Fallen Educators to be Remembered at Nationally Recognized Memorial


A wreath honors those included on the Memorial to Fallen Educators during last year’s rededication ceremony, June 22, 2017, in Emporia, Kansas. (Photo by Will Austin/Emporia State University)

Following the passage of the bill recognizing the Memorial to Fallen Educators as a national site, Emporia State University and the National Teachers Hall of Fame will host a rededication ceremony June 21, 2018. At the ceremony, fallen teachers and staff members from the past year will be added to the memorial. Names include those of teachers and staff members from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, victims of recent school shootings.

The National Memorial to Fallen Educators honors teachers, administrators and staff members who lost their lives while working for our nation’s schools and was created in 2013, following the tragedy at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, where six educators lost their lives. The rededication ceremony comes after President Donald Trump signed a bill to nationally recognize the site on ESU’s campus. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) with bipartisan support from representatives and senators from 10 different states.

“We are ecstatic about the national memorial designation and are making big plans for the rededication ceremony,” said Carol Strickland, executive director of the National Teachers Hall of Fame, sponsor of the memorial.

The ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m., will consist of tributes for each of the 10 fallen educators and placing a white rose at the base of the memorial for each. In addition, the members of the Class of 2018 National Teachers Hall of Fame Inductees will place the class wreath and plant two redbud trees as their gift to the memorial site. A number of other dedications and speeches will take place, including from Sherry Shaw, the National Education Association Education Support Professional of the Year, and Dr. Anthony Salvatore, an administrator from Newtown, Connecticut.

Salvatore will also announce that the NTHF Museum will become the permanent home of a dream catcher, designed and created in 1999 by a Native American tribe in Minnesota to be presented to the students at Columbine High School after the tragic shooting. It has since moved to Minnesota, Connecticut and now resides in Parkland, Florida, after tragic school shootings in those states.

The National Teachers Hall of Fame is also raising funds to purchase a new granite book for the memorial. The recent deaths of teachers and staffers will fill the two current books with more teachers yet to add to account for those killed over the past 12 months. $17,000 is needed to begin the process of adding a book, with the final cost coming to $39,000. The National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers are helping the fundraising effort and are encouraging the community to help as well. For more information on donating to the cause, call the Hall of Fame at 620-341-5660 or go online to www.nthf.org. All donations are tax-deductible.

“Donating to the memorial is an excellent way for people to honor educators who have made a difference in their lives,” said Strickland. “No donation is too small, and larger donations are always welcome.”

Names to be added include:

  • Ruth Berg, receptionist, Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Aug. 2, 2017, natural gas explosion
  • John Carlson, janitor, Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Aug. 2, 2017, natural gas explosion
  • Daniel Buesgens, buildings and grounds employee, Chaska Middle School East, Chaska, Minnesota, Jan. 8, 2018, fell from a ladder
  • Richard Lee Proffitt, bus driver, Prince William County Schools, Bristow, Virginia, Feb. 5, 2018, struck and killed by another bus driver in the parking lot of the school transportation center
  • Scott Beigel, teacher, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Parkland, Florida, Feb. 14, 2018, school shooting
  • Aaron Feis, security guard & football coach, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Parkland, Florida, Feb. 14, 2018, school shooting
  • Chris Hixon, athletic director, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Parkland, Florida, Feb. 14, 2018, school shooting
  • Jennifer Williamson, teacher, East Brook Middle School, Paramus, New Jersey, May 17, 2018, bus accident on field trip in Mount Olive, New Jersey
  • Glenda Ann Perkins, substitute teacher, Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, Texas, May 18, 2018, school shooting
  • Cynthia Tisdale, substitute teacher, Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, Texas, May 18, 2018, school shooting

Dignitaries expected to attend:

  • Allison Garrett, ESU President
  • Danny Giefer, Mayor of Emporia
  • Dr. Jeff Colyer, Governor of Kansas
  • Senator Jerry Moran or representative
  • Congressman Roger Marshall or representative
  • Mark Schreiber, Kansas Representative, District 60
  • Jeff Longbine, Kansas Senator, District 17
  • Dr. Anthony Salvatore, Newtown, Connecticut, administrator
  • Anna Fusco, Florida Education Association official
  • Noel Candelaria, Texas State Teachers Association and National Education Association (NEA) official
  • Sherry Shaw of Alaska, National Education Association Education Support Professional of the Year
  • Mark Farr, Kansas NEA President


April 16, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON D.C.- Today Congress passed legislation to recognize the Fallen Educators Memorial in Emporia, Kansas a national memorial. The Fallen Educators Memorial honors teachers, administrators, and staff members who lost their lives while working for our nation’s schools.

“Educators devote their lives to preparing our children for life-long success and rewarding careers, it is so important to remember these men and women as the heroes that they truly are.” Rep. Marshall said.

Rep. Marshall and Sen. Moran both introduced bills in the House and Senate for its designation.

“Educators play an integral role in shaping the next generations of Americans, and their dedication to the safety of their students too often goes unrecognized,” said Sen. Moran. “I applaud the House for passing this legislation to designate this memorial a National Memorial and I look forward to the president signing this bill into law, making certain the memorial continues to recognize fallen educators whose passion and commitment to their students have benefitted us all.”

Once the president signs this into law, the memorial will be the first nationally designated memorial in Kansas.

“On behalf of The National Teachers Hall of Fame staff and Board of Trustees, we are deeply indebted to the hard work of Senator Jerry Moran and Representative Roger Marshall to bring our vision of a national memorial to a reality,”Director of the National Teachers Hall of Fame, (NTHF which created the memorial) Carol Strickland, said.

The United States currently lacks a national memorial to honor our fallen teachers.

“They are sometimes the first responder, protector, and guardian of our children, providing a safe haven for learning to occur.  The memorial will forever remember the names and stories of these educators who lost their lives while doing what they loved, working with America’s school children,” Strickland said.

Today the memorial honors 119 American educators have lost their lives while performing their professional duties.

“While we hope that no more names will ever have to be added, this memorial site provides a degree of comfort and solace to the loved ones left behind after accidents and tragedies occur in our nation’s schools,” Strickland said.

Following the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 that killed six educators and 20 children, the Emporia Community and the NTHF began brainstorming ways to honor the educators who lost their lives in the attack. That’s when they realized that there was nothing currently commemorating our nation’s fallen teachers. They began raising money and built the memorial in just two years.

“This was a true community effort. I am so proud of the folks at the National Teacher’s Hall of Fame and Emporia State University for their leadership that got this memorial off the ground, and I’m proud that it will soon get national recognition,” Rep. Marshall said.

Memorial to Fallen Educators to be Expanded!

Emporia, Kansas; October 19, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Carol Strickland, Executive Director


The Board of Trustees of The National Teachers Hall of Fame [NTHF] voted unanimously at Friday’s annual strategic planning meeting that the Memorial to Fallen Educators will be expanded to include educators who have “fallen in the line of duty” on the higher education level.

The original memorial site, dedicated in June of 2014, tells the stories of 115 educators who lost their lives in their PreK-12 schools in America, dating back to 1764. Two recent tragedies led to the discussion of expanding the reach of the memorial: Larry Levine’s murder at Umpqua Community College in Oregon on October 1st and Dr. Ethan Schmidt’s murder at Delta State University in Mississippi on September 14th. Dr. Schmidt’s death touched many at Emporia State University, home of the Hall of Fame and the Memorial to Fallen Educators, because Dr. Schmidt received both his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Emporia State before earning his doctorate at The University of Kansas.

Melinda Whetzel, Former Chair of the NTHF Board of Trustees, explains that the action will not change the mission or the vision of the NTHF: “We will always be The National Teachers Hall of Fame that honors five outstanding career classroom teachers each year with induction into the Hall of Fame. The Memorial is a separate way to reach out to all educators at all levels now. We included teachers, administrators and education support professionals on our original memorial, and we think it is fitting to also memorialize our fallen educators from higher education.”

The task of fundraising and researching the names to be etched on the 6’ by 6’ black granite memorial will be a challenge, according to Carol Strickland, Executive Director. “We want to make sure that all eligible names are included from public and private colleges, universities, and technical colleges. We have no idea how many names there are, just as when we started the search for names for the original memorial. We are depending on people from all over the nation to help us find these names. Additionally, we will be asking donors to help us fund the cost of the memorial book, engraving, and installation, which will be around $50,000.”

Research and fundraising efforts are now underway. For more information or to help, contact NTHF at 1-800-96-TEACH [83224] or hallfame@emporia.edu.