• By Bob Rouse

Meet the Woodford Hall of Fame 2020 Class

Ten individuals and a high-achieving team are the newest members of the Woodford County Public Schools Hall of Fame – but they’ll have to wait another year to be formally inducted. The organization’s ninth class includes noteworthy individuals in six categories and recognizes a mock trial team that in 1990 won Woodford County High School its second state championship. The induction ceremony for the class of 2020 was originally scheduled to take place Sept. 12, but the Hall of Fame ceremonies have been put on hold because of uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Launched in 2012, the Hall of Fame honors Woodford County alumni and local citizens in six categories, and the 2020 inductees are listed below. Academics (Distinguished achievement as a student, teacher, professor or administrator): Robert “Bo” Joseph, DMD, MD (Versailles High School, 1963): A skilled surgeon and emergency medicine physician, Joseph has a remarkable academic resume. He has a dental and medical degree, and he completed multiyear certifications in oral surgery, internal medicine, cosmetic surgery, and laser surgery. And for 20 years, he created and commissioned historical medical art paintings, distributed through a company he formed. Peggy Carter Seal (VHS, 1963): For more than 38 years, Seal taught Woodford County children, starting in 1967 at Mortonsville Elementary and completing her career at Southside Elementary in 2005. She was named Woodford County Teacher of the Year in 1988 and Kentucky Environmental Teacher of the Year in 1998, and received honors in teaching from Ashland Oil, Kentucky Farm Bureau, and the University of Kentucky. Arts and Humanities (Widespread public acclaim in the arts: performing, visual or literary) Janet Young (Woodford County High School, 1989): An award-winning freelance photographer, speaker and teacher, Young’s work is on permanent display in several Kentucky hospitals and libraries. Equally impressive is her work with two nonprofits: ArtWorks, a Bowling Green-based organization that funds and promotes young artists; and The Sunny 16 Camera Club, whose photographers (and hairdressers and makeup artists) create family portraits and head shots for neighbors in need. Athletics (Extraordinary achievements as an athlete or coach): Ed Stepp Jr. (WCHS 1969): An exceptional basketball coach whose 30-year career culminated in a junior college national championship, Stepp found success coaching and mentoring both male and female athletes, from elementary school through college. After stints with women’s programs at major colleges, he joined the staff at Connors State College (Warner, Oklahoma) and in 1990 led the Cowboys to a national title and a 32-2 record. He was inducted into the Connors State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015. Dale Wellman (WCHS 1994): With more than 200 wins in 12 years as a head basketball coach, Wellman has twice been named the NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year, and in 2018 he led Nebraska Wesleyan University to a national title. In his 19-year career, Wellman also served as assistant coach at four colleges and, for six years, as head coach at Alfred University in New York. Along with receiving national coaching honors from three organizations in 2018, Wellman has also been named coach of the year in his conference six times. Career Achievement (Extraordinary achievement through exceptional leadership or service): William Carter (WCHS 1990): Twenty-nine years after enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps, Sergeant Major Carter has risen to the Marine’s highest rank for enlistees. Sgt. Maj. Carter has completed a series of training programs, including Drill Instructor School and the Advanced Career Course, and he currently serves as sergeant major for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina, and for the Eastern recruiting region. His many awards include the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. James W. Dinkle (WCHS 1978): An economic development expert, government and business leader, and philanthropist, Dinkle’s career across the United States spans nearly four decades. In Kentucky, he served as deputy chief of staff to Gov. Wallace Wilkinson, focusing on rural economic development. In Chicago, Dinkle was among the first in the nation to lead a brownfields remediation project. He has led economic development authorities in three states, and currently resides in Maine. In 2018, Dinkle’s significant donation to the University of Kentucky funded the creation of a business center to serve the LGBTQ community. Patron (Advanced a Woodford County public school through leadership or donation of time or money): Lisa Johnson: By creating a nonprofit organization that feeds both the bodies and the intellect of local middle school students, Johnson is also helping older students learn lessons about community service and leadership. Mentors & Meals, established by her a decade ago, uses an intergenerational group of volunteers – high school students, college interns, and adults – to provide homework assistance, hot meals, and structured activities to students in grades 6 to 8. The award-winning program has now expanded to three other Kentucky counties. Public Service (Extraordinary achievement in public service) John Coyle (WCHS, 1973): A quiet yet effective and beloved leader, Coyle served Woodford County in public office from 1986 until his death in 2018. Appointed first as a deputy sheriff, he advanced to chief deputy sheriff and in 1992 was named Kentucky’s Deputy Sheriff of the Year. Twice elected as Woodford County Sheriff, Coyle next served as county judge-executive for 12 years. During his three terms, Mr. Coyle deftly led the county through the Great Recession, championed public health initiatives, and engineered the acquisition of property that effectively doubled the size of the Woodford County Park. Frank Watts, DMD (VHS, 1939): Dr. Watts served his country and his county as a leader in health, education and government. A 1945 graduate of the Louisville Dental School, Watts served as a U.S. Naval officer before being transferred to the Army because of his skill in oral surgery. After completing active military service, he practiced dentistry in Versailles for 46 years as an innovator and leader in the field. For eight years, he was a member and chair of the Woodford County Board of Education, and in 1993, was elected county judge-executive. Special recognition The 1990 WCHS Mock Trial team won the state and represented Kentucky in the national competition in Portland, Oregon. Members of the team were Scott Blair, Bridgett Boggess Franey, Dean Burau, Stephanie Bush Miller, Keri Cartinhour Colmar, Will Foley, Brian Johnson, John Lodmell, Ashley Shrewsbury, Polly Shrewsbury, Susannah Vance Gopalan, and Mike Whitley. The team was coached by Dan Cassity, and serving as legal advisors were Ralph Combs and Bob Swisher. For more information and updates, visit the Woodford County Public Schools Hall of Fame page on Facebook.

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