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Baltimore County Schools Superintendent and State Politician Donald Kenneth Hughes Sr. Dies – Baltimore Sun

Donald Kenneth Hughes Sr., former superintendent of Baltimore County schools who served in the Maryland House of Delegates and was Maryland’s first teacher of the year, died of dementia June 26 at Arden Court in Riderwood. The former High Country Road resident in Hampton was 88.

“Don was an honest guy with a lot of integrity,” said Joseph Bartenfelder, Maryland agriculture secretary and former member of the House of Delegates. “He embodied the apolitical politician. We need more Don Hughes in power today.

Born in Baltimore and raised in East Baltimore, he was the son of Charles Sheldon Hughes, a boilermaker, and Margaret Hofmeister, a housewife. He graduated from Patterson Park High School in 1953 and earned degrees at what is now Towson University and Johns Hopkins University.

While an undergraduate at Towson, he met his future wife, Colleen Stokely, a fellow student.

Mr Hughes, who played football and wrestled, was a Mason Dixon Tournament winner in 1956. He was named to the Towson University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1980.

He joined the faculty of St. Paul’s School for Boys and coached wrestling. In 2013, the school named Mr. Hughes to its Athletic Hall of Fame.

He later became a teacher in Baltimore County Schools and taught sixth grade at Hampton Elementary School on Charmuth Road. He was named Outstanding Young Educator by the Young Timonium-Cockeysville Chamber of Commerce in 1969.

“Don knew every child by name and he would greet them that way,” said Robert Y. Dubel, former superintendent of Baltimore County Schools. “He was sensitive and loved children. He was also a big believer in American values.

Mr. Hughes was Maryland’s Teacher of the Year in 1971. The award, the first annual award given, was promoted through a selection process by Look magazine.

He was nominated by state school superintendent James A. Sesenbaugh and appointed by its principal, May Robinson. She based her recommendation on her “special concern for children, her superior relationships with peers, parents and the community at large”.

In an interview with The Sun, he said his approach to discipline was “to know your student, give them attention and avoid confrontation”.

He was not averse to noise in class. “Noise can be a good thing if it’s the noise of children learning with enthusiasm,” he said.

Later he moved into administration and served as vice-principal at Fullerton Elementary and Red House Run School in Golden Ring.

He was later appointed principal of Berkshire Elementary in Dundalk.

Mr. Hughes was the Baltimore County Youth Commissioner in 1978. He also coached football at the Cromwell Valley Recreation Council.

Mr. Hughes teamed up with childhood friend Theodore “Ted” Venetoulis, a former Baltimore County Executive and political activist, and helped him with his political campaigns.

Mr. Venetoulis appointed him chairman of the Baltimore County Youth Commission and held hearings in municipal courts to get an idea of ​​what needs to be done to improve conditions for young people.

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Once in the political arena, Mr. Hughes decided to run for public office and was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates. He served from 1979 to 1986. He served in Baltimore County’s Ninth District with fellow delegates Martha Klima and Thomas B. Kernan for much of his service.

He was the subject of a Sun newspaper article in 1982 when he reported that he had been offered a political campaign contribution by representatives of the former Hechinger hardware stores who were calling for the repeal of the blue sunday laws. Mr Hughes said he wanted to retain the existing law which kept large stores closed on Sundays.

He also sought the advice of state Attorney General Stephen Sachs on whether a judge could award joint custody of a child in a divorce case, a matter which in 1983 was subject to on bail. Mr Sachs said a judge could actually award joint custody.

He became well known in the community and was named the Most Distinguished Individual in 1981 by the Towson Jaycees.

Mr Hughes loved to take long walks in the Loch Raven catchment area.

Survivors include his 64-year-old wife, Colleen Stokely, a former teacher and housewife of Baltimore country schools; two sons, Donald K. Hughes Jr. of Parkville and David S. Hughes of Lutherville; four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Services were held Friday at Ruck Towson Funeral Home.