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The Department of Education and the National Education Association welcomes 2013 National Teacher Hall of Fame inductees

WASHINGTON - May 03, 2013 -

Five exceptional teachers were honored at a reception at the National Education Association (NEA) headquarters this evening as the Class of 2013 inductees into the National Teacher Hall of Fame (NTHF). The teachers, from Texas, Missouri, Maryland, and Oklahoma, met earlier in the day with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to discuss pressing education issues they deal with in their schools. 

This year’s class includes these five teachers with a combined total of 116 years of teaching experience. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel spoke to a group of local, state, and national education leaders at the reception.

“Each year, the National Teacher Hall of Fame honors five individuals from more than 7 million great teachers in the U.S.,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Those selected are exceptional career teachers who demonstrate excellence in teaching. They have made student learning their top priority by finding creative and effective ways to engage their students. Congratulations and thank you to all of those recognized by the Teacher Hall of Fame.” The inductees are:


Deborah Cornelison 

9th-grade physical science

Byng Junior High

Ada, Okla.

25 years experience

Rebecca Gault   

6th-grade language arts

Bel Air Middle School

Bel Air, Md.


22 years experience

Darryl  Johnson  

10th–12th-grade English/ language arts

Smithville High School

Smithville, Mo.

21 years experience

Martha McLeod 

5th-grade science lab instructor

Fulton 4-5 Learning Center

Rockport, Texas

20 years experience

Beth Vernon

8th-grade earth and space science

Brittany Hill Middle School

Blue Springs, Mo.

28 years experience


Ms. Cornelison, Ms. Gault, and Mr. Johnson are longtime NEA members. The inductees will travel next to Emporia, Kan. for a series of related events culminating in a formal banquet and induction ceremonies on Friday, June 14. The story of the inductees’ careers will be on permanent display at The National Teachers Hall of Fame Museum in Emporia.  

The National Teachers Hall of Fame was founded in Emporia, Kan., in 1989 to honor career teachers—and the teaching profession—through a recognition program and museum. Nominees must be certified public or non-public schoolteachers, active or retired, with at least 20 years of experience in teaching grades preK–12.

Since the inaugural induction ceremonies in 1992, 105 educators from 37 states and the District of Columbia have been inducted. This year’s class of inductees represents the 22nd anniversary of NTHF induction ceremonies. For more information on the inductees and the Hall of Fame, please go to

Photos of the inductees’ meeting with Secretary Duncan and the NEA reception can be found here.

See NEA Today’s coverage of the inductees’ Washington, D.C. events at

Follow NEA at

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing

more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

Sara Robertson, 202-822-7823,


National Teacher Hall of Fame

Meet the 2013 National Teacher Hall of Fame Inductees

Event Photos