As an educator of many subjects including music, art and physical education, Betty H. Gaddis would play with the kids during recess instead of just letting them go haywire. She also did after-school activities and led the cheerleading squad for many years, helping them to win many trophies. Although she knew as far back as 5 years old that she’d be a teacher, her very first instructor, Miss Texi Rule, was who really inspired her to get into the career. Aside from Miss Rule, she also fondly recalls Dr. Warren Robbins at Union College, who was a guiding influence. Ms. Gaddis was the first member of her family to become a college graduate. She chose to become an educator because she was always curious and wanted to pass that along to others.
Retiring in 1996, Ms. Gaddis taught elementary school for the Knox County Board of Education in Gray and Corbin, Kentucky, beginning in 1964. In addition to this tenure, she taught mathematics workshops from 1984 to 1990 and consulted for the board in Barbourville, Kentucky, from 1994 to 2001. Ms. Gaddis is proud of how dedicated her school was to giving children memorable lessons. One year, they 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 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 coursework between 1977 and 1978. Additionally, Ms. Gaddis received a teaching certification for grades K through eight.
A volunteer at the food pantry in Corbin since 1977, Ms. Gaddis is an elder and sings in the choir at her local church in Corbin, as well as knits and crochets hats and scarves for Cancer patients at Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky. The toboggins cover patients’ heads when they lose their hair. Outside of her primary trade, Ms. Gaddis has been the president and an officer of the Presbyterian Women. She also maintains involvement with the National Education Association and the Kentucky Education Retired Teachers.
In light of her myriad accomplishments, Ms. Gaddis is a recipient of the coveted Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and the Marquis Distinguished Humanitarian Award. Named a Kentucky colonel, she was awarded the Reading Award for primary reading by the State of Kentucky, as well as a scientific grant by Science in the School. Although Ms. Gaddis does not have children, her church honored her as Mother of the Year. Moreover, when the state board came down and checked her school, they honored her as one of the Super Teachers. She was further selected for inclusion in the 72nd edition of Who’s Who in America.
Ms. Gaddis’ personal achievement was that she touched the lives of so many children and now, when she sees them, they tell her. She is a “super teacher” in reading, meaning she is among the most qualified in her state to be providing such instruction. To her, watching children learn and grasp new things is a joy all on its own. If there was anything to do, she jumped it and did it. What separates Ms. Gaddis from others in the field is her enthusiasm.