CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Board of Education Member Lowell Johnson is one of the three latest inductees to be admitted to the Hall of Fame at Marshall University’s June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development.
Johnson has been a member of the West Virginia Board of Education since 2004. He twice served as board president, completing his second term in 2007. His term on the board ends Nov. 4, 2012. "I'm honored to be recognized for working to improve education in West Virginia," Johnson said. "My priority has always been academic achievement and student success. Every decision I make on the board is for the betterment of West Virginia's children."
Currently, Johnson is serving on the National Association of State Boards of Education's (NASBE) Board of Directors as president. He also serves on the Governor's 21st Century Jobs Council, the Governor's Commission on Technology and the West Virginia International Education Commission.
He previously served as chairman of NASBE's Governmental Affairs Committee and on the Board of Directors for the National Education Association, the Southern Regional Education Board and the Education Commission of the States, and as the assistant secretary for ports for the West Virginia Department of Transportation. He also served as chief of staff under former Gov. Bob Wise.
A lifetime resident of West Virginia, Johnson lives in Lewisburg in Greenbrier County, where he began his teaching career. He also taught at Fairmont State College and at Bluefield State College. Johnson, state Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe CEO Ralph Baxter were inducted into the Hall of Fame in April.
Tomblin is the longest-serving Senate president in West Virginia's history, having first been elected to that position in 1995. He is credited for advances in public education that include new building construction, expansion of computer technologies and curriculum development. Selected as one of "The 100 Most Influential Lawyers" by The National Law Journal, Baxter has served on the steering committee for former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spelling. He also works on the board of directors of the West Virginia Education Alliance, a statewide public education organization.
The June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development was created to maximize resources and help establish Marshall University as a leader in the field of rural education and community development. It has developed partnerships with the West Virginia Department of Education, businesses and other entities that encourage the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of the educational process for rural children.
The center was named in honor of June Montgomery Harless, one of southern West Virginia's most avid supporters of education and medical research. She and her husband Buck have contributed millions of dollars to worthy causes throughout West Virginia and the nation.
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