Six Educators Honored at Cato Teaching Discovery Mural

Date Published: 
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Cato College of Education is pleased to announce the recognition of six educators at the UNC Charlotte Cato Teaching Discovery Mural.

The 2017 honorees are Dr. Melba Spooner, Dr. Misty Hathcock, Dr. Jim Lyons, Dr. Ron Madsen, Coach Bob Pharr and Ms. Carrilee Long. Charlottean Dennis Bunker provided a donation to recognize Madsen, Pharr and Long in honor of their influence in his life. The Department of Educational Leadership also recognized Dr. Lyons wealth of contributions to the college through the dedication of bench situated in the plaza next to the mural.

The Cato Teaching Discovery Mural stands in honor of educators, administrators and school leaders of all stripes, and of the teaching profession in general. Through generous gifts, donors enshrine the names of important educators in their lives on a permanent list etched on the mural, recognizing the timeless and transformational power of teachers. The mural also provides a unique and lasting teaching tool for teachers and others through design elements related to North Carolina facts and history.

Dr. Melba Spooner - during her tenure at UNC Charlotte Dr. Spooner served in various roles including Assistant Dean; Chair of the Department of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education; and Senior Associate Dean.Spooner left UNC Charlotte last summer to take the next step in her career, assuming the role of Dean of the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University.  

Dr. Misty Hathcock is a five-time graduate from UNC Charlotte, receiving all of her degrees in education. Misty joined the faculty of the UNC Charlotte Cato College of Education after serving 11 years as a teacher and administrator.  She became the first full-time Director of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program and led that program for 17 years for the College, as well as serving in several other leadership roles.
Dr. James E. Lyons - professor emeritus in the Department of Educational Leadership.  For 35 years, Dr. Lyons placed an emphasis on quality teaching and preparing students for successful careers in educational administration.  During Dr. Lyons’ tenure, the Doctorate in Educational Leadership was established, and upon his retirement in May 2014, 149 students had successfully graduated from that program, each having been taught by Dr. Lyons.

Dr. Ron Madsen joined the UNC Charlotte faculty in 1977, and taught business and economics classes until his retirement in 2014. Dr. Madsen was in fact one of several young economists who came to UNC Charlotte to help establish the school’s now highly respected economics department. 

Coach Bob Pharr had a long and successful career teaching and coaching at Troutman High School and Salisbury High School. Many of his players went on earn college scholarships, including contributors to some of UNC Charlotte's best teams.
Ms. Carrilee Long taught elementary school in local systems for more than 25 years. She spent her life encouraging and caring for her students, several of whom remained in contact with her during her entire life. 

The Cato Discovery Mural is a work of art that honors the teaching profession, specific teachers who have had a great impact, and will inspire future generations of educators who will walk by the mural every day. John Cato, a 1973 graduate of UNC Charlotte, and the Cato Corporation, provided funding for the creation of the mural. Mara Smith, an internationally renowned artist, sculpted the mural, which was dedicated formally in April 2013.