In 1994 the Board of Trustees of Southfield School established the Southfield School Hall of Fame. Portraits of the first three inductees, all distinguished alumni, were hung in the stairwell hall between the gymnasium and the middle school commons area.
Following the establishment of an Alumni Association in 1999, the Association took on responsibility for the Hall of Fame and its related activities. In the meantime, the family of H. Walker Perritt, the father and grandfather of Southfield alumni, donated funds given by family and friends in his memory to refurbish the gymnasium foyer area as a special hall highlighting alumni and honoring those inducted into the Hall of Fame. The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor alumni and others who embody the spirit and principles of Southfield School for their contributions to community and/or to the Southfield family. Nominations for inclusion in the Hall of Fame may be made by any alumnus of the School and may be sent to the alumni office.
Robert B. Oakley was born in Dallas, raised in Shreveport, and attended Southfield School. He graduated from South Kent School in South Kent, Connecticut, and Princeton University with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and history. He served as a U.S. Naval Intelligence Officer in Japan. After military service, he attended Tulane University and entered the Foreign Service.
He is perhaps best known for his service as the President's Special Envoy for Somalia. He had a long and distinguished career in the Foreign Service, including an assignment as Ambassador to Pakistan. He was awarded the State Department Meritorious Award and the State Department Distinguished Honor Award.
J. Bennett Johnston was born in Shreveport, attended Southfield School and graduated from C. E. Byrd High School. He studied at Washington and Lee University and the United States Military Academy. He received a law degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge before entering the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant.
He was elected to both the Louisiana House of Representative and Senate before his election to the U.S. Senate in 1972. Senator Johnston served four six-year terms in the Senate before retiring from public service in 1996. While in the U.S. Senate, he served on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Appropriations Committee, both of which he chaired.
Jacques L. Wiener, Jr. was born in Shreveport and attended Southfield from 1940-1948. He graduated from Byrd High School and received his undergraduate and law degrees from Tulane University in New Orleans. He served as a Lieutenant Junior Grade in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
A partner and co-founder of the Wiener, Weiss, Madison and Howell law firm in Shreveport, he is currently serving as Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Judge Wiener's civic involvement has included serving as president of the United Way, vice president of the Boy Scouts of America, and a trustee of Southfield School.
Honoree Josephine Carmody is a life-long Shreveporter, leaving only for her college years at Marymount College in New York state. She holds her master's degree plus 30 hours in education and psychology, attending classes for many years while teaching at Southfield School, thus demonstrating the "joy of learning" that was her philosophy to instill in every child.
Teaching a year of kindergarten and two years of second grade, followed by 38 years as a first grade teacher, Miss Carmody touched the lives of many children with her encouragement, sensitivity to individual needs, and spirited approach to learning. She especially enjoyed the sense that Southfield was an extended home environment for each child: giving him security, and developing lasting bonds between teacher, student, and parent.
Hazel Kytle The Headmistress of Southfield from 1941 until 1966, Hazel Kytle laid a strong foundation at Southfield School by enriching the curriculum with French, music, physical education and the study of ancient civilizations. After graduating from the Teachers College at Columbia University she continued to study and pursue her interest in progressive teaching methods. She vigorously recruited the best teachers she could find from colleges "Back East" to bring the finest educational opportunities available to her students at Southfield.
Underlying her every effort was her desire to instill in every child a "love of reading." To that end, she frequently read to students herself, she encouraged each teacher and parent to make reading an important part of every day, and she assisted in the development of the "Book Fair" which continues to be a Southfield tradition.
Mrs. Janet Bliss Butcher began teaching kindergarten at Southfield School in 1946. She taught for three years, took a 13-year hiatus and then returned to Southfield to teach second grade from 1962 until her retirement in 1993. During those years, Mrs. Butcher became well-known for the annual building of "Electric City," and the participation of many classes in the creation of Indian villages, Mayflower ships of paper, milk carton-Plymouth Plantations, and carrying her lunch in a neat little basket with a napkin!
Mrs. Butcher received her degree in Elementary Education from Wheelock College in Boston and was recruited to Southfield by former Headmistress Hazel Kytle. Her teaching philosophy, developed through education and experience, includes these words: "Teachers with personal initiative and imagination can raise the level of teaching with unlimited possibilities."
In her comments at the opening of Back to School night in September of 1989, Mrs. Butcher said, "I am amazed that I am still excited and interested in returning to Southfield each fall. I think about it and realize it's the environment-eager children, interested parents, and working with teachers who love what they are doing. When you visit your child's room tonight, you will see the unique and boundless enrichment that rests within these walls the core of our philosophy. And to end on a personal note-I can't tell you how very happy I am to have been a part of it all-this Southfield Family."
Former history teacher, Manelle Weaver, is truly part of the history at Southfield School. Mrs. Weaver taught Modern, World, American, and Louisiana History to Southfield middle-schoolers for a span of 25 years from 1963-1988. Her own abiding interest in history and the people and places who made it brought it alive and created long-term interest in it among many of her students. Her vast collection of slides taken on trips to the places she taught about was legendary, as was the South Louisiana field trip which she pioneered. Her personal teaching philosophy focused on helping students understand that historical facts were created by real people, influenced by the culture and time periods in which they lived.
Mrs. Weaver received her BFA from the University of Cincinnati. As a young woman, she was a fine dancer, and one of the special memories that many students have of Mrs. Weaver was the incentive of seeing her unpin her long (but always pinned-up) hair and dance! This was only offered for very unusual and outstanding accomplishments! Mrs. Weaver always had very high expectations of her students, and she worked closely with them and with their parents to see that her students reached their greatest potential.
Dorothy Johnson, Dr. Mel Johnson's mother, was one of the founders of Southfield School. He began at Southfield in the 7th grade in the graduating class of 1942. Lea Morton Johnson was raised in Cambridge, MA, attended the independent Shady Hill School, graduated from Smith College in 1949 and was recruited to teach at Southfield School by Headmistress Hazel Kytle. They married while Mel was in the Navy in 1952 and began their family while Mel was completing his medical residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans.
All of their children--Eric, Neil and Margo--attended Southfield School, where both Dr. and Mrs. Johnson were active supporters and involved especially with the annual Book Fair. Two of their grandchildren have also attended Southfield--Bradford, who completed the eighth grade in 2003, and Hannah, who completed the eighth grade in 2006. They are the children of Neil Johnson and Rita Hummingbird. As alumni, past parents, and grandparents at Southfield, Mel and Lea continued a more than 60-year legacy of involvement with and support of the School. Mel passed away on Oct. 31, 2010.
Imogene Murphy's commitment to Southfield is notable for its length and consistency as both a parent and a grandparent of Southfield students. Imogene has served on both the Board of trustees and the Foundation Board. She has also supported many projects over the years, including most recently, the start of our Archives at Noel Memorial Library, founding of our First Ladies of Southfield group and organizing our Annual Trustee Reunion.
Mr. Atkins was a pillar of the Southfield community for over four decades, supporting the school generously in many roles -- as a parent, grandparent, Foundation Board Member, Trustee and advisor.
As a personal friend of Hazel Kytle and a teacher and parent during Southfield's earliest years, Frances McMillan Schierer is an important link to the School's past. She has been able to bridge the gap across generations for us. She is one of the first and most committed of Southfield's historians.
In August of 1979, a new teacher arrived at Southfield to teach 4-year olds. That is where Judy Cox’s teaching tenure began. Later, in 1980, an opening in the second grade prompted Judy to apply for a move into Lower School. Judy had a gift for working with children. She could bring out their talents and hone their skills.
Judy worked alongside Janet Butcher and Josephine Carmody, wonderful teachers who are both previous Hall of Fame honorees and gave over forty years to Southfield. They worked together on everything from lesson planning to building electric cities to putting together plays. They often reminisced about the old days here at Southfield and spoke about things that they used to teach. One of the things that they talked about was the study of ancient civilizations. Judy was very interested in all that they had to say and she very much wanted to bring those studies back to Southfield. There were a number of discussions about this very important topic at faculty meetings. Judy spoke passionately about the importance of bringing back these in-depth studies. She pointed out that European children had history at their fingertips because they lived in a place where history was all around them. In America, these experiences did not exist for children because nothing in their neighborhood was 2,000 years old. The other classroom teachers agreed and with continued discussions, it was decided that we would bring back the civilization studies but make them more intense by teaching it for only nine weeks using a very hands-on approach and we would integrate it into every part of the school day.
She campaigned tirelessly to get the money appropriated to purchase books and materials. Money in the school budget was extremely tight, but when she approached the Parent’s Club, they too were excited about the idea and agreed to provide $1500 so that we could begin the studies. She worked with other teachers to outline the Civilizations that we might study and each grade level was assigned a civilization. The first year that these units were taught was 1989. The units were taught during the third quarter of the school year and culminated with a Civilization Fair held in the evening so that parents could attend and see what their children and other children around the school had learned.
In 1991, Judy was invited to share Southfield’s Civilization studies with other schools at an ISAS conference. She put together documents, pictures and examples of children’s work and traveled to make her presentation. Her ideas were well-received and other schools adopted some of her ideas for their curriculum.
When Judy moved to third grade in 1989 she was very passionate about the Egyptian unit and their study of the pioneers. She was, in fact, so passionate about the pioneer unit that she decided to apply for money from the Adkins Foundation to spend two months of her summer tracing the steps of Lewis and Clark. Having grown up in St. Louis, she had traveled parts of the trails earlier in life. Judy and her husband went by car, boat and foot along the trail that these two great men had traveled so many years before. In fact, they put over 12,000 miles on their car that summer of 1999. She carefully documented her journey with photographs and to this day is invited each year to talk to third grade about what she learned and to share her slide presentation. Her experiences and knowledge about Lewis and Clark have been invaluable to third grade.
Judy gave twenty-two years of her life to Southfield School and a total of thirty four years to teaching. Her contributions to Southfield are long lasting and will hopefully be here for generations to come.
Jim Haynes was in the first class of Southfield School in 1934. In an extra room at South Highlands Elementary, he and 19 fellow classmates were part of the new “progressive” school of Shreveport, started by several local families. Mr. Haynes was more than just a Southfield student in those days, he was part of a movement, part of a group of families who wanted a better education for their children than the public system could offer. Mrs. Dorothy I. Johnson, with the help of Mrs. Crittenden, the Greer Family, the Hardys and the Haynes family were building something new and something great for the children of Shreveport. Mr. and Mrs. Haynes, Jim’s parents, had become more and more involved in the school. In support of the school, they decided to buy an 8-acre plot of land south of town to give to the school for its new facility. With this first incredible donation, the Southfield School of today was born.
Mr. Haynes finished Southfield it the 9th grade – that was the final grade in those days. He went on to Culver Academy and graduated 12th grade in 1946. He then went on to Princeton University and received a degree in History. After finishing college and fighting for the US Army in the Korean war, Mr. Haynes finally returned home to Shreveport to take on the family business and to start a family of his own. As his business and his family grew, Mr. Haynes supported numerous organizations locally and was a founding member of the local chapter of Ducks Unlimited. With his lovely wife Minette, he went on to have 3 children who all attended Southfield: Minette, Kathy, and James III. During those years, Mr. and Mrs. Haynes were very involved parents at the school, donating time and money to support the school. During the late 60’s and early 70’s, Mr. Haynes served as the Treasurer of the Board of Trustees. He has remained an active supporter of Southfield attending his grandchildren’s events and visiting with the staff to make sure we stay connected with the rich history that is Southfield.
John Brennan Hussey, Jr. was born May 29, 1934. He attended Southfield 1940-48 for first through eighth grades. After Southfield, he attended Byrd High School and Sewanee Military Academy where he was a National Champion diver. He attended college at University of North Carolina and Paul M. Hebert Law School-LSU where he graduated in 1958. John served in the Army and returned to Shreveport to practice law and begin his career in politics.
Hussey was an elected member of the first Shreveport City Council under the mayor-council single-member district format, having served from 1978 until 1982, when he became mayor. On the council, Hussey drafted the rules to govern city council proceedings. In 1986 he was re-elected for a second term and returned to law practice in 1991.
Janet Morrison Burgess started her teaching career at Southfield in 1958. She taught only for one year as she became pregnant with her son, Michael Morrison '77, who she then stayed home to raise. Janet returned to Southfield in 1963 as a 4-year-old preschool teacher. Janet said that the teachers were always encouraged to have plays or programs with their students so she and the music teacher, Mrs. Gobig, decided to present the “Maypole” in May of 1969. The “Maypole” had been a Southfield tradition at “Family Nights” in the 1950s, but it was “Miss Morrison” who started the Maypole tradition for the 4-year-old students at Southfield, a joyous celebration that continues today. Janet continued teaching at Southfield until she retired in 1986.
“Coach Hamner,” as he was lovingly called, was a teacher at Southfield for 21 years until his retirement in 1993. He is best known for his kind and generous leadership as a coach. He was a successful coach of football, baseball and basketball teams at Southfield and a beloved PE teacher as well. Even after his retirement, Coach Hamner spent many days back on campus as a substitute PE teacher. His smiling face and positive attitude were always contagious. A number of Coach Hamner’s athletes went on to play college sports and still have a love for sports today.
Aaron Selber, Jr., was in one of the very first classes at Southfield School. In his acceptance speech for his Hall of Fame induction, he fondly remembered his time as a student. He even brought a beautifully carved wooden bowl he made in woodshop at Southfield. After his time at the school as a student, he spent many more hours as a parent leader on the Board of Trustees during the time his four daughters attended: Patty Newton '73, Pam Weston '75, Polly Gleichenhaus '79 and Penny Autenreith '81. Aaron and his wife, Peggy, remained generous philanthropists not only to Southfield but to a number of other charitable organizations. Aaron remained an active member of the Foundation Board until he passed away Aug. 13, 2013.
Jeff W. Stokes joined Southfield as headmaster in 1990, moving to Shreveport after serving at Phoenix Country Day School. Much has been accomplished in the years since Jeff came to the campus, bringing with him wife, Kathy, and sons Brian ’00 and Kevin ’05, who were then entering the third grade and preschool. From campus improvements added since 1991, including the kindergarten building, Middle School building and Margaret Shaffer Dickson Theater, to the financial health that is vital to Southfield’s success, including establishing an endowment at the School, Jeff’s lasting legacy can be seen schoolwide. His dedication to the mission has also generated record enrollment for the school. Jeff retired at the end of 2012-13 school year, after 23 years at Southfield.
Ed Crawford served on the Southfield Board of Trustees for more than 20 years,
including four years as Board President in the early 1990s. He is the first, and thus far only, honored Lifetime Trustee. He currently serves on the Southfield Foundation Board. Ed was a key member of the search committee that hired Jeff Stokes in 1990. Ed and his family are not only generous supporters of Southfield School and
Centenary College, but are treasured philanthropists to many other great
organizations in our community. Ed currently serves on a number of other community Boards and is managing
partner of Atco Investments in Shreveport.
Laura Crawford founded the Centenary College Suzuki Program in 1977 and continues as its director today. Laura has been the guiding force behind the Suzuki Satellite program at Southfield School, a program unique to Southfield in our community. As a trained and acclaimed violinist herself, Laura has been a tireless advocate of classical music both at Southfield and in the greater Shreveport community. As a mom of four sons at Southfield, Laura was also an active volunteer at the School.
Ed and Laura’s four sons all graduated from Southfield — Edward ’99, Robert ’00, Andrew ’05 and John Henry ’11.