COVINGTON, Ga. - The Newton County School System is pleased to announce that Mr. Jerry Aldridge and Mrs. Mary “Lee” Aldridge will be inducted into the NCSS Educator Hall of Fame on Monday, Nov. 12.
“This will be our second class of inductees into our Educator Hall of Fame and I am excited that Mr. and Mrs. Aldridge are this year’s honorees,” Samantha Fuhrey, NCSS superintendent, said. “Mr. and Mrs. Aldridge are known throughout Newton County for their good work in numerous community organizations and I must say they have truly impacted our school system in a positive way. They were both outstanding educators for the Newton County School System and even after their retirement, they have been wonderful supporters of our district. It will be a true pleasure to officially induct them into the NCSS Educator Hall of Fame as they are each so deserving of the recognition.”
The school system established the NCSS Educator Hall of Fame to honor and recognize the outstanding and memorable retired educators who significantly influenced and made a difference in the lives of their students and whose professional capability and integrity inspired the admiration and respect of not only students but also fellow staff and the community. Nominees must have maintained exemplary standards of behavior and ethics, exhibited leadership, demonstrated competency in their subject matter, worked well with colleagues and administrators, and encouraged and motivated students, thereby leaving a lasting influence on the Newton County School System. The NCSS Educator Hall of Fame is also a means to honor the teaching profession as a whole for its vital role in shaping the future of individuals and society.
Candidates are selected for induction based on, but not limited to, the criteria listed below:
• A minimum of 20 years of service in the Newton County School System as a classroom teacher, administrator, counselor, or media specialist;
• Retired from the district for at least three years;
• Proof of quality teaching;
• Evidence of impact or significant contributions to student success
• Involvement outside the classroom, such as sponsor or extracurricular activities
Candidates are judged on a preponderance of the evidence as demonstrated by their qualifications and letters of support from former students and colleagues. Significant, long-term contributions to student success are required. While many serve a long and distinguished career, longevity, without meaningful impact does not constitute appropriate credentials for Hall of Fame consideration.
Mr. T.K. Adams and Mrs. Louse Adams, both retired educators from the Newton County School System—and the first recipients of the NCSS Educator Hall of Fame awards—nominated the Aldridges for the honor this year. The NCSS Educator Hall of Fame selection committee approved each of their nominations by unanimous vote in late October.
Mr. Jerry Aldridge joined the Newton County School system as a classroom teacher at Newton County High School in 1963. In 1965, Mr. Aldridge was promoted to principal of Mansfield Elementary School and later transferred to the principal position at Porterdale Elementary School in 1967. He was principal of Porterdale Elementary until 1975, when he was named the NCSS Maintenance Director, a position he held for five years before returning to Newton County Comprehensive High School (NCCHS) as the assistant principal. Mr. Aldridge served as the NCCHS assistant principal from 1980 to 1991.
Mr. Aldridge holds an associate arts degree from Young Harris Jr. College and a Bachelor of Science degree in history from Georgia Southern. He later earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Georgia Southern.
Mr. Aldridge has served the 4-H program for 25 years and earned the Georgia Honorary Masters 4-Her recognition. He has also served as a president and vice president of the Newton County Retired Teachers Education Association. A winner of the Newton County Chamber of Commerce Robert O. Arnold Award, Mr. Aldridge is an active member and has served as president of both the Kiwanis Club of Covington and the Covington Lions Club. He has logged almost 4,000 volunteer hours at Newton Medical Center and Piedmont Newton Hospital and has served 40 years as a Sunday school teacher at Julia A. Porter United Methodist Church. He has twice earned the President of the United States Volunteer Service Award.
Despite his involvement in numerous community organizations, it is perhaps his commitment to the Boy Scouts of America program that Mr. Jerry Aldridge is most known for in the Newton County community. Overall, Mr. Aldridge has invested 54 years in scouting—and that does not include the 10 years he served as a scout as a youth and young child. Over the years, 68 of his scouts have earned the rank of Eagle Scout and six more are working on the prestigious honor at this time.
Mr. Aldridge is married to fellow NCSS educator, and proud Newton County High School graduate, Mrs. Mary “Lee” Aldridge. Mrs. Lee Aldridge retired with 33 years of classroom experience as a science teacher at her alma mater, Newton County High School; she taught biology, chemistry, anatomy, and advanced placement biology. During her career, Mrs. Aldridge was named a Star Teacher; selected as a Top Ten Teacher for 15 years; won the county Young Educator of the Year award; the high school teacher of the year award; Newton County Teacher of the Year award, Science Teacher of the Year award, and was named Teacher of the Year by the Royal Sportsman Club. She was also named the Outstanding District 4-H Volunteer.
In addition to teaching at Newton High School, Mrs. Aldridge volunteered her time with cheerleading, yearbook, 4-H Club, Y Club, Y Council, Quill & Scroll, Pep Club, the School Newspaper, and much more. She has served as the secretary, social chairman, and vice president of the Newton County Education Association. Mrs. Aldridge has held the position of president and vice president of the Retired Education Association and also served as president and vice president of the Alpha Delta Kappa Education Society-Alpha Eta Chapter. A winner of the Newton County Chamber of Commerce Robert O. Arnold Award, Mrs. Aldridge was also named Woman of the Year for Georgia Clean and Beautiful.
“Mr. and Mrs. Aldridge both had illustrious careers in the Newton County School System,” Fuhrey said. “During their careers and throughout their retirement, they have influenced and impacted students in Newton County in a positive way. They are both known throughout our school system and the entire Newton County community for their good works and deeds and I look forward to inducting them in the NCSS Educator Hall of Fame on November 12.”
“We’re very excited to induct Mr. and Mrs. Aldridge into the NCSS Educator Hall of Fame,” Sherri Davis, NCSS director of public relations, said. “While invitations have been mailed out, we encourage current and retired educators and any former students of Mr. or Mrs. Aldridge who wish to join us to celebrate this outstanding couple, to attend the NCSS Educator Hall of Fame Reception at the Porter Performing Arts Center on Monday, Nov. 12 at 5:30 p.m.”