CEHS Hall of Fame: 2006 Inductees
Judy Prozzillo Byers
Judy Byers received her bachelor’s degree in English and social studies in 1969 from Fairmont State University. She received both a master’s degree in English and education in 1972 and her doctorate degree in English education in 1982 from the College of Human Resources and Education at West Virginia University. She completed post-graduate studies at the International Folklore Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington, and observed educational drama throughout the British schools.
Dr. Byers is known for her work as a folklorist, workshop director, English educator, and storyteller, as well as for her commitment to scholarship, teaching, and service. She has taught English and folklore for her entire career, which has included WVU, Salem College, Davis and Elkins College, Marion County Schools, and Fairmont State University. She is active in numerous professional associations nationwide, including the National Council of Teachers of English. She participates on the board of these organizations, presents papers, and hosts workshops.
Dr. Byers’ publication record is lengthy, diverse, and respected. She is a co-author of In the Mountain State: A West Virginia Folklore and Cultural Studies Curriculum, which has been distributed statewide to West Virginia schools and libraries and used extensively in the folklore studies curriculum at Fairmont State University.
Dr. Byers has received numerous awards throughout her career, including West Virginia State Teacher of the Year in 1977 from the West Virginia Department of Education, Italian Woman of the Year in 1986 from the West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival, Outstanding Teacher Award in 1991 from the City of Fairmont Arts and Humanities Commission, and West Virginia Professor of the Year in 2002-2003 from the Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia. She is currently the director of the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center on the campus of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community and Technical College, which serves the needs of Fairmont State University and also the state of West Virginia. She has also been awarded the Abelina Suarez Professorship in the Department of Language and Literature, College of Liberal Arts, at Fairmont State University where she currently teaches English education.
Michael A. Caruso
Michael Caruso received his bachelor’s degree in secondary education in 1956 and his master’s degree in counseling and guidance in 1958 from the College of Human Resources and Education (Now the College of Education and Human Services) at West Virginia University.
Caruso worked for WVU for 40 years. He began his career as a chemistry teacher and guidance counselor at University High School when it was still run and owned by WVU. He was known to be firm but fair, always committed to helping students. In 1968, Caruso accepted a position in the Office of Student Advising and Records and as assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in HR&E. He became an expert on teacher certification, and his dedication to helping students flourished. During his employment, he processed over 35,000 applications for public school certifications and advised more than 24,000 graduate and undergraduate students for the College. He made over 800 phone calls a year to individuals, county boards of education, and the WV State Department of Education, and in addition, traveled throughout the state to meet with teachers, administrators, and staff personnel.
In 1992, Caruso was awarded the first College of CEHS Laddie Reed Bell Distinguished Service Award for his exceptional contributions to the achievement of our mission and the development of our programs in the College. He also received the Sallie Mae Teacher Tribute Award in 1992, served in the U.S. Army, and was a member of the Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Delta Kappa education honoraries. He is currently retired and has been granted assistant professor emeritus status with WVU.
Eddie C. Kennedy
Eddie Kennedy received a bachelor’s degree in elementary and secondary education in 1947 from Glenville State College, a master’s degree in English and education in 1948 from George Peabody College for Teachers, now Vanderbilt University, and his doctorate in 1951 from Indiana University with an emphasis in elementary education, English, and educational psychology.
Prior to this education, Dr. Kennedy began teaching elementary grades in Gilmer County public schools in 1931 without the help of college preparation. He began to take summer school courses, but this was interrupted by his service to the United States Army Air Forces in World War II. In 1946, Dr. Kennedy resumed his career and professional education for 30 more years without interruption. Before coming to WVU, he was the chairman of the Department of Education and Psychology at Glenville State College.
In 1953, he accepted the position of director of elementary student teaching and then chairman of the Department of Elementary Education in the College of Human Resources and Education (now the College of Education and Human Services). In 1958, he was the acting dean for the college, and for the following 13 years, he served the college as a professor as well as director of the WVU Reading Center before retiring in 1976. He is an accomplished author with 14 textbooks and monographs, the writer and presenter of 90 television programs that focus on reading education, and the recipient of numerous awards, including Who’s Who in America, Phi Delta Kappa and Kappa Delta Pi, and Outstanding Teacher in Education from WVU in 1965. Dr. Kennedy is currently retired and enjoys building string musical instruments, writing, and, of course, corresponding with former students. He has been granted professor emeritus status with WVU.
Edith Rechter Levy
Edith Levy received a bachelor’s degree in 1976, a master’s degree in 1980 in foreign languages from West Virginia University’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, and a doctoral degree in educational administration in 1988 from the College of Human Resources and Education (now the College of Education and Human services) at West Virginia University.
Dr. Levy worked as an adjunct assistant professor for the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Human Resources and Education from 1989 to 1998 and also in the Department of Foreign Languages at WVU and Fairmont State. She is currently the executive director of the West Virginia Commission on Holocaust Education as appointed by Governor Underwood in 1998; president of the West Virginia Holocaust Education Foundation, Inc.; and an advisor on the West Virginia Education Council.
Dr. Levy has been a co-author for many books and has written numerous articles, book reviews, and papers. She is most well known for her book published in 2001, The Holocaust in Perspective, which has been widely acclaimed and adopted by the state as a reader and textbook for Holocaust education to middle and high school students.
She has been the keynote speaker at 20 Holocaust commemorative programs and lectures throughout West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. She has procured exhibits, worked in theater production, offered workshops, presented at conferences, and is affiliated with numerous Holocaust organizations. Dr. Levy was born in Vienna, Austria, and is a Holocaust survivor. She has devoted her life’s work to Holocaust education.
Dr. Levy received a lifetime achievement award from Governor Joe Manchin in 2005 and was selected in 2002 by Governor Wise as a Distinguished West Virginian.
Betty Schoenbaum is well known throughout the state of West Virginia for her charity and selfless concern for the community. In 1988, she and her husband, Alex, established The Schoenbaum Family Foundation, Inc., which grants to numerous charitable organizations including the College of Human Resources and Education (now the College of Education and Human Services) at West Virginia University. In 1989, Betty and Alex donated $500,000 to the College to establish the Schoenbaum/Loan Endowment to encourage future teachers to remain in West Virginia after receiving their education at WVU. The Schoenbaums were concerned that too many highly qualified teachers were leaving West Virginia to go to other places to teach. Students who receive the Schoenbaum/Loan Endowment must match each year of scholarship support with a year of teaching in West Virginia, and the loan will be forgiven. Over the past 16 years, 50 students have received more than $550,000 to assist with their tuition. The endowed fund has grown to nearly one million dollars and will continue to support CEHS students forever.
Betty has enabled many young men and women to focus on academics in undergraduate preparation for careers in education rather than focusing on the means to pay for the opportunity to attend college. She is personally interested in each student and calls them “her kids.” She often writes letters of encouragement and visits to learn more about them.
Betty has held positions as the president of the Schoenbaum Corporation; president, secretary, and treasurer of The Schoenbaum Family Foundation, Inc.; and president, secretary, treasurer of the Blue Galaxy of Sarasota, Inc. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including an honorary degree, doctor of humanities, in May 1999 at the University of Charleston, in Charleston, West Virginia; an honorary degree, doctor of business, in March 2001 at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio; and the 2004 Spirit of the Valley Award from the YMCA of Kanawha Valley. Betty currently resides part-time in Florida and West Virginia.