Five headed for Houston County Teacher Hall of Fame

The Houston County Teacher Hall of Fame will get five new members Sunday.

Since its inaugural class in 2007, the hall has been used to “honor extraordinary classroom teachers,” according to a release from the Houston County school system. This year’s class includes Barbara Asbell, Gloria Combs, Dorothy Hardy, Shelia Keener and Cerelia Sipe.

To be considered for the honor, a teacher must have 20 years of classroom experience in Houston County and have been retired at least five years. In addition, criteria such as proof of quality teaching, contributions to student success and degrees held are also considered by a committee of former educators and administrators.

Asbell taught in North Carolina, Bibb County and DeKalb County before landing in Warner Robins in 1962. Still a Warner Robins resident with husband, Max, Asbell, who will turn 80 years old next month, retired in 1995 after teaching at five Houston County schools.

Combs, meanwhile, taught her entire 33-year career at Northside High School. The 62-year-old Macon native continues to teach half days at Northside and helped start a gifted ninth-grade social studies program at the school in 2008.

Hardy died in 2001 just a few weeks before her 83rd birthday. A graduate of Georgia State College for Women, Hardy taught for 21 years in Houston County at Perry Grammar School.

Keener is a 1970 graduate of Warner Robins High and went back to work at her alma mater in 1973. She then spent her entire 37-year career at Warner Robins as an English teacher before retiring in 2003. Now a 63-year-old Bonaire resident, Keener taught part time until 2010.

“Today, I love to read, and I attribute this to Shelia’s enthusiasm in those literature classes,” former Warner Robins football coach Bryan Way said in the release.

Sipe, 64, taught for 34 years in Houston County and taught at all three age levels in the process. She began her time in the county at Elberta Elementary and went on to teach at Warner Robins Junior High and Warner Robins High. A native of Ohio now living in Bonaire, Sipe also got the opportunity to attend a seminar at Oxford and now serves on the Houston County Special Olympics Committee.

The ceremony honoring this year’s inductees will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Eric P. Staples Memorial Building at the Houston County board office in Perry.

To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331.