Congratulations to the class of 2015 in the National Teachers Hall of Fame!!!!


Dr. Patricia Jordan is a retired 9th-12th grade Math teacher with 29 years in Roslyn High School in Roslyn, New York. Click this link to watch a clip of Pat’s Announcement Ceremony!



Richard T. Ognibene is a 10th-12th grade Regents Chemistry and Physics teacher with 28 years in Fairport High School in Fairport, New York. Click this link to watch Rich’s Announcement Ceremony!



Susan M. Rippe is a 11-12th Grade Science teacher with 24 years experience in the Olathe Northwest High School in Olathe, Kansas.  Click this link to watch a clip of Sue’s Announcement Ceremony!


Ben Talley

Ben Talley is a 4th-5th grade Science teacher with 24 years experience in the Van Pelt Elementary School in Bristol, Virginia. Click this link to read some of the press coverage of Ben’s Big day!




Brigitte Tennis is a 7th-10th grade all subjects teacher with 32 years in the Stella Schola Middle School in Redmond, Washington.


We are proud to welcome these five outstanding educators into the the elite group of educators. We are honored to have you.



A wreath was placed at the Memorial to Fallen Educators to remember the life of Kimberly Lynn Wester-Riddle, the teacher’s aide who was tragically killed on Dec. 2 in Knoxville, Tennessee, when two school buses collided. Her name will be etched in gold on one of the two black granite books that stand as a reminder that educators are often our children’s first responders and protectors from impending danger.

National Teachers Hall of Fame Director Carol Strickland expressed condolences to Riddle’s family, friends, and students when she said, “Kimberly Riddle died doing what she loved — working with young children, and we are saddened by this tragedy. Our Memorial to Fallen Educators, dedicated this past June, is a tribute to those heroic educators who have lost their lives while carrying out their duties as an education professional. There were 113 names on the two books when we dedicated the Memorial Plaza on June 12 of this year, and, sadly, we will now be adding another name.”

The first loss occurred in 1764 with an Indian uprising in Pennsylvania, and the most recent was Oct. 23, 2013, in Danvers, Massachusetts, when Colleen Ritzer, a teacher, was killed by a student. The impetus for the memorial was the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012, where 20 children and six educators lost their lives to a lone gunman.

“There was no way to memorialize all of these fallen heroes from the field of education on a national level,” said Strickland. “So the NTHF Board of Trustees started moving forward to build a national monument for them here in America’s heartland.”

Emporia is not only home to The National Teachers Hall of Fame — founded in 1989 — but is also the home of Emporia State University, which boasts one of the top five teacher preparation colleges in the nation.

“Emporia reveres education and educational professionals, so this is a perfect place for the memorial plaza.”  she said. “As we approach the two-year anniversary of the loss of the Newtown Six (Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto), we are hopeful that Americans will remember their bravery and dedication as well as the legacies they left behind.”
Constructed near the one-room schoolhouse on the northwest edge of the ESU campus, the plaza consists of two 6’ by 6’ black granite books with names, dates, and states etched in gold lettering. Additionally, there are two granite benches, a bricked patio, and a donors’ wall which commemorate those individuals, companies, and organizations that helped to finance the $300,000-project. The natural limestone and tiered landscaping all add to the quiet and simple beauty of the plaza.

“Our goal is to honor these educators who sacrificed their lives for the profession they loved, and we will preserve their story and their memories at the memorial site, in the interactive kiosk, and online at our website:,” said Strickland. “We want people to remember how important educators are in the lives of America’s children.”

Article re-printed from Emporia Gazette

We would like to welcome the newest inductees into the Hall of Fame. These five educators are what we are all about!!!! Congratulations and Welcome! Follow the links next to their names to see local coverage and images of their announcement ceremonies.

AldersonJan Alderson is a 45 year educator focusing on Biology, Anatomy and Physiology from Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park, Kansas. We welcome you into the National Teachers Hall of Fame!





Cynthia Couchman is a 23 year mathematics instructor from Buhler High School, in Buhler, Kansas. We welcome you into the National Teachers Hall of Fame!





Marguerite Izzo is a 26 year educator of ELA and Social Studies from Davison Avenue Intermediate School in Lynbrook, New York. We welcome you into the National Teachers Hall of Fame!



Koppelman Gary Koppelman is a 40 year educator of Mathematics, Science and Writing from Blissfield Community Schools in Blissfield, Michigan. We welcome you into National Teachers Hall of Fame!





Rebecca Palacios is a 34 year educator of Early Childhood education (retired) in Corpus Christi, TX. We welcome you into the National Teachers Hall of Fame!





“This year was one of the hardest to narrow down to Five.” Said one of the selection committee members. “All of the applications were great.” We would like to congratulate all of our semi-finalist and finalists for their submission and encourage you to try again.



Flags are placed for cutting out the land to begin the Memorial for Fallen Educators
Flags are placed for cutting out the land to begin the Memorial for Fallen Educators

Flag day has a new meaning for the National Teachers Hall of Fame. On March 10th little pink flags were placed at the corner of 18th and Merchant, next to the one room school house, to mark the dig site for the Memorial to Fallen Educators. Excitement can be felt in the office, as we know this is the first step in a long anticipated process. Between now and the June 12th dedication, land will be excavated, concrete poured, stone and marble will be placed, wiring run, tears shed, and money raised to complete the important project honoring heroes that have giving their lives in the line of duty. Although we have raised enough to begin this project we are still short about $150,000 of our goal to complete and maintain this memorial. Any amount will help us complete this dream. If you would like to help with a donation please click here.

Frank Hall
Frank Hall

Today we would like to take some time to salute Frank Hall. As we continue to our goal of $300,000 to build our Memorial to Fallen Educators, it is inspiring to hear stories of survivors. Please take some time to watch the 60 Minutes segment about this great teacher. Here are a few of our favorite quotes from this story…

“He acted as a father.”

“School shootings are a fact of life? We need to take a stand against this.”

“I’m not a hero, just a football coach and homeroom teacher.”

Thank you Frank Hall for your dedication to your students. Keep up the great work.