Knowing as young as 5 years old that she wanted to become a teacher, Betty H. Gaddis’ first instructor, Miss Texi Rule, really inspired her to get into the field. Aside from Miss Texi Rule, she also fondly recalls Dr. Warren Robbins, who was a guiding influence. She was the first member of her family to become a college graduate, and chose to become an educator because she was always curious and wanted to pass that along to others. For her, watching children learn and grasp new things is a joy all on its own. Ms. Gaddis is also proud of how dedicated her school was to giving children memorable lessons.
Retiring in 1996, Ms. Gaddis spent 32 years as an elementary teacher with the Knox County Board of Education in Gray and Corbin, Kentucky. During this time, she also taught mathematics workshops from 1984 to 1990 and consulted for the Knox Board of Education in Barbourville, Kentucky, from 1994 to 2001. She is a “super teacher” in reading, meaning she is among the most qualified teachers in her state to be providing such instruction. She also coached cheerleading teams, going on to win many trophies. One of Ms. Gaddis’ most notable accomplishments as an instructor was during one year when her class did a unit on Thanksgiving, going in depth and even measuring how big the actual Mayflower was. Her students also made a cardboard reconstruction of that famous ship. She had them write diaries, as if they were passengers on their way to the New World, several of which went on to win state recognition.
Prior to the start of her professional career, Ms. Gaddis pursued a formal education at Sue Bennett College in London, Kentucky, earning a limited arts degree in 1961. She then matriculated at Cumberland College, now the University of the Cumberlands, in Williamsburg, Kentucky, where she received a Bachelor of Science in 1963. She went on to attend Union College in Barbourville, attaining a Master of Arts in 1976 and completing postgraduate work between 1977 and 1978. In addition, Ms. Gaddis is certified to teach grades K through eight.
Active in her local community, Ms. Gaddis has volunteered with the local food pantry in Corbin since 1977. She also volunteers and sings in the choir at her church. To keep up with trends in her field, Ms. Gaddis has been involved with numerous related organizations as a member of the National Education Association and Kentucky Retired Teachers Association, as well as president and an officer with the Presbyterian Women. Since retiring, she has taught herself to knit and enjoys a variety of other hobbies including sketching, drawing, crocheting, basket weaving, gardening flowers and vegetables, sewing, writing and traveling.
Although Ms. Gaddis does not have children of her own, her church honored her as Mother of the Year in recognition of her accomplishments. Previously, when state board officials came down and checked her school, they honored her as one of the Supper Teachers. Additionally, Ms. Gaddis was named a Kentucky Colonel and scientific grantee by Science in the School in Kentucky, and is a recipient of the Reading Award from Reading in Primary of Kentucky and the coveted Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.