Retired educator taught more than subject matter

Published 4:34 pm Monday, May 23, 2011

Calera alumnus Charles and Betty Alverson have been married 54 years. (Contributed)

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

The legacy of educators isn’t words carved in stone, but on tear-stained thank-you notes of former students. Betty Franklin Alverson, 1956 alumnus and former educator of Calera High School, invested 28 years into the academic success the school experiences today.

Alverson earned a Bachelor of Arts in history with a minor in English in 1968 and a Master of Arts with an emphasis in English and education in 1979 from the University of Montevallo. Her teaching career began and ended in Calera.

Sharing a memory while student teaching, Alverson said, “Christine Dobson and I took students on a field trip to Montgomery. Cars passed the bus honking and waving, and it puzzled me until I discovered them holding a sign to the back window.”

CHS Social Studies teacher Danny Alverson was on that bus. “My dear Aunt Betty is one of the most influential teachers to walk the halls of Calera High. She’s played a major role in the achievements of principals, doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professionals. Words can only attempt to praise such a wonderful person that’s truly heaven sent.”

Alverson laughed recounting the class of ’98 learning symbolism. “After ‘Animal Farm,’ we read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ After reading the first chapter, which introduces Atticus and Scout Finch, Billy Rhoads stated enthusiastically, ‘I get it Mrs. Alverson! This is about a family of birds.’ The class lost it.”

U.S. Army Airborne School staff sergeant Robbie Hall visits Alverson when he’s in town. “Mrs. Alverson has been an inspiration to me. Her persistence and caring motivated students to be the best they could be. She reaches people in a way others can’t. She’ll always have a place in my heart.”

Alverson also taught piano. Debbie Horton, a Shelby County Schools system retired educator of 30 years, shared how Alverson impacted her development as a musician. “When I was 7, I took piano from our church pianist, Betty Alverson. She was gentle and kind, her words always encouraging. I felt her passion for teaching, and I thank her for being part of my life. Everyone needs a Mrs. Alverson in their life!”

Alverson and husband Charles have three children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her daughter, Donna Bradshaw, is bookkeeper for Calera Middle School. Calera Elementary K-5 teacher Dana Bradshaw Janney wrote in fifth grade her grandmother had inspired her to teach.

Her name carved in marble could never define Betty Alverson as does the praises of former students and family.

Mollie Brown can be reached at