Weatherford College has announced retired Springtown ISD administrator Mike Gilley as the 2018 Alumnus of the Year. He will be honored during the annual Alumni Awards Luncheon April 13 along with Distinguished Alumni Award honorees Lynn Easley and Fredrick Sanders.
Gilley is a 1969 graduate of WC and a native of Springtown. He completed his education at the University of Texas at Arlington and Tarleton State University ultimately earning a master’s degree.
His career in Springtown ISD began in the classroom teaching, but he later moved into administration where he served as principal of Watson Elementary, principal of Springtown Middle School, principal of Springtown High School and, ultimately, as the district’s assistant superintendent. Gilley retired in 2016, after 45 years of service to Springtown ISD.
“I could not tell you where I would be other than Springtown,” Gilley told the Springtown Epigraph for a 2016 article covering his lengthy career. “It’s not something we ever considered. I have had offers to go elsewhere – even offers to be superintendent (in other districts) – but I never had an inclination to leave Springtown.”
Gilley was named the district’s High School Teacher of the Year in 1978 and received the Lamar Medal by the Springtown Masons in 2003 for his service to public education. He was also recognized by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 for his quick response and bravery during a campus fire.
He and wife, Linda, whom he met while attending WC, have been married for 47 years and have three sons and daughters-in-law, five grandsons and one granddaughter.
Easley grew up in the Texas Pythian Home after his mother relinquished her parental rights in 1956. After graduating from Weatherford High School and WC, he joined the U.S. Air Force before completing both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at the University of North Texas. His working years included time as a custodial worker, welder, painter, teacher, counselor and vice principal.
He received several teacher of the year awards during the ‘80s and ‘90s in the Kennedale ISD, including the title of Texas Vocational Teacher of the Year and National Trade and Industrial Teacher of the Year in 1996. He was named a Weatherford ISD distinguished alumnus in 2016.
Sanders graduated from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts in Dallas and attended WC on a music scholarship. He played the piano in the WC Jazz Band under the direction of Duane Durrett and Tom Burchill and went on to study at Southwest Texas State University and Southern University in Baton Rouge.
Sanders has performed and recorded with music greats including Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Norah Jones, David “Fathead” Newman, Erykah Badu and Doctor John. He has also released two highly-acclaimed solo albums.
He was hired in 2017 as the head of jazz studies at his high school alma mater. He is also active with the Dallas Jazz Piano Society as an instructor in their Keys4Kids program.
The Alumni Awards Luncheon will take place at 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 13, in the Doss Student Center. The public is welcome to attend. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. To purchase tickets, call 817-598-6273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.