Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE – Sarah Moore Greene, the 100-year-old civil rights leader and beloved Knox County educator, is one of the seven educators who will be honored on March 25 when they are inducted into the Educators Hall of Honor, housed in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The ceremony, which is open to the public, begins at 6 p.m. at the UT Visitor’s Center, on Neyland Drive, near Kingston Pike.

The Hall of Honor is a place to acknowledge the work of professionals who already have established themselves in the education field. The hall is open to any professional in the United States, and members have come from throughout Tennessee and the nation. Those honored have been teachers from elementary school to the college ranks.

The new group of honorees includes:

  • Edward Counts, now deceased, who was a professor in UT’s College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. He taught courses in multimedia, digital animation and instructional design. He also was an independent filmmaker whose animated shorts have aired on Showtime, the Movie Channel and PBS. His deep appreciation for the storytelling traditions of Appalachia and his respect for folklore came across in many of his films, which included the children’s films “Joey Learns to Fly” and “Schlafe, Mein Prinzchen,” an animated version of a traditional German lullaby, “Everybody Likes Stories,” a ldocumentary film about Kentucky folktales.
  • Ella Day, now deceased, who was a professor and department head in UT’s College of Home Economics. In the 1920s and 1930s, she helped transform the college’s nursery into a year-round school, the forerunner of what is now the college’s Early Learning Center.
  • Greene, who turned 100 in February, was the daughter of an emancipated slave who grew up in poverty in rural East Tennessee. Greene started her own kindergarten in the 1940s and was an educator for many years. She was elected to the Knox County School Board in 1969. Sarah Moore Greene Elementary School in east Knoxville is named in her honor.
  • Cheryl Kershaw, clinical assistant professor and coordinator of school-based experiences in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.
  • Marilyn Liberman, a member of the Board of Visitors and retired fifth grade teacher at Mount Olive Elementary School in Knoxville. Liberman was a district finalist for the 2003 state Teacher of the Year award.
  • Ward Sybouts, who died in September 2009, was professor emeritus of educational administration at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He was known for his contributions to the construction of a knowledge base about distance education and systems planning in Nebraska and throughout the United States. He was the father of Dulcie Peccolo, director of student services in the College of Education, Health and Human Services.
  • Mary Elizabeth Spencer Venable, who died in 2003, a preschool teacher. She was the mother of Knoxville News Sentinel columnist Sam Venable, and he wrote this about her in a 2008 column: “She taught university classes at one point in her long career. But her most rewarding vocational years were the ones spent setting up and running kindergarten programs. She helped implement Head Start, putting untold thousands of boys and girls from low-income families on the path to learning.”
  • In addition to being a means of honoring great educators, the Hall of Honor also benefits students training to be teachers.

Nominations are made with contribution of at least $1,000. For a contribution of $25,000 or more, a separate scholarship endowment fund will be established in the honoree’s or donor’s name.

To learn more about the Educators Hall of Honor, see

Donations to the college — including those made for the Educators Hall of Honor — also count toward the $1 million challenge made by an anonymous donor to raise money to provide financial assistance to students enrolled in UT’s teacher internship program.

The donor, a longtime supporter of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, has offered to give $1 million in memory of the late J. Clayton Arnold if the college can collect at least $1 million in contributions from other supporters.

The J. Clayton Arnold Challenge is based upon the inspiration of a man whose desire was “investing in the human race.” Arnold, a rural mail carrier in Williamson County, began providing financial assistance to students studying to be teachers in 1965. While Arnold only earned a $60-per-month salary and never attended college, he was a smart man who made investments throughout his 95 years. These investments allowed him to give UT Knoxville its first $1 million gift.

“By making a charitable gift to the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, you are not only helping to meet the J. Clayton Arnold Challenge, but also making an investment in future educators whose impact will last beyond a lifetime,” said Bob Rider, dean of the college.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,