NEWPORT—How does one begin teaching in 1975 and be honored for 50 years of service in 2019, a mere 44 years later?
It’s all in how you do the math.
Linda McMahan Branam of Newport was honored recently for 50 years of service to Walters State Community College where she has taught adjunct class in the behavioral and social sciences division since 1975.
Speaking of the honor, WSCC Dean of Distance Education Matthew Hunter said, “Linda Branam has exceptionally served Walters State Community College and students in the service area teaching Psychology as an adjunct faculty for a 50-year equivalent of teaching over 100 terms—quarters and semesters. She has consistently received evaluations from students stating how much they enjoy Ms. Branam’s classes. It is an honor to know Linda Branam.”
“They calculate it by the number of semesters you have taught,” explained Branam, who was surprised when honored at in-service for the Fall 2019 semester. She has taught adjunct classes longer than any other WSCC employee.
“Beth Freeman was instrumental in my starting to teach the classes,” said Branam. “I talked to her about it, she made a telephone call, and I was hired. She helped me in many ways in my career as a teacher,” Branam said.
Education has been Branam’s life.
A 1962 Cocke County High School graduate, she entered East Tennessee State University, along with three other local students, under their Early Admission program. “The others were Janet Breeden of Cosby, and Charlene Cureton and Janyce Winter, both of Parrottsville,” said Branam.
After finishing her degree at ETSU, Branam then earned her Master’s at UT. “I would have gone for my doctorate there,” she said, “but then you had to leave your job for a year, and I simply couldn’t afford it. I later got by EdS instead.”
She also did graduate work at Interamerican University in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, and in 1969, was named the Tennessee Goodwill Ambassador to South America, visiting numerous countries during that time.
Over her decades at WSCC, Branam had taught 103 semesters, instructing hundreds of students in General Psychology I, II, and III, Child Psychology, Adolescent Psychology, Juvenile Delinquency, Criminal Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Abnormal Psychology.
Her years of college instruction haven’t been limited to WSCC.
She taught adjunct classes at Tusculum College (now University) for 23 years. Eleven years there were spent teaching graduate education courses. “In all, I taught 16 different classes at Tusculum,” she explained.
She’s also taught on the campuses of Virginia Intermont and Northeast State, teaching education and psychology classes at VI and psychology classes at NSCC.
“I’ve traveled from Mountain City to Copper Basin, thousands and thousands of miles,” Branam recalled.
And did I mention the 48 years she has been at Newport Grammar School?
After teaching one year in the NGS sixth grade level, she moved to third grade where she spent 39 years, before becoming an NGS guidance counselor.
Many will associate her with SHARP Kids (Sharing Heritage and Regional Pride), a summer program at NGS for students in grades 3-6.
She even taught Head Start at New Center School in Sevier County one summer.
“I’m slowing down some,” she laughed. She only works part-time at NGS and teaches a single class for WSCC now, an evening course at Cocke County High School.
Branam, widow of Gene Branam, has two children: David and Lisa, and one grandson, Gabriel, a sixth-grade student at NGS.