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The Lancaster County School District Hall of Fame, in keeping with the tradition of honoring the work of past top educators, has added four deserving members with the 2012 class.
The elite four includes the late Peter Barry, Charles Clark, Mary Mackey Robertson and Walter Lee Tillman.
Each did plenty to promote education in Lancaster County and earn a special place in Lancaster County education history.
Barry, a well-known history professor at the University of South Carolina Lancaster, served as a county board of education member two terms, 1998 to 2002 and 2004 until his death in 2010.
Barry was hailed as an “exemplary board member” by Dr. Pat Burns Dilliard, a LSCD Hall of Famer and former county superintendent.
Dilliard added Barry was “always positive, always open to new ideas and always humble without pretense.”
Barry pushed for the creation of the Academic Challenge component, establishing the district’s distance learning partnership with USCL, procuring grants for professional development and leading the formation of the Discovery School.
“Dr. Peter Barry was truly a servant leader and he has left an indelible legacy of service to the board, to the district, to the community and most importantly to our children,” Burns Dilliard said.
Clark’s passion was music and he shared the love for music by leading the bands at old Barr Street High School and Lancaster High School following integration of the county schools.
Former Clark student Dr. Herbert McKinney noted many of Clark’s attributes that earned the admiration of students and fellow teachers.
He said Clark was a “man who could get things done.”
His positive leadership proved vital with the integration of the county schools, leading to a notable smooth transition.
“The work ethic that he demonstrated took root and is still with most of us today,” McKinney said. “Mr. Clark may have been diminutive in stature but he was a giant of a man.”
Mackey Robertson made her mark in county education as a true trailblazer.
She was an outstanding teacher and also became a fine administrator.
She was the first special education teacher in the city’s black school system.
She was later in the first group of black teachers to voluntarily transfer to a white school and became the first full-time black teacher at Brooklyn Springs Elementary.
She later became the first black woman in the county to serve as a principal at Southside Elementary.
After her retirement, she served on the school board.
Tillman dedicated 33 years to education in Lancaster County, the last 15 at Buford High School.
She earned Teacher of the Year in 1985 and the S.C. Outstanding Teacher in 1986.
In the 17 years since she retired, Tillman has been as an active member of the county retired educator’s association and serves as an advocate for teachers and students through her work on the “Celebrate Great Teaching” high school committee.
Each of these educators, in their own way, has helped in making a contribution to our educational system.
They are most deserving in their special place of honor.