Pannel, Capps, Sharp and Burnett recognized at third annual School Bell Awards

The Laclede County Retired School Personnel hosted its third annual School Bell Award banquet last week, honoring four local retirees from the field of education.

The first to be honored was Charlene Pannell. Pannell was born to Charles and Ruth Caufield, who lived in Sleeper. At the time, Sleeper’s school was a one room building heated by a wood furnace. She graduated from Stoutland High School, and received her Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Southwest Missouri State (MSU) in 1961. After teaching at Williams School in Fort Leonard Wood, she moved to Lebanon to teach first grade at Crestview, which is now Donnelly.

In 1962, she married Lester Pannell. He taught in Lebanon until he retired from the junior high. Charlene Pannell taught for 30 years, retiring in 2000. She says she found teaching very rewarding, and is thankful for her life with her family and friends.

Second to be recognized was Lester Capps. Capps was born in Lebanon to Ted and Phyllis Capps, and was raised in the Dove area with his six siblings. Capps’ first eight years of school were spent at merchant school with Miss Izetta Goss as his teacher, in a one-room school. He would go on to graduate from Lebanon High School, and eventually accept the position of maintenance director for the Lebanon Schools. He is quite proud of his work during his 22 years with the district, especially overseeing the the building of Esther

Elementary and the new Lebanon Middle School, which he oversaw even though he retired in 2014.

Capps has watched all of the Lebanon schools grow, and he hopes he has played a positive roll in many of the improvements.

Next to be recognized was Audra Sharp. Sharp was born on a farm next to the Blackfoot School, the daughter of Homer and Otha Hooper. She always dreamed of becoming a teacher, like her father and his siblings.

Sharp graduated from Southwest Baptist College (SBU) and moved to Topeka, Kan., where she taught second grade. The next year, she moved to Lebanon where she taught at Hillcrest and then Donnelly. She continued her studies in the summers, receiving her Masters from Drury University. She ended her career at Boswell Elementary in 1994.

Sharp says her life is full of blessings. Her career allowed her to help children and have a lasting impact on their lives. She says she is grateful for her family and friends, and thanks God daily for the happiness he has given her. Last to be recognized was Barbara Beard Burnett. Burnett was born in Pine Bluff, Ark., to Clarence and Mattie Beard, and grew up in southeast Arkansas.

She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Arkansas A&M, which is now the University of Arkansas, and a Masters from SBU. Burnett taught for six years in Ark. before her family moved to Lebanon in 1974. She would go on to teach 30 years at Joel E. Barber C-5. She retired in 2004.

Burnett’s favorite part of being an educator was interacting with students, and she hopes she was able to influence their lives positively.


The Lebanon Daily Record

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