Three Harrisonville High School graduates will become the eighth class inducted into the HHS Distinguished Alumni Wall of Fame during Winter Homecoming activities at HHS tonight. Judith (Smith) Reece, Dr. Ann Powell-Brown and Judy (Spangler) Franklin will be formally inducted during a banquet today and will be introduced to the community prior to the varsity basketball game at approximately 7 p.m. tonight. The Wall of Fame induction is sponsored by the Harrisonville Public School Foundation.
Judith (Smith) Reece
Reece is a 1960 graduate of Harrisonville High School.
She earned her bachelors degree in Education and her masters degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Elementary Science from Central Missouri State University. Her first teaching job was in a small two-room school in Dayton, Mo. She taught sixth grade at McEowen Elementary School for 11 years.
She then moved on to the Kansas City School District where she began as a science resource teacher at the North Rock Creek/Korte, a magnet school for Environmental Studies. Reece was instrumental in the planning of not only the science curriculum, but the school itself which included several acres of land with walking trails, an amphitheatre, log cabin, and outdoor education building. She taught for eight years before moving up to Curriculum Coordinator and then Principal at the school.
She retired in 2006 after 30 years in education. In addition to her work in public schools, she served as an instructor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Central Missouri State University. Reeces focus throughout her career was environmental studies, specifically, the Amazon Rain Forest. She traveled to South America five times including trips to Ecuador, Peru, and the Galapagos Islands where she led a team of 15 Missouri teachers in training on ecosystems. As a result of these experiences, she wrote curriculum for elementary students and grants for teachers to further their education. She was a member of the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research and the Peruvian Amazon Biosphere Reserve.
Following her trips, she made numerous presentations at the local, state, and national level to share her experiences and knowledge with her colleagues. While at McEowen Elementary School, she established the sixth grade outdoor education program three day event in the park which included numerous outdoor activities and guest speakers which is still part of the sixth grade curriculum today. Reece was married to her husband Larry for 41 years before he passed away in 2002. They have three children Bret, Gina, and Wade six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Dr. Ann Powell-Brown
Powell-Brown graduated from Harrisonville High School in 1965.
She earned her bachelors degree in Elementary Education and her masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Reading from Central Missouri State University. Powell-Brown earned her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a major in Reading Education and a minor in Cultural Anthropology/Ethnic Studies.
Powell-Brown is currently a professor of Literacy Education at the University of Central Missouri; however, she began her career in education as part of the first integrated faculty at the last segregated elementary school in Biloxi, Miss.
Following college, she spent time traveling, including time abroad in Taiwan. She taught at a Chinese girls college there.
For 26 years, Powell-Brown taught and supervised teachers in The Kansas City School District.
She and her husband also started a business together called American Media Enterprises, in which they promote best-selling authors all over the United States. Over the past 30 years, they have worked with thousands of authors including Walter Cronkite, John McCain, Al and Tipper Gore, Jim Lehrer, Jane Fonda, Patty Duke, Charlton Heston, Roy Disney, James Patterson, Brian Selznick, Lois Lowery, Stephanie Meyer, and many other well-known childrens authors, along with literary authors and several dozen Pulitzer Prize winners.
Since 1999, Powell-Brown has worked as a professor of Literacy Education at the University of Central Missouri where she teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses, advises graduate students, and does research and writing. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences including a presentation at the International Hawaii Conference on Education last month and conferences in Scotland, Canada, and China. She and her research partners won second prize last year for Faculty Research Days at UCM, and they have had a number of academic articles published in professional journals.
Powell-Brown and her husband, Dick Brown, have been married for 33 years and have a daughter, Alexandra, who is a college student.
Judy (Spanger) Franklin
Franklin was born in Kansas City and moved to Harrisonville with her family when she was in the fifth grade.
After graduating from Harrisonville High School, she attended the University of Missouri-Columbia and holds dual bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Education. Franklin taught at the Harrisonville High School for five years. She left teaching to pursue a career in accounting and in 1983 became a certified public accountant. She began her accounting career with a local Kansas City firm. She then took a position with the Harrisonville firm Dickey, Vansandt, Halbhuber and Cook and later became a partner in this firm.
In 1995, Franklin went into business for herself and opened the accounting firm of Franklin and Company, P.C. In 2009, the firm opened a second office in Raymore. The firm currently has nine employees, and offers accounting, income tax, payroll and software consulting services.
Franklin is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants. In addition, she is past president of the Harrisonville Rotary Club, the Harrisonville Public School Foundation, the Alumni Chapter of the University of Missouri in Cass County and the Kappa Rho Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi. She is also past treasurer of the Harrisonville Chamber of Commerce and the Cass County Council on Aging. She previously served as chairman of the bond election committee for the capital improvement campaign for the City of Harrisonvilles Parks and Recreation Department. She served as a member of the Finance Council of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic church for 10 years and is a current trustee for the Cass County Historical Society Trust. Franklin has been married to her husband, Jim, for 38 years and they have three daughters, Erin, Jesica and Lauren. In addition, they have four granddaughters, Molly, Madison, Kaylee and Ella. HHS Distinguished Alumni Wall of Fame inductees are selected based on their significant contribution to their community or their field of work. Nominations are accepted continuously with the deadline for consideration each year on Oct. 31.
For more information, contact the Harrisonville Public School Foundation at 380-2727, ext. 1224.