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Who makes a good teacher?

A person who encourages youngsters to have a successful life, says a professor of education who is retiring after 39 years at East Central University.

The colleagues of Dr. Jack Paschall, an Adolph Linscheid Distinguished Teaching Professor who has taught and observed thousands of teachers in his career, think that definition applies to him as well and have established a scholarship in his name through the East Central University Foundation Inc.

"Dr. Paschall has taught at East Central University since the fall of 1970, helping literally thousands of young men and women obtain their dream of a college education," said Mickey Cowan, executive director of the ECU Foundation. "He truly 'never met a student that he did not help.'"

Cowan said a retirement dinner will be held for Paschall to help raise funds to endow the scholarship. The dinner will be at 6 p.m. June 13 [SATURDAY] in the Wagner Ballroom in the Memorial Student Union. Tickets must be purchased in advance by June 1 [MONDAY] and are $50 each, with $40 counting as a tax-deductible donation to the scholarship.

"I'll support anything that helps ECU students," Paschall said. "This is not for me. It's for the students."

Checks should be payable to the ECU Foundation Inc. and mailed to the foundation at 1100 E. 14, Ada, OK 74820. More information is available from the foundation at 580-559-5514.

Paschall, who will be inducted into the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame next fall, said his life at ECU has been extremely rewarding.

"There comes a time when it's time to move on. I always thought it's better to leave while people could still pretend they're sorry to see you go," he said with a hearty laugh.

Paschall estimated he has taught about 10,000 students at ECU.

"If you figure 250 students a year, for 40 years," he said, "that's 10,000 students. I directed audio visual services for the first 11 years and taught an audio visuals course for every student in the Education Department."

Next, he was director of student teaching and field experience for 13 years, assigning all education students to public schools mostly in southeastern Oklahoma along with ECU faculty members to supervise them.

"I supervised a large number myself. I loved that part," he said, "being out in the schools."

Traveling three times a semester to schools that could be as far away as Talihina, Broken Bow, Sapulpa and Duncan also wore out a lot of cars, he said.

Paschall said people decide to become teachers because they find that working with young people is highly enjoyable.

"Teachers and young people are wonderful people to work with," he said. "I've laughed a lot about this -- Look at who lawyers get to be with all day. Then look at who I get to be with all day. It makes me glad I'm not a lawyer," he said with another hearty laugh.

Paschall has worked with the state's Resident Teacher Program for first-year teachers since its beginnings in the early 1980s, visiting schools to observe new teachers at least twice during the first semester and once during the spring semester. New teachers must participate in order to qualify for an Oklahoma teaching certificate.

He taught at the Ardmore Higher Education Center the first semester ECU offered classes there, when the "center" was an abandoned elementary school north of Ardmore, he said. He also has taught ECU classes at McAlester, Duncan and Shawnee.

He also was dean of ECU's School of Graduate Studies from 1990 to 2000.

As the faculty member with the longest continuous service to ECU, Paschall has held the honor of carrying ECU's mace, a symbol of authority, since 2000 while leading the president and platform party in commencement ceremony processions.

"It gets heavier every year," he said.

Paschall may be retiring but he isn't moving out of his office. He will teach online classes part-time next fall and supervise some student teachers.

"I'm looking forward to getting back," he said before he ever left the campus this spring. "I've never had the summer off before," he explained. I've either taught or gone to school full-time."

He was born in New Mexico but grew up in Red Oak, Okla., and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in secondary history and secondary education, respectively, from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He received a doctor of education degree in secondary education and instructional technology in 1970 from the University of Oklahoma.

Paschall taught 8th grade American history at Lovington, N.M., from 1965 to 1967 and was a special instructor at OU from 1967 to 1970.

He and his wife Linda, also a career educator, are the parents of three children, two surviving, and have nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

"I'm blessed to be allowed to spend my life at ECU doing what I've been doing with the people I have been associated with," he said. "I wouldn't change a thing. I truly mean that."

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