Broward County
Retired Educators' Association

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Member Spotlights

Alphonso "Al" Giles - October, 2012 Spotlight

As many teachers of his generation, Al Giles took part in sweeping changes in our nation and country.  World War II brought his college life to a temporary halt when Al was drafted into the Army in 1942.  Having earned high grades in chemistry, he was sent to water purification school at Fort Belvoir, VA.  Al was assigned to the 822 Aviation Engineers Unit and transferred to the jungles of New Guinea to man a water - purification station with three other soldiers.  Al and his fellow specialists provided fresh water to American troops. Upon leaving New Guinea, Al briefly served in the Philippine Islands and was stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa in 1945 when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bringing an end to World War II. 

After the war was over, Al returned to Florida A&M with the G.I.Bill and completed his studies in Science.  After teaching one year of high school  in Lakeland, Al decided to return to school for  graduate-level studies at Howard University in Washington D.C.  He later transferred to Temple University in Philadelphia, where he earned his Master's degree.

Broward Schools Superintendent Ulrich J. Bennett hired Al to teach at Dillard High School and he entered as head of the Science Department in 1951. He transferred to Everglades Middle School in 1961, where he later became Science Department Head.  In 1962, Al was among a group of the first African Americans selected to study at the all-white Florida State University on a Science and Math Education Grant.  Out of concern for their safety, Broward School Administrator Wilbur Marshall met with the group of teachers, asking if they would prefer to live at the all-black Florida A&M and commute to Florida State.  The teachers chose to live on campus at Florida State and encountered no problems.  Shortly after their arrival at Florida State, the Tallahassee Democrat headlined the the article, "Education, Not Agitation," emphasizing their mission at the school.

In 1970 Al moved from Everglades to the new and recently integrated Lauderdale Lakes Middle School, where he was Science Department Head.  Al also taught science on weekends in the Upward Bound Program at Florida Memorial College in Miami and was named "Teacher of the Year" in 1972.  He retired from public school teaching in 1983.

Formerly an avid bowler, Al was encouraged to join BCREA by his bowling team captain, Lillian Lampkins, BCREA President, 1986-1988. Al proudly shares, " I celebrated the second anniversary of my 45th birthday on May 2, 2012."


Al passed away at the age of 93 on September 11, 2015)

Thelma & Ken Hendricks - April, 2011 Spotlight

Prior to their move to Naples, Florida a few years ago, Thelma and Ken Hendricks were a vital part of BCREA. They both served as President for a combined total of 8 years! Ken was President from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1992-93 and Thelma then served from 1993 to 1995. Thelma started the BCREA Newsletter and edited that for at least ten years.
They have always enjoyed doing things together. For many years, this married couple taught in the same high school and even in the same art department: at Fort Lauderdale High School. One summer Thelma and Ken wrote the High School Art Curriculum for the County. Ken retired in 1983 and Thelma in 1986.
Thelma was originally from Parkersburg, West Virginia and Ken hailed from Cincinnati, Ohio. They met at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio , where they were art majors. Later they attended Florida Atlantic University for their Master’s degrees.
  Their son and his family live in Naples. Ken and Thelma own their own home there, with a garden. However, Ken says they don’t do as much of their own gardening as they did when they lived in Ft. Lauderdale. They mainly enjoy looking at the flowers and plantings. Both still enjoy sketching. Thelma and Ken are a still a partnership in everything they do.


(Sadly, Thelma died February 18, 2012; Ken joined her on December 19, 2014)

"Give Me That Old Time Music”
Joan Krueger, MS CCC - AKA “Jingle with Joanie”

As a recently retired Speech-Language Pathologist (Broward County FL schools, 37 years), I now have the time and lack of constraints to use a personal talent that I have cultivated for many years: performing songs on the piano by ear. “Jingle with Joanie,” as I have been coined, has been volunteering in assisted living facilities, playing that “old time music” on the piano as the residents sing along and use a variety of musical instruments. They get a kick out of watching me perform in my red hat with jingle bells, and they love the accessories that I bring along: my trusty bag of rhythm instruments, lots of New Orleans style beads, mini American flags, recently incorporated large puppets, and lots of energy and enthusiasm.

I do not profess to be a music therapist; however, I have always naturally incorporated music and rhythm in my speech-language program. Current Alzheimer’s research supports the merits of music in helping to restore old memories in the elderly. The groups I play for range in size from 10 to 30, and have a wide variety of needs and abilities. Jingle bells and tambourines work well, as they are easily manipulated. I work hard to involve the audience as much as possible, even awarding colorful beads to those with excellent participation throughout the session.

Not only do we all have a great time when I perform, but I have also received excellent feedback from the residents and activity directors. The combination of hearing the old time music and using musical instruments seems to bring much joy for that 45-minute interlude. Alzheimer’s patients are observed singing, while others tap, clap and jingle in their walkers and wheel chairs. Starting with songs like “You Are My Sunshine,” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” we then move onto other familiar oldies including Christmas and military songs. My song list is long and energetic, and everyone has fun whether they know the words or not. I play standing up and facing the residents, as it keeps them more engaged. We conclude with “Good Night Ladies” and “Irene Goodnight,” although sometimes we just keep on singing because we are having so much fun.

I have found this new part of my life to be very rewarding. After 37 years of working with children, I love the opportunity to volunteer, work with the elderly, and use my love of music. It is great fun rolling out that old time music to those who need some sunshine in their day. I know what I am doing is valued and valuable when I watch those old time smiles light up as we travel down memory lane together.

Linnie Kidd - February, 2011 Spotlight

Linnie Kidd celebrated her 90th birthday in November, 2010. She has been a member of BCREA since she retired in 1989.

She is now living in the Orlando area near her son, who is a minister and a teacher at a theological college. Linnie lives in a retirement community where she is known as “Miss Butterfly” because of her hobby with Monarch butterflies. She harvests the eggs from the milkweed plant and provides an environment for the caterpillars, the chrysalis and finally the butterflies, which are then released. She used to grow milkweed when she had her own garden. Linnie likes to keep moving. Other activities that she enjoys at the retirement center are the treadmill, the step machine and chair aerobics.

Linnie’s first teaching position was in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in a 2nd/3rd-grade combination class where 45 students were the norm. She studied for a Master’s degree at George Peabody College in Nashville, TN. After she married Rex Kidd, her late husband, they had two sons and she taught in Leon County and Alachua County, Florida while he was working toward his PH.D. The Kidds moved to Broward County in the 1960’s. Linnie taught 2nd grade for 28 years at Peters Elementary School

Lillian Wilson - November, 2010 Spotlight

Lillian Wilson was 83 years old on June 17, 2010 and is grateful for her long career as a teacher. Her students have been in all three stages of life: Youth, Middle Age and the Elderly.

Lillian was born in Tennessee and went on to study at Hiawassee College and completed her degree at East Tennessee State. She taught for a time in Georgia then moved to Brevard County, where she taught for 10 years in the early days of the Space Program. She later moved to Broward County and taught at Stephen Foster Elementary. Lillian spent 30 years teaching first and second grade children. Then she worked in Adult Education where she taught English to foreign students and Reading to adult non-readers at Deerfield Beach High School.

She has also taught motivational classes in nursing homes in the northern part of Broward County, where she helped the residents to use their thinking and memory skills.

Lillian says of her many humorous memories —“Little children say funny things because they don’t know any better and the elderly nursing home residents say funny things because they don’t care what they say.”

Antionette "Toni" Merton - April, 2010 Spotlight

Antoinette “Toni” Merton retired after 27 years at Tedder Elementary School. The started the second year after the school opened and taught first grade for 17 years and second grade for 10 years. She plans to be involved in the celebration of Tedder Elementary’s 50 year Anniversary.

Toni was born in Paris, France and came with her parents to live in Manhattan, New York when she was eight years old. She graduated from Hunter College in NYC with an English major. After graduation she had many interesting jobs, including one in the Personnel Department for the Schenley Distillery Company with offices in the Empire State Building. During World War II she worked in the war effort and after the war worked for the United Nations during the 1948 General Assembly in Paris.

Toni has lived in Ft.Lauderdale since 1949. She came to visit her father, who had moved here. Then she met and married George Merton, Jr. When their two sons were in elementary school Toni decided to get a job in which vacation times were the same as her children’s, so she thought she would try teaching. She got a job at Tedder and found she liked elementary school. During the summer months she took the elementary education courses necessary for certification at Barry University. She and her family loved to travel during vacation times, especially back to France and Monte Carlo, Monaco where her mother had returned to live.

Since retiring, Toni still enjoys travel especially to France, Italy and Switzerland. She enjoys spending time reading and also enjoys walking. She has been a member of BCREA for several years, chaired the Telephone Committee and, at 88, is a member of the Birthday Club! She’s also a member of Bonnet House House and Gardens, where she enjoys the interesting lectures.

Helen Munnings - February, 2010 Spotlight

Helen Munnings retired after a long career as a Media Specialist. Born as Helen Poitier, the daughter of a minister, she attended Braithwaite Elementary in Deerfield Beach  and Carver High School in Delray Beach.  After she graduated from theTennesee State University, she lived in West Palm Beach.
Her first job in education was in 1960 as the School Librarian and teacher of a fifth-sixth grade combination class at Roadman Elementary School in Boca Raton.  In Broward County, Helen worked as the Media Specialist at Larkdale Elementary.
She continued her education with further studies during the summers at Buffalo State University, University of Miami, Barry University and Florida Atlantic University.
Helen has two sons, one daughter and three grandchildren.  After retirement she  volunteered to set up a library at her church,  the Cathedral Church of God, in Deerfield Beach. She also volunteered her services to teach reading classes at the church library. Most of her students were children and some were adults and the adults attended the classes faithfully.    Helen recounts that the Bible has been a source of strength and inspiration for in many difficult situations. 

Dorothy Cox - January, 2010 Spotlight

Dorothy Cox came to Florida on a vacation from her teaching job in Memphis, Tennessee. In Broward County, she taught at Northside Elementary. After earning a Master’s degree in Guidance at FAU, she worked at Everglades Middle School as a guidance counselor and later at Ramblewood Middle School as Guidance Director. She enjoys writing and has written curriculum on guidance topics. A pamphlet that she wrote, “Don’t Monkey Around With Stress- (Manage Your Stress)” is being used as a resource in Broward County schools now.

After Dorothy retired she was trained and volunteered as a Guardian ad Litem , who is a person appointed by the court to protect the rights of and advocate for the best interests of a child involved in a court proceeding. Dorothy has been a member of BCREA since 1992, and for many years was Chairman of the Annual Scholarship Luncheon held in February each year.  

Polly Lenzen - December, 2009 Spotlight

When  Mary "Polly" Lenzen started teaching at Davie Elementary there were 180 children, with only five classes in the entire school. In the early 1950's  Davie was a small, rural town known for citrus groves, sod farms and cattle ranches.   When Polly retired in 1987,  there were 1200 students in a new Davie Elementary School. The original Davie School building is now an historic site.

After finishing college in St. Louis, Missouri, Polly taught in Maui, Hawaii, then in California and then returned to Missouri.   Realizing she preferred warm weather, she moved to Ft. Lauderdale "for the climate."    At Davie, Polly taught  first grade, and later,  kindergarten.   Retired for twenty-two years,  she has a full schedule with bowling on two teams, two poker groups, bridge twice a week, water aerobics six days a week and golf every Saturday.  An enthusiastic Scrabble player,  Polly participates in Scrabble tournaments and has even taken Scrabble cruises.  She has been a member of BCREA for 10 years but came to her first meeting this month! Welcome, Polly!


Ethel Pappy - May, 2009 Spotlight (Ethel passed away on 5/18/2014, 9 days shy of her 98th birthday!)

Ethel Pappy will be 93 on May 27, 2009.

A member of BCREA since 1983, she retired as a reading teacher from Lauderdale Manors Elementary School.  Ethel was born in Dania to a Broward County pioneer family.  Her father, Isadore Mizell, a tomato farmer and carpenter, built the first school for African Americans in Dania. After completion of elementary school, her father sent her to a private academy in the middle of the state because there were not any nearby public high schools for black children in those times.

When she later graduated from Florida Memorial College (then in St. Augustine), she returned to teach at Attucks Elementary School at the invitation of the principal, Mr. Joseph Ely.  She will never forget that first year of teaching, in which she had a primary class of 100 children and no help!

Later she furthered her studies at Tuskegee University and married her sweetheart when he returned from World War II.  She taught in Boca Raton, Miami, and returned to Broward County in 1950.  During  the 1960's  Ethel went to teach at Lauderdale Manors when the public schools in Broward County were racially integrated. 

Retiring in 1982, she has remained active in the community and is involved with many activities, including the Friends of the African American Research Library and the Cotillion for teenage girls sponsored by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.  Ethel lives in Melrose Park and likes to be reminded to attend the BCREA meetings.

Happy 93rd Birthday, Ethel!


William Gaffney - December, 2009 - The First Spotlight!

Recently I called my 8th grade math teacher Mr. William Gaffney who is a BCREA Life Member and will celebrate his 97th birthday on April 8. He was reminiscing about his long career in education.

Bill’s first teaching job was in 1930 at a one-room school in Kentucky with students in 1st - 8th grades. He was 18 years old with one year of college. In 1935 he finished his BS degree at Eastern Kentucky College and in a few years was a school principal in Kentucky. In 1951 he moved to Broward County and taught 8th grade math at Naval air Junior HS until he could obtain a position as a history teacher. He became History Department Chairman at Sunrise Middle School, then took the job of Textbook Manager for the county office until he retired in 1975.

Bill’s first wife Dorothy died in 1971 and his second wife Margaret passed away in October, 2008. He lives in NE Ft. Lauderdale, can no longer drive to meetings, but enjoys hearing from old friends. Happy 97th Birthday, Bill!

(Bill died October 23, 2010)


Eternal Educators

Virginia "Ginnie" Dewar was a member of BCREA from 1985 until her death on September 1, 2012. She served as club secretary for 14 years and then did the club scrapbook until after her 90th birthday. She was BCREA Volunteer of the Year in 2001 and went on to be the District VOY as well. She was honored as a Broward County Pioneer in 2005. Born in Spokane, WA, she and her husband Robert moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1954 and she went to work for the School Board in the School Planning Department where she asisted in construction and renovation of schools until her retirement in 1985. Husband Robert died suddenly in 1971 on the day they were planning to fly to Europe to visit their son Buddy in Germany! Ruth Travers (also a BCREA member) introduced Ginnie to her brother Ed and they were companions until Ed's death in 1997. She moved to Tallahassee 4 years ago to be near Buddy and Adele when younger son Butch developed health problems and was unable to help her anymore. Her service was held in Plantation on September 6 and she was interred in Lauderdale Memorial Park. Ginnie loved golf, crossword puzzles and a nice glass of Chardonnay! And everyone loved Ginnie!

Thelma Hendricks, who died on February 18, 2012, served BCREA in many ways. She was president from 1993 - 1995. But the biggest achievement for which she should be remembered is that she began this Newsletter in 1986 and, with husband Ken assisting, continued as editor until 2005 when the couple moved to Naples to live near their son. She produced a total of 166 issues over 19 years - probably the longest term of service of anyone in BCREA, past or present! They continued their membership in BCREA and were featured in the “Member Spotlight” in the April 2011 issue. Even in death, Thelma continues to support BCREA, as her obituary (Sun-Sentinel 3/1/12)suggests a donation to the Scholarship Fund. Thanks for everything, Thelma!

Member Robert "Bob" Barnett, 83, died on August 9, 2007. His obituary, which appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, stated that he taught at Northeast HS and Coconut Creek HS for 20 years after he moved to Ft. Lauderdale in 1971.

We're sorry to report that Bernard Barno, Kathlyn's husband, passed on August 1, 2007. A Celebration of Life was held on August 7 at the James C. Boyd Funeral Home. The service, conducted by the Reverend Robert Tywoniak, featured songs by soloists Rebecca "Becky" Williams and Sharon Brooks and a eulogy by Dr. Dorsey Miller, a former student of Mr. Barno.

Member Robert "Bob" Barnett, 83, died on August 9, 2007. His obituary, which appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, stated that he taught at Northeast HS and Coconut Creek HS for 20 years after he moved to Ft. Lauderdale in 1971.

Dorothy Ferrell died on August 23, 2007. Her Sun-Sentinel obituary stated, "Dorothy Ferrell spent her life raising her children and, as a dedicated teacher, always giving and providing an excellent role model for others. In her retirement, she traveled extensively and simply enjoyed life itself. She was a loving mother and trusted friend who would be dearly missed." A memorial mass was held in her honor at St. Coleman's Catholic Church Monday, August 27th.

Allene Rollins passed away on August 25, 2007. After getting her B.S. degree she taught in N.C. where she married Perry Rollins, also a BCREA member, who preceded her in death. They met on their first night at college where they had all classes together. After one year of marriage, they moved to Florida where they taught in Key West and Melbourne before coming to Broward County in 1960. Allene taught at Driftwood Elementary and Middle Schools (two time Teacher of the Year), West Hollywood Elementary School, Perry and Walter C. Young Community Schools (Teacher of the Year in Adult Education) and Hollywood Hills and Cooper City High School adult programs. A Memorial Service was held Friday, August 31, 2007 at Fred Hunter's funeral home in Hollywood. Read her full obituary in the Sun-Sentinel Obituaries at

Member John P. Drag Sr. e-mailed the following: "I was just informed by Kathy Morris that Gian Berchelli passed away > in his sleep last night (September 11, 2007). Kathy had been very kind and visited with her > mentor and former principal many times, taking him to lunch and had > invited some of us to join them. I was very fortunate to go to lunch > recently with them. Gian was very interesting and honest with his > declining health. It is sad to lose friends like this but I will > always remember him as he introduced the Singing Principals.

Member Ed Boyack , age 70, died Tuesday, May 8, 2007. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Nancy E. Boyack as well as 2 children and 4 grandchildren. A funeral Mass was held on May 14th at Good Shepard Catholic Church in Tallahassee where he had resided for several years. Born in Chicago, he spent most of his life in Fort Lauderdale and Tallahassee. He graduated from Fort Lauderdale High School and received his B.S. in Education from Florida State University and his Masters in Administration from Florida Atlantic University. He held several administrative positions with the Broward County School System. Ed taught science and coached both junior high and high school football. He also was a principal at the middle school, high school and elementary school levels. He retired from the Broward County School System in 1988.

Nominating Committee Chairman John Lyzott attended the September 6 (2007) BCREA Board meeting and was "the life of the party" with several humorous suggestions and comments. Thus, it was extremely shocking to learn that he was found dead in his home later the same day! Apparently John had many health problems which he rarely discussed. The official cause of his death was renal failure. Unbeknownst to most people was the fact that he'd been having dialysis for ten years!

According to his obituary in the Sun-Sentinel, John's 32-year career as a science teacher and wrestling coach included two years at Beech Grove High School and two years in Indianapolis Public Schools, and 28 years at McArthur High in Hollywood. In 21 years of coaching, his wrestling teams captured 77 dual meets, five Florida State Team Championships, and 18 Florida State Individual titles. John had been inducted into both the Florida Wrestling Hall of Fame and the United States Wrestling Hall of Fame. After retiring in 1996, his passions were fishing, nature conservancy and the BCREA. The Neptune Society was in charge of his care. No memorial service is planned; however, the tributes written by colleagues, friends, relatives and former students on his Guest Page in the Obituaries shows the high esteem in which he was held.

John, 66, was one of the most active members in the unit and will be greatly missed.

Moore , Reva Dee, 93, of Cooper City, FL passed away on September 10, 2007. Reva served as BCREA Scholarship Chairman for 11 years. She relinquished the position in May, 2005 due to her increasing difficulty in walking. Her mind was sharp right to the end and she was quite proficient at sending lots of good e-mail "Forwards." Among the last ones she sent was one dated September 1 entitled "The Stranger," which described a stranger who had moved into the writer's home who wasn't required to observe the usual family rules against profanity, vulgarity, etc. At the end it was revealed that the "stranger" was....Television! Her services were held on Sunday, October 16 at Forest Lawn Funeral Home, Ft. Lauderdale. A brief obituary was published in the Sun-Sentinel on 9/12/2007.

Robinson , Bernice, 80, of Ft. Lauderdale, FL passed away on September 12, 2007. Roy Mizell & Kurtz Funeral Home, Ft. Lauderdale. Published in the Sun-Sentinel on 9/19/2007.

Annual Scholarship Luncheon - Thursday, February 5, 2009
Event Chairman Doris Emmett

Photos from the Luncheon

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