10.19.18 – Northwestern State University’s Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development will induct five alumni into the Hall of Distinguished Educators and honor one as an Outstanding Young Professional during Homecoming Festivities on Saturday, Oct. 27.

This year’s Distinguished Educators are Jacqueline McLamore Crew of Shreveport, Melanie Gimbert McCain of Natchitoches, the late Johnny McFerren, Dan W. Poole Jr. and Dr. Dan Seymour of Natchitoches.   Kimberly Eckert of Addis is this year’s Outstanding Young Professional.

Crew earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1965 and a master’s in education in 1972 and taught in St. Mary, Caddo, East Baton Rouge and Natchitoches parishes from 1965-2012, teaching elementary and gifted classrooms and taking on yearbook duties.  During those years, she served on many parish committees, presented in-service workshops to teachers, took graduate classes and mentored younger teachers.  She was twice selected by colleagues as Teacher of the Year, at Magnolia Woods Elementary in 1996 and at St. Mary’s Elementary in 2004.  She continues to work for Louisiana College observing alternative certification teachers and as site supervisor for NSU’s College of Education.

Crew and her late husband of 52 years Robert Crew, a long-time educator and administrator at Northwestern State, were devoted supporters of Northwestern and were awarded an Nth Degree in 2012 for meritorious service to the university and community.  She has been the Tri Sigma Sorority chapter advisor for 18 years and has volunteered with many community organizations.  Mrs. Crew has two children and four grandchildren.

McCain earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1974, a master’s degree in special education with emphasis in gifted education in 1977 and a Master’s Plus 30 in gifted education in 1981. All degrees and certifications were earned at Northwestern State.  During her career, she has served as a classroom teacher in English/language arts and gifted/talented, a supervising teacher, principal, parish/city supervisor of instruction, educational diagnostician, associate educational therapist and Title 1 supervisor.  She was a Distinguished Educator designated by the Louisiana State Board of Educators or Rapides and Orleans parishes from 1999-2003.

McCain’s career experience includes teaching in both public and private elementary schools, as well as serving as an itinerate teacher.  She is owner/consultant for Shelly-Belly Literacy Company and Shelly-Belly Literacy Company for Dyslexia.  She is also a Time to Teach consultant in behavior management and is an Emergenetics thinking styles consultant.  Her professional development activities include study in guided reading, writing, assessment practices, behavior management, learning styles and the brain. She holds membership in several professional organizations and continues to volunteer and substitute teach at local schools.

McCain has been married to Steve McCain Sr. for 48 years and the couple has two children and four grandchildren.   She is involved with several civic, social and philanthropic organizations.

McFerren, a Marthaville native, earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial education in 1955, a master’s degree in administration and supervision in 1957 and Plus 30 at the University of Arkansas.  He taught for 12 years in Natchitoches and Caddo parishes and served on the Caddo Parish School Board for 12 years where he was elected president his last year. He was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1980 from District 7 that covers south Caddo and DeSoto parishes and retired in 1996 with a total of 16 years of service.  He served on several legislative committees, including Retirement and Education, and served as vice chairman and chairman on the Education Committee.  He was selected as a commissioner to the Education Commission of the States.

In 2017, Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed McFerren to the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System, the governing board for Northwestern State and eight other universities.  He was also a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He passed away Aug. 2, 2018.  He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years Patsy Moss McFerren.  They are survived by two children and three grandchildren.

Poole earned his degree in health and physical education with a minor in mathematics at Northwestern State in 1952, a master’s in 1955 from LSU and Plus 30 from both universities. He began his career as a math teach in Ouachita and Natchitoches parishes and was a math and science teacher and coach at Waterproof High School and Natchitoches High School, a math teacher and assistant principal at Natchitoches Central and principal of the Natchitoches 9th Grade Center.  While at Waterproof, he coached the 1959 state track champions and at Natchitoches High School, the 1969 State Football Championship team. He also coached the first 7’0” high jumper in Louisiana.

Along with others, Poole worked to unite two public schools in Natchitoches during desegregation. He was also the clock operator for NSU basketball from 1970-90 and helped officiate NSU track meets from 1963-2013.  Poole’s wife Nelwyn, also a long-time educator, passed away Feb. 15, 2018.  The couple has three children, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Seymour earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences in 1972 and a master’s in personnel services-counseling from Northwestern State in 1978.  He engaged in post-graduate studies at NSU in counseling, psychology, higher education and adult education and earned a Ph.D. in higher education and college student affairs counseling at the University of Mississippi in 1989.

Seymour has worked in higher education since 1973 in various roles involving teaching, but not always in the classroom, serving as a counselor, student affairs administrator, college teacher and upper level college and university administrator. Areas of specialization include personal counseling, marriage and family therapy, university teaching, student affairs administration, career counseling, student development and human behavior and assessment in counseling and education. He holds many licensures and certifications related to mental health and family counseling and has been an active as an instructor, counselor, advisor and program coordinator throughout his career.

He is married to Dr. Cathy Reed Seymour and they have two children, one grandchild and expecting a second grandchild.

Eckert is a high school English teacher at Brusly High School.  She earned a Bachelor of Social Work is 2004 and Master’s of Education in special education in 2013 at NSU and is also a reading specialist. She previously served as a special education teacher, a reading interventionist, a TAP mentor, master teacher and instructional coach before returning to the classroom. In addition to teaching, she currently serves as an NEA Global Fellow, a Stand for Children’s LEAD Fellow, recently received Louisiana’s Public Interest Fellowship for work with Educators Rising and is the 2018 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year.

Eckert pioneered the use of a ‘Genius Hour’ in her classroom to embolden students to take on ambitious projects that align with their passions. While she has received most of her attention and recognition as an English teacher, she still identifies as a special education teacher and applies the lessons and skills she learned during her years with special education to everything that she does. Eckert is married to Richard Eckert III and they have a daughter.