Monday, September 19, 2011

Executive Committee Series Part 8: Who is the Epsilon Treasurer?

I am a native of Walker, Louisiana; I was born in the home that my father built for my mother and our family on what is now Burgess Avenue.   I am married to Don Townsend; we have two sons – Thomas Andrew and Jonathan Charles.


I attended the Walker Schools – Elementary and High; during these years all grades (1-12) were on the same campus that consisted of three buildings plus a lunchroom and a gymnasium.  The school and the churches were the focal point for the community and the community supported the school in all endeavors.   My major interest in school was basketball.  I played basketball from the seventh grade through high school and the girls’ team always went to State. (In my senior year, I was the shortest member –  5’ 7 1/2” -- on the team.)  I thought about majoring in physical education at college but when I took typing in high school I changed my mind. I graduated from high school with a scholarship to Southeastern Louisiana College. 

At Southeastern, I majored in Business Education.  While at Southeastern, I was inducted into Kappa Delta Pi (an honorary educational fraternity) and in my senior year I was selected as one of the Outstanding Student Teachers and honored at a tea sponsored by Omicron Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma.  I remember seeing and having Mrs. Mary Bailes  (one of my physical education teachers at Southeastern, Miss Thelma Bankston, one of my business teachers at Southeastern, and Mrs. Myrtle Gatlin, a business teacher at Hammond High School (the school in which I did my student teaching) --sign the little booklet given to us.  At the time I thought to myself,  “I would like to become a Delta Kappa Gamma member someday.”  Little did I know this would come to pass because Delta Kappa Gamma was a secretive, honorary fraternity. 


Immediately after graduating from college, I entered the work force in the business world  so I could learn “first hand” what was expected of an office worker in the secretarial/booking field.  After my critic teacher of my student-teaching learned that I had not entered the teaching profession, she was very upset and called the Business Education Supervisor in the State Department of Education and related information to him.  At the time, there were two openings -- one in the post-secondary field and one in high school but both were away from home. After the supervisor explained the difference in the two programs, I asked him to call the Director of the Trade/Vocational-Technical School and let him know that I would like to apply for the opening.  The position would be Instructor and non-classified Civil Service.

Within a week, the Director came and interviewed me and brought an application  which had to be approved by the Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.  “And the rest is history.”  At the time of my employment, there were only thirteen trade/vocational schools in Louisiana.

I started my trade/vocational-technical teaching career in Ferriday at the Concordia Parish Trade School; after two years I took the opportunity to establish the Business Department and be the department head (unpaid) in the new Hammond Area Vocational School. 

I became certified in vocational/industrial education; earned a Master of Education degree while serving as a teaching assistant; taught one year in high school in Tangipohoa Parish; returned to post-secondary education and for one summer taught classes at Greensburg; then went to Jefferson Davis Vocational-Technical School for a period of ten years. In this ten-year period, I did post graduate work toward a doctoral degree in Vocational/Industrial Education at East Texas State University; chaired and wrote Self Study of Jefferson Davis Vocational-Technical School (SACS Accreditation) as well as chaired four committees for the self study; served as assistant director (unpaid).  In 1980 I had and took the opportunity to establish the Business/Secretarial Department in the new Port Side/Jumonville Vocational-Technical School in Port Allen. 

During my professional career, I was honored to (1) serve as (a) President of Office Occupations Association of the Trade and Industrial Section of the Louisiana Vocational Association and  (b) President Elect of Office Occupations Association of the Trade and Industrial Section of the Louisiana Vocational Association; (2) be a member of  (a) Office Occupations Association of the Trade and Industrial Section of LVA, (b) Trade and Industrial Section of the Louisiana Vocational Association, (c) Louisiana Vocational Association, (d) American Vocational Association.After retiring from Port Side, I taught in a private school for two years. Throughout my career, I loved working with adults in the post-secondary field of vocational-technical education. 

Delta Kappa Gamma

While teaching at the Hammond Area Vocational School, I was invited by Omicron Chapter (Tangipohoa Parish) of Delta Kappa Gamma to become a member.  After reading all the literature that Omicron gave to me, I accepted their invitation, and on November 8, 1968, I was initiated into Omicron Chapter.  In Omicron were Miss Thelma Bankston, Mrs. Myrtle Gatlin, Mrs. Doris Sweatt, and many other members I had seen during the tea at Southeastern.  (Mrs. Evelyn Wagnon was Epsilon State’s President.)

At one time or another, I served on and chaired Alpha Kappa’s committees during my ten-year residency in Jefferson Davis Parish.   (Alpha Kappa gave me a baby shower for my first son.)  When I moved back to Walker (my home town) in 1981, Evelyn Davis (Beta Gamma President) called me
to attend Beta Gamma’s chapter meetings.  Evelyn said she had received information from Alpha Kappa Chapter stating that I had moved into Livingston Parish.  I went to a meeting and saw many members I knew from high school or college or teaching.  I transferred to Beta Gamma during Evelyn Davis’ presidency and have served on and chaired every committee in Beta Gamma Chapter.  In Beta Gamma Chapter I have held the offices of  (a) Second Vice President, (b) President, and (c) currently Treasurer, which I have held since 1988.

(During my chapter presidency, Dot Akins and Christel Robbins were Epsilon State’s Presidents.) I am honored to have served Epsilon State on the following committees:  Professional Affairs --  two bienniums (one as chairman); Rules – one biennium; Achievement Award – one biennium; Finance – three bienniums (one as chairman).  In 2005 I attended the Bea Davis Leadership Seminar.   Also, I am honored to have been appointed Epsilon State’s Treasurer and have served in this capacity since 2005.  Since my initiation into Delta Kappa Gamma, I have attended District Meetings, State Workshops; State Conventions; Southeast Regional Conferences; International Conventions and have conducted Workshops and Training Sessions for Chapter Treasurers.


I grew up in the Walker Methodist Church , which became Walker United Methodist Church.  I have served as Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School Director and teacher; Administrative Board member – currently (a) Financial Secretary, (b) Finance Committee member; and (c) Palmetto Cemetery Coordinator; and I have helped with TnT, (Tuesdays and Thursdays) an after school tutoring program


My community activities have included:  (1) participating in (a) Trash Bash; (b) Christmas Gifts to the Public; (2) serving as (a) treasurer for both Cub Scout Pack 158 and Boy Scout Troop 158; (b) Wolf and Bear Den Leader for Pack 158, (c) Webelos Leader for Pack 158, (d) Cubmaster for Pack 158, (e) Committee member for Boy Scout Troop 158; (3) serving Istrouma Area Boy Scout Council as (a) OWLS Training Instructor (Outdoor Webelos Leaders’ Sessions); (b) Unit Commissioner; (4) being selected by Istrouma Area Council of Boy Scouts to attend training at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico; (5) receiving the Award of Merit from Tunica District of Istrouma Area Boy Scouts of America.

                                                                                                Linda Ruth Jackson

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