BCOE honors inaugural Hall of Famers

Bagwell College of Education honors inaugural Hall of Famers

KENNESAW, Ga. (Mar 23, 2018) — Georgia Schools Superintendent Richard Woods and Cobb County School District Superintendent Chris Ragsdale are among inaugural inductees into the Bagwell College of Education Hall of Fame at Kennesaw State University.

Seven education leaders were honored Thursday at a ceremony establishing the Bagwell College of Education Hall of Fame, recognizing KSU alumni who have made significant contributions in the education field. Along with Woods and Ragsdale, the first Hall of Fame class includes Tanya Curren, Susan Padgett-Harrison, Raquel Rimpola, Shea Thomas and Dean Yoder.

“You are the best of the best, and we want you to know how very proud we are of you,” BCOE Dean Arlinda Eaton said to the honorees. “Our reputation has been enhanced many, many times over by your remarkable achievements – and, for that, we are most grateful.”

Bagwell College Hall of Fame

Bagwell College of Education Hall of Fame 2018 Inductees

  • Tanya Curren began her career as a kindergarten teacher, but now makes a difference outside of the classroom as a media entrepreneur and motivational speaker. She and her husband Richard founded Boundless Limits International, an organization dedicated to creating positive, inspirational media for children and families. Their family-friendly reality television series “Scaly Adventures” airs weekly on six continents, delivering environmental science lessons that include anti-bullying, anti-drug use and stay-in-school messages.
  • Susan Padgett-Harrison, Ed.D., returned to her alma mater in 2012 as a senior lecturer and program coordinator in the Bagwell College’s Department of Educational Leadership. Previously, she had a distinguished career in Cherokee County as a social studies teacher, the school district’s social studies curriculum supervisor and the director of the Office of Research and Assessment. She also supervised a team that wrote curriculum content for the CNN educational program “The Week in Review.”
  • Chris Ragsdale is the superintendent of the Cobb County School District, following stints as the district’s chief technology officer, deputy superintendent and interim superintendent. He was one of Georgia’s first chief information officers in a public school system, in Paulding County, and was recognized by the state for his initiatives that provided the foundation for implementing technology in school districts. Ragsdale received a KSU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015.
  • Raquel Rimpola, Ed.D., is the chief of assessment for the Department of Defense Education Activity, which manages all schools worldwide for children of military service members and DoD civilian employees. She was a principal and the director of assessment for Atlanta Public Schools, and the director of accountability and assessment for Marietta City Schools. Rimpola has served as an adjunct professor in the Bagwell College, sharing her expertise of using data to drive decision-making and policies.
  • Shea Thomas has been with the Cobb County School District for 23 years, as an elementary school classroom teacher, gifted teacher, instructional lead teacher, assistant principal and principal. Thomas believes in providing diverse learning experiences to her students, whether it’s an after-school Spanish club or a school-based Girl Scout troop. Her current school, Kemp Elementary, has received state awards for student achievement, student growth and promoting college and career readiness.
  • Richard Woods has served as Georgia schools superintendent since 2014, overseeing the state’s 2,300 schools, 1.7 million students and a $10 billion budget. A former teacher, testing coordinator, principal and curriculum director, Woods has identified one of his top priorities as improving literacy rates in the state by having every child reading on grade level by third grade. Woods was named one of The Top 100 Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend magazine.
  • Dean Yoder as a social studies teacher before becoming assistant principal of the Marietta Center for Advanced Academics, the first STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) school in Georgia. A 2013 recipient of a KSU Distinguished Alumni Award, Yoder has been an assistant principal at the elementary, middle and high school levels. He has forged partnerships with Kennesaw State, other schools and local businesses to promote education initiatives such as family STEM nights and Georgia's Move On When Ready program to improve graduation rates.

“We are honoring a group of our alumni who demonstrate that they have taken what they learned here at Kennesaw State and applied it out in the community, and have made a real difference in our world,” said Ron Matson, senior associate vice president for academic affairs. “These inductees that we honor here today exemplify the leadership and the values that we have inculcated in our graduates because of the fine work done in the College of Education.”

The Bagwell College of Education will honor the inaugural class by offering a scholarship in the name of each Hall of Famer. Aspiring educators at KSU will be eligible to apply for one of the seven $1,000 scholarships.

– Paul Floeckher

Photo by David Caselli