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Tanton, Sheppard and Jones Tabbed for CISD Hall of Honor

Commerce ISD

COMMERCE - The Commerce ISD announced Thursday the Hall of Honor Class of 2012 of Norris Tanton, Sue Sheppard and Buddy Jones.

Tanton attended Commerce High School but left early to join the U.S. Navy, where he witnessed the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and later received two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. Tanton later served as superintendent from 1962 to 1980.

Sue Sheppard was with the district for 26 years until her retirement in 1992. She served as a teacher and administrator, where she is credited with improving Norris School facilities.

And as principal, Buddy Jones was named District 10 Principal of the Year and chosen administrator of the year by separate organizations. He was captain of the district-champion Tiger football team in 1960.

See the full biographies of Tanton, Sheppard and Jones below.

Honorees will be inducted on October 19 at the CISD Central Administration Building. Later that day, they will attend a pep rally where they will be introduced to CHS students. They will serve as honorary team captains at the homecoming game against Pottsboro. Tickets for the luncheon go on sale September 24 at the Central Administration Building at 3315 Washington.

This is the third year of the Commerce ISD Hall of Honor Program. In 2010, the district chose Harry Champion, Dr. Jack Pirkey, Emmet Day Sr. and June Dunn. 2011 inductees include Alvis Alderman, Ann Champion, Bill Fuhrmeister, Dr. Mary Hendrix, Loretta Kibler and Janet Peek.

Norris Tanton:

Tanton was CISD superintendent from 1962 to 1980, tenure rare for today’s school superintendents. He left Commerce High School early to join the U.S. Navy. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor in 1941 where he was a firsthand witness to the Japanese invasion. While in the service, he received two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. Tanton will be awarded his high school diploma posthumously from CHS during the Hall of Honor induction luncheon, where he will be represented by his daughter Ruth Cherry.

After his military service, Tanton came back to Commerce where he began his pursuit of his own education enrolling at East Texas State Teachers College with special allowances because he did not graduate from high school. His long career in education first began as a teacher at A.L. Day Elementary School and then principal. During his tenure as superintendent, he led the smooth integration of Commerce schools which were absent the turmoil evidenced by other communities.

Tanton is remembered for his firm hand as a leader and his constant belief that all students deserve the best education possible.

Sue Sheppard:

Although Sue Sheppard was a teacher for many of her 26 years as an educator, it was her efforts as an administrator to improve Norris School facilities that make her notable and worthy of her Hall of Honor distinction. 

Sheppard began her teaching career in Coyle, Oklahoma, in 1967. Two years later, she and her husband Ken moved to Commerce where she began teaching second grade. In 1972, she moved to Norris Elementary School teaching fifth grade. Within two years, she was named assistant principal and then principal in 1976. She returned to teaching at A.L. Day Elementary in 1980, and moved into the brand-new Commerce Elementary School campus in 1991. She retired in 1992.

Sheppard and her husband, who passed away this year, have three daughters who attended Commerce schools.

During her time at Norris, she pushed for and succeeded in getting the school renovated including refurbishing the library, adding a new cafeteria and air conditioning and exterior improvements.  

As her former students graduated from CHS they were reminded of their elementary days when she presented them a self portrait she had them do while they were elementary students. Through many events which touched countless lives, Sheppard has left a legacy for students in Commerce.

First as a student athlete at CHS and later as a principal at four different campuses, Buddy Jones has left his mark on Commerce schools.

Jones was captain of the district-champion Tiger football team in 1960 and also elected co-captain of the basketball team that year.

After being awarded the Lion’s Club Scholarship, he attended East Texas State University where he received his bachelor of science, master of education and administrator’s certificate. He began his teaching career in Richardson but after two years it was time to head home where he was named principal at A.L. Day Elementary School. Subsequent principal ships landed him at W.J. Wheeler Elementary, Norris Elementary and A. C. Williams Elementary Schools before he retired in 1995.

Buddy Jones:

Jones has also been active in Commerce civic organizations throughout the years. He served as president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and was the charter president of the Commerce Optimist Club for two years.

He was chosen District 10 Principal of the Year by the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association and chosen administrator of the year by the Commerce Classroom Teachers’ Association on numerous occasions.

Jones and his wife Sarah, also a CHS graduate, recently celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary. Their children, Forrest Jones of Sulphur Springs and Sheely House of Rockwall, are graduated from CHS.  

In making Jones’s nomination, the submitter said, “I do not know a more concerned, dedicated, sincere, worthy person,” than Buddy Jones for this Hall of Honor distinction.

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