klahoma Educators Hall of Fame inducts Apalachicola-born educator

Betty Wright

Betty and Robert Wright

Ken Beachler | Rose State College
Published: Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 10:21 AM.

On Aug. 1, Betty Jean Croom Wright was inducted into the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame, at the Quail Creek Golf Club in Oklahoma City. More than 140 guests came out for her ceremony, a black tie affair.

The goal of the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame foundation is to identify and honor persons in Oklahoma education who have exemplified the ideals of leadership, service and research in the field of education. Each year, the board members convene to review nominations received from across the state; only educators with the highest lifetime achievement are eligible for induction. To be selected for induction is among the highest honors in Oklahoma education.

Daughter of the late Granville and Lillie Mae Croom, Wright was raised with her nine siblings in Apalachicola. Her siblings are Granville Croom Jr., Cydell Wilson, and Marvin Croom, all of whom reside in Apalachicola; Bertha Mae Rhodes, of Austin, Texas; Evelyn Goss, of Houston, Texas; Larry Croom of Miami; Lawrence Croom, of Panama City; and Deborah Thompson, of Ft. Lauderdale. Wallace Croom is deceased.

Betty also has first cousins, John Croom and Shirley White, and a host of nieces, cousins and nephews of Apalachicola.

Betty attended and graduated from Quinn High School in 1959. Her best friends were Earthine Lockley, Shirley Croom, Wesley McMillian, Vivian Tolliver and Erma Joseph. Her favorite teachers were Mr. Watson, Mr. Speed, Mrs. Tolliver, Mrs. Tampa and Mrs. Baker.

Betty attended Florida A&M University with a scholarship provided by the St. Joe Paper Mill where her father worked. She graduated from FAMU in 1963, and taught for 44 years in schools in Mainz, Germany; and Tulsa, Lawton, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Betty also served as a specialist in math and science to schools across the state and nation and has trained thousands of teachers in effective teaching strategies. She has also served as a consultant to the Franklin County Schools throughout the years.

Wright was the only minority teacher at the American School in Mainz, Germany, in 1964. When her husband was transferred to Ft. Sill, she taught at a school for black students and later recruited to help integrate a school on Lawton’s north side. In just a few short months, she felt accepted by the students, parents and community.

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