By John R. Schirmer
Superintendent Doug Graham called them the “triple threat,” three Nashville High School teachers who retired in May with a combined 100 years in the classroom.
Freddie Horne, Sharon Horne and Allyson Tollett stepped down at the end of the 2014-15 academic year.
The Hornes plan to travel, spend more time with grandkids and work at the Howard County Museum. Freddie had 32 years in education, with 33 for Sharon.
Tollett has already re-enlisted at NHS as a part-time math teacher with two classes per day.
Freddie Horne came to 15 years ago as assistant principal at high school. Since then, he’s been principal at junior high, classroom teacher, bus driver and grant application writer.
In the classroom, Horne taught Travel and Tourism, along with business classes. He is on the executive board of the Arkansas Business Educators Association. He has served on three state curriculum committees, including Multimedia, Word Processing and Travel and Tourism. He authored much of the state’s Travel and Tourism curriculum.
Horne taught 17 years at Gurdon before moving to Nashville.
He received a business degree from Henderson State University and operated his own business for more than 10 years. Then, he decided to return to college for a teaching degree because he “liked working with students.
“Over the years, I’ve had lots of adopted daughters and sons. It’s great to watch them develop into neat adults. I’ve had future doctors, lawyers, some teachers.”
Horne said he and Sharon have several trips planned already. “This is the application part of Travel and Tourism. I helped write the curriculum, taught it, read it. Now it’s time for the application.”
He also plans to go fishing and continue to work with classic cars and auto shows. Horne is active with the Nashville City Park and says he will be “a little more visible there. The park was one of the big draws for us when we rode around with Doug Graham before taking the job. He took us to the city park, and we fell in love with it.”
Horne said retirement will “really hit Aug. 17” when classes start. And, of course, there’s “the anticipation of the first football game. This will be a little different for me.”
Sharon became a teacher because “I loved history and always wanted to teach history. I like telling what I know and hoping they remember some of it.”
Teaching has “kind of kept us young. Being around students has kept us active,” she said.
Horne received her bachelor’s degree in social studies and her master’s in English. She said her favorite part of teaching was “seeing [students] get something, seeing the light go on in their heads.”
Both of the Hornes said the NHS faculty is “like our second family.”
The school system was also a literal family gathering for them, with son Scott teaching at NHS. “Having three Hornes in the building worked out fine,” Sharon said. “We didn’t run to see each other every period. Sometimes we don’t see Scott” because he teaches in a different part of the building.
Freddie said he and Sharon “always had lunch together. We rode to school together.”
Now that Scott is by himself at NHS, history teacher Amy Bearden told the parents that she will “adopt” him. Sharon and Freddie said he might be high maintenance at times, especially when it comes to Coke and lunch money.
“It was nice to have the whole family at NHS. We love Nashville. This is the best move we ever made. I’m very appreciative to Mr. Graham for bringing us over. We love being Scrappers,” Sharon said. “Nashville is a great community, and this is a great school to work for.”
A graduate of the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in math and a minor in education, Tollett has 35 years in education, with 18 at Nashville. She came to Arkansas from Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville, Ga., where she taught higher math and was chairman of the math department.
Tollett was hired at Mineral Springs in 1972 and taught there through 1974. She took nine years off before returning to Mineral Springs from 1983-88.
Tollett taught at Nashville from 1988-1995, then served on the math faculty at Ouachita Baptist University from 1995-2004. Her children Wesley and Lizann attended OBU.
Howard County native Dr. Mike Arrington was vice president for academic affairs at Ouachita when Tollett was hired. “They needed a math teacher in July. Dr. Arrington called me. I taught applied math, business calculus, and math for elementary teachers. It was a fine stay at OBU.”
Tollett said her high school math teacher was influential in her decision to teach. “Mrs. McDaniel had 30 of us in eighth grade. We stayed together through high school. There were 18 left in calculus. She was a fantastic teacher. Every year, she knew what we knew and where we had left off the year before.”
Tollett said many of her former students are now teachers and administrators at Nashville. For example, Coach Ted Green and librarian Fran Strawn were in her classes at Mineral Springs. In Nashville, she taught elementary Principal Latito Williams and junior high Assistant Principal Jason Williamson.
Tollett said she “loved to see the light come on when students finally understand it. I still love to teach kids who want to learn some math.”
She decided to step down from full-time teaching because “I decided this was the time. A lot of the things I’ve been striving for here have been completed.”
She wants to spend more time in Springdale and Fayetteville “watching my grandkids play sports. I have a shirt with Mamaw on the back.”