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CEHHS Educators Hall of Honor Inducts Seven New Members for 2024

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS) recently inducted seven educators into the Educators Hall of Honor, Class of 2024.

The Educators Hall of Honor was established to recognize educators who have made profound differences in their students’ lives and the community. The program also generates an endowed scholarship fund to assist students who are in the process of becoming teachers.

The Class of 2024 Includes:

Jimmy Cheek, Chancellor Emeritus and Director of the Postsecondary Education Research CenterJimmy Cheek is Chancellor Emeritus and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Former Director of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Postsecondary Education Research Center. Cheek became the seventh chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on February 1, 2009 and stepped down from that position in 2017. Read more


Portrait Photo of Denise DeanDenise Deans love for children is what led her to start the East Tennessee Freedom Schools where she is the Executive Director. ETFS delivers the Children’s Defense Funds’ Freedom Schools® program that helps children fall in love with reading and engage in social and civic action. They operate three sites, two in Knox County and one in Blount County. She is proud to offer a program that makes a difference and where communities of children and families can learn, love and flourish. Read more


Portrait photo of Mark FinchumMark Finchum’s academic journey is a testament to his commitment to lifelong learning and professional development. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Communications, followed by a Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction, and ultimately achieved a Ph.D. in Social Studies Education, all from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Throughout his 33-year tenure as a social studies educator, he consistently demonstrates excellence in teaching and unwavering dedication to his craft. He has been recognized through numerous accolades, including the Middle School Teacher of the Year and the Distinguished Classroom Teacher Award in Jefferson County. Mark’s contributions to the field are further acknowledged with prestigious honors including the American History Teacher of the Year from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Read more

Black and white portrait photo of Carol Mayo JenkinsCarol Mayo Jenkins has been a working actor for more than 60 years. Throughout her illustrious career, she is most famous for playing Elizabeth Sherwood, a liberal and stern but fair-minded English teacher at New York City’s High School for the Performing Arts on the television series Fame.

Carol trained for three years at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and was one of the founders of the Drama Centre London, now considered one of the leading theatre schools in England. Read more

Portrait photo of Luther KindallLuther Kindall was a native of Nashville, TN. He graduated from Pearl High School and later from Tennessee State University with a B.S. degree in Psychology. He finished with the highest academic average in his graduating class. He was consequently named, “Mr. Brains” of his senior class, and awarded the W.J. Hale Memorial Scholarship to pursue his Master’s Degree. After earning his Master’s, Luther was awarded the Southern Fellowship Scholarship to pursue his Doctorate in Educational Psychology. He received his degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. After being awarded his doctorate, Luther began a teaching career at Tennessee State University and also matriculated at Roane State, Brushy Mountain, and the University of Tennessee- Knoxville. His career at UTK spanned over twenty-eight years. During his extended status at the university, Luther made significant strides in the Psychology Deptartment, particularly with his dedicated focus on black students, faculty, and staff members. Largely through his leadership and guidance at UT, Luther became one of the founding members of the National Association of Black Psychologists. Read more

Portrait photo of Robert H. KirkRobert H. Kirk joined the University of Tennessee in 1967 as an associate professor in the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation becoming the first full-time African American faculty member in UTK history.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Fisk University and earned four graduate degrees, including DHS (doctor of health and safety), from Indiana University. Dr. Kirk did postgraduate work at Michigan State and Stanford’s University Graduate School of Business. While at UTK, he served as the head for the Department of Safety (a precursor to the department of Public Health) and oversaw the university’s Safety Center. He retired from the university in 2003. Read more

Portrait photo of Missy Testerman2024 has been a whirlwind year for Missy Testerman. Just days before the Educators Hall of Honor induction ceremony, Testerman learned of her selection as the 2024 National Teacher of Year.

Missy has been teaching for 31 years and is admired as a leader, mentor, and fierce advocate for both teachers and students.

She serves as president of the Rogersville Education Association, is a member of Rogersville City Schools Teacher Leadership team, mentors new teachers, and participates in the Readers are Leaders Program. Additionally, she is the Summer Camps Coordinator for Rogersville City Schools and serves on multiple boards and committees in the school and the community. Read more