Title: Adult Education Educator
Location: Ballwin, Missouri, United States
Betty DeBow Cunningham has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in adult education.
For more than five decades, Mrs. Cunningham has not only demonstrated professionalism and expertise in teaching, but she is known for being personable, encouraging and truly interested in the success of her students. Her experience as an educator has spanned many disciplines of teaching. She began her career at the elementary level as a remedial reading teacher, during which time she didn’t even have her own classroom. When the district announced that it would be establishing an adult education program, Mrs. Cunningham jumped at the opportunity to help pioneer the curriculum. Since 1968, she has been an integral member of the staff at the Venice-Lincoln Technical Center in Ballwin, Missouri. Regarded by others as a people-person, she has been incredibly impactful in helping adult students learn to read and become more self-sufficient in their lives. “There is nothing more gratifying than helping others feel proud of their accomplishments,” she says, adding that often time students would come to her barely able to food shop unless products have symbols that were familiar to them. By the time they left her classroom, they would be able to confidently read and become more knowledgeable on their own every single day.
Mrs. Cunningham entered the field of education upon achieving her own academic goals. She earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education at Southern Illinois University in 1967. From there, she found success in her early role as director of the Madison County Equal Opportunity Center. Later, Mrs. Cunningham achieved a master’s degree in secondary education and adult education from the University of Missouri in St. Louis. To remain at the top of her field, Mrs. Cunningham has been tremendously involved in the educational community, particularly with the Illinois Adult and Continuing Educators Association, for which she was its junior director for region V from 1996 to 1997 and senior director for the region from 1997 to 1998. She was also a member of the Metro East Literacy Advisory Council in eastern St. Louis. Looking to the future, Mrs. Cunningham plans to pursue passion projects in education while seeking new opportunities to make an impact on others.
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