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UMW Hosts “Night of Stars” Education Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

February 29, 2024

The University of Montana Western's Education Department and Alumni office, in partnership with Stockman Bank, present the 11th Annual Night of Stars Education Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, April 20, 2024.

The evening will begin with the induction ceremony at 6:00 p.m. in the Beier Auditorium, followed by a post-ceremony reception with drinks and hors d’oeuvres at 8:00 p.m. in the Lewis and Clark Room, located in Mathews Hall.

The celebration will induct five Montana Western alumni into the Education Hall of Fame in recognition of their phenomenal dedication to education and will honor twelve current education students as Outstanding Teacher Candidates. This year’s class of inductees include: Percy Craddock, Cindy Farmer, Mark Clark, Patricia Haynes Gibson, and Jackie Sproul Taylor.

The Outstanding Teacher Candidates include: Alexis Cannon, Kailynn Field, Jordan Sweeney, Pralie Duffin, Riley Henderson, John Gamble, Ruby Stenberg, Leona Colvin, Loran Murphy, Bailey Schuchard, and Garret Yeager. UMW Professor of Education, Dr. Laura Straus, will be presented with the William C. Bagley Education Faculty Award for her service and leadership to the Education Division.   

Admission to the Night of Stars induction ceremony is complimentary. Tickets for the reception can be purchased by contacting Kelly Allen at 406-683-7306 or online by visiting For additional information, please contact UMW Alumni Coordinator, Jolene Robbins: 406-683-7303 or [email protected].

Education Hall of Fame Inductees

Percy Craddock: Legacy Award Honoree

Percy Craddock, a cherished and longtime resident of Butte, MT, left behind a legacy of dedication, service, and a profound impact on the community he held dear.

Born and raised in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Butte, Percy’s formative years were deeply influenced by the time spent at his grandpa’s ranch in Ramsay, MT. It was there that he developed a lasting appreciation for hard work, a value that would shape his character and guide him throughout his life.

Percy graduated from Butte High School in 1954, the beginning of a journey marked by service to his country and a commitment to education. In January of 1963, Percy married Lois Carveth, and together, they embarked on a series of adventures that took them from the California coast, where Percy served in the Army during the Vietnam War, to settling in Seaside, CA. The couple eventually returned to Butte to start a family.

After his military service, Percy pursued higher education at Western Montana College (now UMW), majoring in industrial arts and education. He later went on to get a Master’s degree from WMC. From 1972 to 1998 he dedicated the majority of his teaching career to Butte High, where he taught carpentry and later became an instructor for adult education classes. 

Percy’s professional journey was marked by a profound commitment to education. From teaching woodshop at Butte High, and pioneering the school-to-work program, he left an indelible mark on the institutions he served. Post-retirement, Percy continued his dedication to education by playing a pivotal role in launching the carpentry program at Reintegrating Youthful Offenders (RYO). He served as the VICA advisor, coaching students to national competitions. As a founding member of the Montana Woodcarvers Association, Percy shared his passion by teaching woodcarving at Belmont Senior Center, amassing an impressive 50 years of teaching woodcarving by the age of 84.

Beyond his professional achievements, Percy found joy in various hobbies, including card games, horseshoes, cross country skiing and snowmobiling. Drawing from his own experiences as a high school hockey player, he also coached basketball and hockey, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of the young athletes he mentored.

Percy’s legacy of dedication, service, and passion for education will be remembered with fondness and gratitude by all who had the privilege of knowing him. 

Cindy Farmer

Cindy Farmer grew up in Superior, MT where she was a standout athlete. It was no surprise when Cindy was recruited by Coach Corr to play basketball for the Lady Bulldogs at Western Montana College. Cindy graduated magna cum laude in 1985 with a double major in PE Health Enhancement K-12 and Business 5-12 and went on to get a Master’s in Education Technology. While at WMC, Cindy earned academic All-Conference honors and was the sports editor for the campus newspaper, the Wescolite. 

Her teaching career began in Poplar, MT where she was the middle school PE teacher and coached basketball and track. After three years at Poplar, Cindy moved to Belfry, MT where she taught business and coached girls and boys basketball, volleyball, and track. She also served as the athletic director for a short time. After 10 years at Belfry High School, Cindy moved to Hardin, MT where she has taught and coached since 1998. She currently teaches high school business classes including marketing, street law, business math, and business cooperative. Cindy also coaches the Hardin Bulldogs in cross country, girls basketball, and track. She currently serves as the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) club advisor and runs the DECA store. DECA prepares emerging student leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. 

Throughout her time at Hardin High School, Cindy’s teams have won several Class A State Championship titles in track, one in girls basketball, and she has coached numerous individual state champions in track. She has been selected as Montana Coach of the year six times in cross country and one time in basketball. Cindy has been a member of the Montana High School Association Rules Committee for the past six years and the Montana Coaches Association Class A Director for four years. 

Cindy expresses that her time at Western has not only resulted in lifelong friendships both on the court and in the classroom, but has also been enriched by top-notch and fulfilling instruction and guidance from her professors.

Mark Clark

Mark Clark, from Carson City, NV, is a 1992 graduate of Western Montana College. Graduating magna cum laude, he earned a BS in Secondary Education with a major in history and a minor in reading K-12. During his time at WMC, Mark’s commitment to education was evident as he became a member of the Kappa Pi National Education Honorary Fraternity and served as Chief Justice of the Associated Students.

Mark’s journey post-graduation took various turns, offering him a range of experiences that shaped his professional path. Mark would eventually become a correctional officer and serve at several facilities across the country including Miami, FL, Forrest City, AR, and Tucson, AZ, where he would use his teaching experiences and skills he gained from WMC.

In Forrest City, Mark served as an instructor in several topics including GED, English-As-Second Language, Literacy, Self-Defense, Diversity, and went on to become an Assistant Supervisor of Education and was the Forrest City Employee of the Month. At the Federal Correctional Complex in Tucson, he earned the title of Supervisor of the Quarter three times. His dedication and impact were further recognized with the prestigious Federal Bureau of Prisons Golden Apple Award for the Western Region. His passion for creating opportunities led to valuable partnerships, such as collaborating with the University of Arizona’s Extension Office and the Alternative to Violence Project. 

Volunteering for the Boy Scouts of America as a Webelo’s Den Leader and being appointed the Committee Chair for Boy Scout Troop 770 has allowed Mark to connect with school-aged students. He also volunteers at the Vail Food Bank and currently works at the Arizona State Museum as a part-time security guard.

Patricia Haynes Gibson

A Fairfield, MT native, Patricia Haynes Gibson attended Western Montana College from 1971-1975. In 1975, she successfully earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and music. Throughout her time at WMC, Patricia actively engaged in various organizations, showcasing her commitment to both academic and extracurricular pursuits. Her involvement included roles such as Spurs Junior Advisor, student body vice president, student body secretary, and senior class president. Patricia was also recognized in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. Additionally, her passion for music led her to participate in Choraliers, a traveling music group. Patricia was also a member of the Blue-Ribbon Committee and was homecoming queen. 

Following her graduation from WMC, Patricia began a dedicated teaching career, leaving an impact across various elementary schools in Montana. Her teaching journey included positions in Kevin, Lewistown, and Belfry, MT, and Colville, WA. Notably, she dedicated 27 years to Wenatchee, WA, where she served as a PE teacher for grades K-5. 

During her time in Wenatchee, Patricia demonstrated leadership by serving as a teacher leader for a school-wide behavior program affiliated with the University of Washington. In addition to her primary teaching role, she contributed as a principal substitute and initiated an after school running club, involving both students and parents during the fall and spring season. Patricia actively participated in Parent Teacher Association, and took on the role of school drama director. She also played a pivotal role as physical education curriculum developer for the district and developed district-wide field days. Outside of the school setting, Patricia demonstrates a strong sense of community involvement by singing in the Hurricane Community Choir, volunteering for the Senior Games in St. George, UT, and actively works to secure school clothes and books for students in need. 

Jackie Sproul Taylor

Jackie Sproul Taylor is a proud WMC alumna hailing from Columbia Falls, MT. Jackie graduated from Western Montana College in 1998 with a BS in Elementary Education and an AS in Early Childhood. Her commitment to academic excellence was evident through achievements such as graduating magna cum laude and consistently making the Dean’s List. Jackie was also a volleyball player for the Lady Bulldogs in the fall of 1993. 

Jackie and her husband, Willis, moved to Newburgh, NY in December of 1998 where she worked as a substitute teacher. Her passion for education led her to Children’s Country Day School in Windsor, NY, where she quickly became an integral part of the school community and taught fourth and fifth grade while also teaching Spanish for grades first through sixth. Jackie’s leadership qualities were recognized quickly and she was promoted to Interim Head of the Children’s Country Day School.  

In the summer of 2001, Jackie and Willis relocated to Portland, OR where Jackie assumed a teaching position at The Gardner School in Vancouver, WA. Over the span of 18 years, Jackie demonstrated her versatility by teaching students across various grade levels. During her tenure at TGS, Jackie made significant contributions, including presenting at an international conference in Iceland on the multiple intelligences theory. She also held the role of Curriculum Director for an impressive 20 years. Outside the classroom, Jackie volunteered as a soccer coach, mentored new teachers, and led several community events. Her impact also extended to designing and implementing thematic-based integrated studies.

Jackie reached another milestone in her educational journey by earning a Master’s Degree in Teacher Leadership in 2015. In 2019, with the support of several teachers and families, she founded the Lupine Experiential School in Vancouver. Over the past five years, Lupine has flourished and has grown from 33 students to 78. In addition to teaching in the fourth and fifth grade class, Jackie is also head of the school. 

Jackie’s experiences at WMC were filled with cherished moments, including her participation in the National Childhood Conference in Toronto, Canada.