stops at Brewer and Hartselle before becoming the first principal of Danville-Neel Elementary School.

While Priceville’s mayor, she led the town’s endeavors to obtain funding and approval for their first sewer system and the effort to annex the area around the I-65 interchange.

Dr. Travis Taylor – a Brewer High School graduate who has earned two (2) PhDs and three (3) Master’s degrees – all in the field of science and engineering. Dr. Taylor has worked for the Department of Defense, NASA, and the Intelligence

Community for over two decades and is a registered professional engineer in Alabama. He has authored or co-authored over 16 science fiction novels, two textbooks, over two dozen scientific papers, and holds more than a handful of  patents. He has represented his profession and community through numerous television appearances and his own shows, including National Geographic Channel’s hit series Rocket City Rednecks and The Weather Channel’s Three Scientists Walk into a Bar. Dr. Taylor has brought positive attention to Morgan County and North Alabama through the promotion of science and technology.

The foundation will also recognize other award recipients during the celebration of leadership. The other awards presented will be the President’s Pioneer Award, Community Leader of the Year Award and Corporate Leader of the Year Award.

“This idea was born out of the Foundation’s desire to promote leadership in a way that our entire community can see people being celebrated who have made a difference,” said Kerrick Whisenant, president of the Foundation. “We hope that our students would aspire to follow these leaders and be leaders themselves.”

Phil Waldrep, a member of the Foundation’s Hall of Fame committee, stated, “The importance of character development in our community’s students cannot be overstated. In the short time of our Foundation’s existence, we have seen many students overcome adversity to learn to be leaders. It is our desire to make this a reality for every student.”

Doors will open the night of the event at 5:30 p.m. with a silent auction. Dinner and the program will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets for the event are $50 per person and may be obtained by contacting any Foundation Board Member or Executive Director Wendy Fentress. Board members include Tiffany Britwell, Kim Dillard, Laverne Foster, Jeremy Nails, Richie Sparkman, Ken Whisenant, Joseph Wynn and Anne Vest.

Inductees into the Hall of Fame are nominated by the committee based on their connection to Morgan County and the leadership qualities attributed to them. The Foundation board confirms a nominee’s induction.

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