Glasgow teacher inducted into the Kentucky Teacher’s Hall of Fame

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Western Kentucky University is the home of the Kentucky Teachers Hall of Fame.

Friday, four new members were added to that distinguished list.

After a one-year COVID delay, the 12th and 13th inductee classes were honored.

The 2020 inductees, Lynn Riedling of Louisville and Wanda Carol Clouse of Barbourville were formally recognized along with the new 2021 inductees, the late Evelyn Douglas of Shepherdsville and Sharon Coomer Mattingly of Glasgow.

Mattingly said the honor was unlike anything she ever imagined being named a Hall of Famer.

“There are no words. It’s the most prestigious honor you can get as a teacher in the state of Kentucky. When your student and the people who work with you nominate you, it says that you have done a good job. You have touched lives,” said Mattingly.

Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman was in attendance helping present the awards as well.

She used to be a teacher as well and says that career is hard but fulfilling.

“The opportunity that it provides you to help build up your community is one that I think all of us answer the call for. And so, it’s just important to keep it up front and make sure that our education students who are in college right now know that and that they get to feel that to,” said Coleman.

For Mattingly, days are hard sometimes teaching.

But, she says, the impact she gets to have on children is incomparable.

“There’s been a lot of hard days in the last three years, the last 37 years, but the last three years have not been easy. But those hard days are the ones that make us a whole lot better,” said Mattingly.

Mattingly was nominated by one of her students.

The Governor Louie B. Nunn Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame was created in 2000 through a gift by former Governor Nunn, who hoped to recognize the vital role that classroom teachers in Kentucky play in the education of young people and the positive impact education has on the state’s economy.

This year’s induction ceremony was the first held at WKU. The ceremonies had been held at the Capitol in Frankfort since the inaugural class was selected in 2008.

“Our institution’s rich lineage in teacher education denotes clearly our longstanding commitment to elevating our community, our state, our nation and beyond,” WKU President Timothy C. Caboni said.

“WKU is proud to continue our longstanding commitment to changing the world one teacher at a time,” he added.

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman and Dr. Byron Darnall, associate commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education, congratulated the inductees and welcomed them into the Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame.

Coleman noted that Gov. Nunn selected WKU as the home of the Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame because of its more than 100-year history in teacher education. “We all know Western Kentucky University has a rich history of producing high quality teachers,” she said.

Rep. Steve Riley, representing members of Kentucky’s General Assembly, called teaching an honorable profession that makes lifelong impacts.

Dr. Corinne Murphy, dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, said she and her staff were honored to host Friday’s ceremony and to welcome the 2020 and 2021 inductees and their families to WKU’s campus.

With the Hall of Fame located near WKU’s teacher certification office, “we get to inspire our next generation of educators,” Dr. Murphy said.

Riedling and Clouse said they were honored to see their plaques already hanging with previous Hall of Fame inductees.

“It’s just such an honor that I was chosen and selected to be in the Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame,” Rielding said.

Clouse said she was surprised by the recognition. “Education is just my life,” she said.

Debbie Haydon accepted the award on behalf of her sister Evelyn Douglas, who died in April. Haydon said teaching was her sister’s calling and everyone in the family knew how important teaching was to her. “I’m hoping she’s smiling looking down from heaven,” Haydon said.

Mattingly thanked her family, school leaders and others for their support and encouragement during her teaching career. “It’s not just my plaque. It belongs to all the people here today cheering me on,” she said.


Sharon Coomer Mattingly 

Glasgow, Ky. 

A resident of Glasgow, Sharon Mattingly began her teaching career in 1985 at Bertie High School in Windsor, North Carolina. Mattingly taught Spanish full-time at Bertie for 10 years while serving as a part-time facilitator for Effective Teacher Training at community colleges in the area. In 1995, Mattingly moved back to Kentucky to teach Spanish at Barren County High School where she is currently in her 27th year.

Mattingly earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Administration, with a minor in Spanish from the University of Kentucky (1984), a North Carolina teaching certificate from East Carolina University (1986), and a master’s in Spanish with a concentration in Education from WKU (1998).

Despite strong encouragement from her parents (father, a principal, and mother, a teacher) to enter the education field, Mattingly’s initial choice of careers was to study business with plans on running a multinational corporation. However, with no opportunities available in the region in which she lived, she took a substitute teaching position with the Bertie County School District. Mattingly soon changed her view on becoming a full-time teacher with the help of one of her students.  Over time, with the help of Mattingly, this student was able to move forward from his emotions after the sudden mid-year loss of his favorite teacher due to retirement. It was that student who later came back to her and after telling her every day how much he didn’t like her, begged her to apply for the full-time position teaching Spanish. The student went on to tell Mattingly that he and his fellow students learned something when she was their teacher and he in particular needed her in order to graduate and go to college. Mattingly commented, “My father pushed hard for education and never ceased to remind me that he tried to get me where I belonged in the first place.” And, as they say, the rest is history.

Mattingly’s commitment to her students and to her profession have been recognized and celebrated numerous times throughout the years. In 2019, Mattingly was presented a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kentucky World Language Association (KWLA) for her long-term commitment to immersing her students in the Spanish language and cultures.  She (Mattingly) has taught all levels of Spanish and has taken students to Spain several times throughout her tenure. In addition, she has also explored her passion for other cultures through personal travel to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Chile, and has brought her first-hand experiences back to her classroom to share with her students.

Mattingly is described by her students and colleagues as caring, compassionate, and supportive. “And, she works tirelessly to bring the Spanish language to life for her students and has promoted language learning to the fullest,” said Rebecca Kinslow, a substitute teacher in the Barren County School District.