The MCS Hall of Fame committee is honored to announce the 2nd annual Hall of Fame for the 2023-24 school year. The inductees represent educators and support staff that made significant contributions to Murfreesboro City Schools (MCS), its students, and the Murfreesboro community.
“The Hall of Fame helps preserve the history and impact of Murfreesboro City Schools,” says Dr. Trey Duke, Director of Schools. “It is an honor to recognize these individuals who have not only impacted students but also our community.”
Inductees for the 2023-24 year represent outstanding individuals varying from educators who have led in statewide dialogues to further the occupation of teaching, brought new national ideas for teaching to our city, and have left a legacy of their work in Murfreesboro City Schools. Inductees for the inaugural year include:
Mabel Baxter Pittard – Teacher – Mrs. Mabel Pittard graduated from the State Teachers College where she met her husband, Homer Pittard. She began her career in a one-room schoolhouse and later taught at Mitchell-Neilson Elementary and Central Middle School. She worked tirelessly as an educator and after retirement, continued her service to our community as a historian for the Rutherford County Historical Society. Pittard encouraged students to succeed throughout her career and continued tutoring and mentoring students into her late 90s. John Pittard Elementary was named after her late son, John, continuing the Pittard legacy for their support of public education in Murfreesboro.
Judy Whitehill – Speech Therapist/Teacher – Ms. Whitehill joined Murfreesboro City Schools as a Speech Therapist at Bradley Academy and continued her service teaching the students of MCS for nearly 30 years. Whitehill became an active board member of the Murfreesboro Education Association as well as the Tennessee Education Association and served both associations as president. Whitehill was the first teacher to serve under Governor Ned McWherter on the State Board of Education. As a lifelong supporter of education, Whitehill has recently served as the president of the Rutherford County and Tennessee Retired Teacher Association.
Sandra Parks – Principal/Teacher – As principal of Mitchell-Neilson Primary (MNP), and Assistant Principal of Cason Lane Academy, Parks was admired by teachers, colleagues, and parents. Her excitement for teaching and willingness to play the part of any character made her a favorite of students. After teaching at MNP for over sixteen years, Parks embraced the opportunity to be a part of the new Cason Lane Academy and its innovative teaching philosophy. Later, Parks returned to her beloved MNP to serve as Principal for another ten years. After retirement from MCS, Parks served as an adjunct professor for education at MTSU and as a Master Clinician with the Tennessee Board of Regents helping to transform the evaluation system for student teachers. Parks returned to MCS as a board member of The City Schools Foundation.
Ernest Victory – Carpenter/Maintenance – For thirty-three years, Ernest Victory changed the appearance of Murfreesboro City Schools. As an expert craftsman and carpenter, Victory has played a vital role in the infrastructure of schools from framing structures, installation of doors and windows, and building custom cabinetry, classroom cubbies and office furniture as needed. His handiwork can be found in each of our 16 campuses. Victory’s willingness to access the need with a pleasurable attitude, listen to educator input and create solutions is known across the district. Victory’s touches have enhanced the overall appearance of Murfreesboro City Schools and his attitude and skills are known as the best of MCS.
A selection committee including retired educators, current MCS staff, and community members carefully chose the members of the MCS Hall of Fame. Other nominees that were submitted this year will be reconsidered for the upcoming year. The committee is comprised of Minerva Smith, Margie Jennings, Roseann Barton, David Scott, Dr. Max Moss, Jeanne Bragg, Butch Campbell, Dr. Trey Duke, and Lisa Trail.
To be eligible for nomination, an individual must meet specific criteria. Once nominated, an individual will remain under consideration for a period of three years. Nominations for the 2024-25 Hall of Fame will open in Fall 2024.
MCS has a rich history of serving Murfreesboro for over 125 years. Through this time, schools have changed in name and size. School reports from 1895 show two schools with 641 students, and twelve teachers. From that time, MCS has grown to become one of the top twenty-five school districts in student enrollment in Tennessee with 13 schools serving over 9,500 students.
A celebration of the Hall of Fame Inductees will be held on Tuesday, February 6, at John Pittard Elementary.