Two distinguished educators join HCPS Hall of Fame during summer 2016 induction
Mrs. Joan Cable is a native of Harford County, having attended Edgewood Elementary School, Bel Air Junior High School, Bel Air High School, and Harford Community College. She graduated from Towson State College in the spring of 1970 and began teaching at Roye-Williams Elementary that fall under the leadership of Joseph Deschak. She earned a master’s degree in Reading from Johns Hopkins University as well as a Master’s Plus 30 in technology and gifted education.
After 22 years as a creative classroom teacher, often creating her own social studies simulations and science stations, Mrs. Cable became a gifted education teacher. She had a passion to see that all student needs were met and felt that gifted students needed a more rigorous curriculum.
Mrs. Cable continued her professional learning by attending Confratute, The National Association for Gifted Children Conference, the Maryland Instructional Computers Coordinators Association Conference, and the International Society for Technology in Education Conference, multiple times each. She was trained in differentiation strategies by Carol Tomlinson at the University of Virginia. Following these conferences, Mrs. Cable instructed schools, School Improvement Teams, and gifted teachers on gifted and differentiation strategies. She also was a computer trainer for the county, teaching many computer programs to teachers throughout the county.
Mrs. Cable has belonged to many educational organizations. In gifted education, she has belonged to NAGC, where she was a presenter at many national conferences. Twice she was a keynote presenter. She also belonged to McGate and MEGS (Maryland Educators of Gifted Students). She was a presenter at those conferences for more than 20 years. She served as the secretary of McGate (Maryland Coalition for Gifted and Talented Education) for five years. She has belonged to MICCA, from where more than 50 of her students won technology awards in writing, multi-media, and computer art. She was also a regular presenter at that conference.
Mrs. Cable assured that her students participated in the county activities - speech festivals, writing contests, Young Author’s festivals, Odyssey of the Mind, and Destination Imagination - and has been a coach and judge for her students. Even today she continues to participate at the Destination Imagination tournaments.
Mrs. Cable’s major accomplishment during her career with HCPS was her willingness to share what she had learned from her educational experiences with others. Besides having presented at the school, county, state, and national levels, Mrs. Cable continued sharing her knowledge after retirement by teaching gifted education courses at the Notre Dame of Maryland University and being a consultant in gifted education. For her hard work she has received many awards. She has been a Teacher of the Year finalist (2004), Harford County Technology Teacher of the Year (2004), Harford County Gifted Education Teacher of the Year (2005), and the Maryland State Gifted Education Leader of the Year (2009). But she is most proud of the awards her students received over the years.
Mrs. Cable retired in 2011 after 41 years of teaching for the Harford County Public School System, choosing to become an instructor at the Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. She continues to work with students (children and adults) whenever possible as she consults for Talents Program Solutions. She also volunteers for the Harford County Center for the Arts.
She enjoys traveling with her husband, Bruce, and lunching and taking day trips with friends. Her favorite student is currently her grandson, Ryan.
Barbara J. Douglas
Mrs. Barbara Douglas was born and raised in northeast Baltimore, an interesting and exciting place to grow and be nurtured by a diverse and culturally-appreciative community. This was an area dominated by Johns Hopkins Hospital, a backbone for her community both medically, economically and socially.
Her parents loved and believed in all of their children. They supported whole heartedly her dream to become a teacher, a desire that began at age three. Her favorite past time was to play school, much to her siblings’ dismay. Books, pencils, papers and chalk were her favorite toys.
Mrs. Douglas and her husband moved to Harford County to purchase their first home. In 1969, she received her Bachelor of Science from Coppen State Teachers College in Baltimore. In 1971, she received her master’s degree in Administration from Antioch-Putney University in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This program was a unique opportunity for those who taught in the inner city and was located in Washington, DC. Her thirty credits in administration beyond her master’s was achieved through courses from Loyola, Towson and the University of Maryland.
It is Mrs. Douglas’s understanding that her grandfathers, paternally and maternally, were principals in rural South Carolina’s one-room schools. It is a major vanity on her part – this idea that she was born to teach. Her family and friends have always seen her as the teacher. It is her love of learning and teaching that ignites her passion and joy. Her passion is to nurture, inspire and celebrate student success.
Mrs. Douglas feels that in order to teach effectively, one must establish meaningful relationships that reflect a real commitment for caring and encouraging students. One should love what he/she does emphatically. She knew that she was effective when her students reflect that same caring and commitment. As an educator, her focus was to teach each student as if he or she was her child. As arcane as it may seem, she paraphrases a very important precept by stating, “Teach as you wish to be taught.”
Mrs. Douglas’s initial teaching experiences were in Baltimore’s inner city Title One schools. In 1978, she became a fourth grade teacher at Magnolia Elementary. When she walked into Magnolia for her interview with Principal Jack Potter, she saw the motto that related to her dream as a young child. The motto said, “In every child a touch of greatness.” This became the essence of her passion for teaching and learning. This was her truth and beauty for her “babies,” whether they were 5 or 30 years old. She saw each student, teacher and administrator as her dream to make a difference in their lives through teaching and learning.
As an instructional supervisor, it was exciting for her to participate in staff development for educators. She felt it was achieved best through exceptional planning, modeling, support and the maintenance of committed relationships. As a supervisor of Integrated Language Arts, reading, writing and spelling were essential staff development areas where leadership and inspiration were needed to guide teachers’ growth and achievement. Building and maintaining communities of learners and leaders was exciting. Supporting and encouraging the aspirations of colleagues was her forte. She enjoyed participating as a member and president of the Elementary Schools Association of Principals and Supervisors. It was important for her to network, share needs as well as successes, and continue to access knowledge and opportunities that served to enhance her profession. Mrs. Douglas served as the principal to open a new school – Church Creek Elementary. It was truly her dream come true to be the “head teacher.” She and her staff worked as a school family that taught a diverse student body within a diverse community of parents and teachers. She was very proud of this opportunity.
During the initial preparation of bringing several schools together to create a new school, she worked closely with the students to create the school’s mascot (cougar), colors (teal and gold) and motto. During a student meeting, one of the students looked at a diagram she had on the board and said, “Mrs. Douglas, the word success has our initials. Their motto then became ‘Church Creek Elementary School means Success.’
As the principal of Magnolia Elementary School, Mrs. Douglas was “home” again. It was her pleasure to lead this school family, as it gave her another opportunity to accentuate a school motto, but this time she changed it so it became, “In everyone a touch of greatness.” This strengthened her community of learners and leaders, and together they created inspirational relationships with students, staff and parents.
In 2008, Mrs. Douglas decided she wanted more time with her family – her daughter Myesha and her three grandsons, Jonathan, Joshua and Douglas. They are her love, her life and her legacy. In her spare time, her current hobbies include reading and crocheting.