By Ashley Rader
Former Elizabethton City School system educators Frank Baker and Willie Church will be inducted into the Carter County Educators Hall of Fame Saturday.
Baker was one of Church’s teachers while he was in school and his influence led Church to pursue his own career as an educator.
“Daddy mentored me, Edwin Alexander and Willie Church when we were starting as teachers,” said Sarah Baker, Frank Baker’s daughter. “Willie was so excited that he was going to be inducted in the Hall of Fame on the same day that Daddy was. That is a sad point in all of this.”
Each year, the Hall of Fame honors one living and one deceased retired educator from each school system. Church was selected as the living ECS educator and Baker, who died in 2004, was the deceased educator. However, Church died shortly after being selected for the Hall of Fame.
“We said they would be celebrating up there together,” Baker said.
Baker first taught in Hamilton County at Birchwood Elementary for two years before coming to the Elizabethton City School system. He then taught seventh-grade science and was a basketball coach at T.A. Dugger Junior High School. He was assistant principal at Harold McCormick Elementary and the last principal of Duffield Academy. He spent the last 18 years of his career as principal of East Side Elementary, retiring in 1988.
Church started as a science, computer and critical thinking teacher and was a basketball coach at Elizabethton High School and was a teacher at TAD as well. He was principal at West Side Elementary for three years. He also served as teacher and dean of students at Providence Academy for six years.
Baker and Church were both members of First Baptist Church in Elizabethton, and both served as deacons and Sunday School teachers.