Skip to main content

Walking into the Hall of Excellence Inductee Ceremony is unlike any other event in Academy District 20 (ASD20). Former colleagues and peers flock together catching-up on the “old days,” reflecting on their time in the classroom and listening to words of wisdom. 

In 2022, three inductees were permanently etched into the Hall of Excellence, cementing their impact on ASD20.

  • Dr. Mary Thurman

  • MSgt. Anthony Rush

  • Mr. Hosea Haynes

For the first time since the event was created, inductees were invited to share their fondest memories in ASD20 and their advice to educators on growing a culture of belonging. 

“My advice to you is to stay passionate about what you do and why do it,” Dr. Mary Thurman explained. Before helping outwardly, Thurman encourages educators to look inward.

“Take care of your physical and emotional self and remember why you chose to work in education – to make a positive, lasting difference in the lives of students and adults,” Thurman said.

She spent 47 years in education and made lasting impacts on several districts in the Pikes Peak Region. When she retired from ASD20 as an Assistant Superintendent, she was known for being a “teacher’s administrator.” Her nomination letters explained, she would “talk to you and would hear you. She brought different perspectives to ASD20’s student, staff, and community. 

Dr. Thurman is best known for developing the District Leadership Cohort Program. The program, still active today, allows teachers to learn as a group while pursuing their Administrator’s License.

“She was a mentor to our group and made us realize what a great opportunity we had as a part of the program and as future administrators,” wrote Lorrie Stockwell, a retired ASD20 Assistant Principal.

Master Sergeant Anthony Rush, another 2022 inductee credited his decades of success in the U.S. Air Force and ASD20 to building relationships with his peers and students.

“By establishing appropriate and authentic relationships with my students, I found myself earning the right to speak life into the lives of others,” he said.

He emphasized the importance of Social Emotional Learning and seeing the whole student before focusing on the class’s curriculum. 

MSgt. Rush is responsible for starting the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (AFJROTC) program at Air Academy High School in 2002. Colonel Robert Huber, the program’s current instructor wrote, “He was directly responsible for the growth of the program from nothing to more than 270 students when he left, the largest program in Colorado and one of the largest in the Nation.”

The final inductee, Hosea Haynes, passed away in 2009. Since his nomination in 2019, district leaders have tried to find his family and celebrate his induction into the Hall of Excellence. After nearly three years of searching, it was decided his legacy should wait no longer.

Haynes was known for his incredible talent and dedication to music. He developed the first junior high band program in ASD20, leading more than hundred students in every class period. His colleagues called him, “demanding and fair.” When brand new sixth graders entered his classroom, he dedicated his time to making them better musicians.

“I will always recall his excellence; his insistence that kids could be better musicians and people than they were the year before--the week before--the day before; and he taught them and reminded me that each of us owed something to those who came before,” said Ross MacAskill, Haynes nominator.

Even though we couldn’t hear his own words at the Hall of Excellence Induction Ceremony, Haynes’ legacy emanates a culture of belonging. He was the first African American teacher ever employed in Academy District 20.

MacAskill wrote, “Mr. Hayne’s was a reticent man, who only occasionally would discuss the unique and important trailblazer he was, but he knew. And I knew that sometimes he served in a place and at a time that few could truly comprehend.”

In addition to three inductees, four new honorary members were added to the Hall of Excellence. When the event was first created, former Superintendent Dr. Mark Hatchell decided each Superintendent and Board of Education member would become honorees members of the Hall of Excellence for their countless hours of leading and supporting the district.

In 2022, four new Board of Education members were added:

  • Mrs. Nicole Konz

  • Mr. Aaron Salt

  • Col. William Sullivan

  • Col. Andre Johnson

Nominations for the Hall of Excellence are accepted year-round, and inductees are chosen in September of every school year. Read more about the nomination process and criteria here.