June Harless Center Hall of Fame to induct four this weekend

Three people and the NASA Independent Verification and Validation (IV & V) Educator Resource Center (ERC) will be inducted into the June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development Hall of Fame. The induction will take place at the annual June Harless Center Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Event Friday, Jan. 12. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner and induction ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in the Brad D. Smith Foundation Hall on Marshall University’s Huntington campus.

Brad and Alys Smith will be honored as inductees. Brad Smith serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Intuit. According to Harless Hall of Fame officials, he has established an innovative culture leading to initiatives to reimagine and reinvent Intuit to harness emerging technology and trends.

W. Clayton Burch, associate state superintendent of schools, is the third inductee. Burch works directly under the State Superintendent of Schools as a leader for the joint strategic plan for the West Virginia Department of Education and the State Board of Education. Hall of Fame officials say that Burch has moved forward an agenda that targets initiatives focusing on college and career readiness, school entry readiness, third grade literacy, attendance and increased graduation rates, as well as professional and personalized learning.

Another inductee is the NASA Independent Verification and Validation (IV & V) Educator Resource Center (ERC). The center, in partnership with Fairmont State University, provides resources and training opportunities to many West Virginia educational communities with science, technology, engineering and mathematics resources for the classroom. The ERC provides inservice, preservice and informal educators with an easily accessible source of materials that reflect NASA’s current research and technology in earth and space sciences.

The event will also feature the presentation of the Hallie Harless Distinguished Teacher Award to Whitney Preston. Preston is a pre-kindergarten teacher at West Chapmanville Elementary School in Logan County, West Virginia.

The Harless Center will also recognize Mary Hodges for her unwavering support of the June Harless Center initiatives and West Virginia educational programs.

Finally, organizers say the evening will showcase the many diverse initiatives of the Harless Center: West Virginia STEM Professional Learning, Early Literacy, Pre-K initiatives, Shewey Science Academy, Improving Teacher Quality grants in Cabell, Lincoln, Wayne, and Mason Counties, outdoor learning, STEM programs with littleBits and Sphero, and the CREATE Lab satellite, with tools provided by the partnership with Carnegie Mellon University.


Photo: Brad D. Smith is among the inductees for the June Harless Center Hall of Fame. The induction will take place Friday, Jan. 12.