Past Presidents

The first twp meetings of the Society in 1948 and 1949

were “convened” by S. G. Brinkley, Emory University,

and J. W. Norman, University of Florida. The first reference

to "President" was in 1950.


1950     J. W. Norman, University of Florida 

1951-1970    (No information available.)

1971         Sr. Vera Lane, Xavier University, New Orleans

1972          Robert Heslep, University of Georgia

1973          Robert Curran, University of Florida

1974          C. J. B. Macmillan, Florida State University

1975           Daniel DeNicola, Rollins College

1976           Robert R. Sherman, University of Florida

1977           Brenda Mapel, University of Alabama, Birmingham

1978            Richard Elliot, University of New Orleans

1979            Katherine Ernst, Georgia State University

1980            Rodney P. Riegle, Illinois State University

1981            Alanson Van Fleet, University of Tennessee

1982            Winston Bridges, Univ, of South Florida, Bayboro

1983            Charles Rudder, Auburn University

1984             Henry G. Marks, New Orleans School District

1985             Samuel D. Andrews, University of Florida

1986             Joseph W. Newman, University of South Alabama

1987             David Vold, University of Alabama

1988             Emanel I. Shargel, Florida State University

1989             Joseph DeVitis, State University of New York, Binghamton

1990             Erskine Dottin, University of West Florida

1991             Douglas Simpson, Texas Christian University

1992             Thomas A. Brindley, Univ. of Alabama, Huntsville

1993              Erwin Johanningmeier, University of South Florida

1994              Joe L. Green, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport

1995              James Kaminsky, Auburn University

1996              Jeffrey Roth, University of Florida

1997              Deron Boyles, Georgia State University

1998              James Garrison, Virginia Technological University

1999              Stephen Tomlinson, The University of Alabama

2000               Theresa Richardson, University of South Florida

2001               Susan Rouse, Kennesaw State University

2002                Delores Liston, Georgia Southern University

2003                Rick Lakes, Georgia State University

2004                Benjamin Baez, Georgia State University

2005                Deanna Michael, University of South Florida

2006                John Petrovic, The University of Alabama

2007        Randy Hewitt, University of Central Florida

2008        Eric Sheffield, Missouri State University

2009        Stephen Triche, Nicholls State University

2010        Andrew McKnight, University of Alabama, Birmingham

2011        Philip Kovacs, University of Alabama, Huntsville

2012        Becky Atkinson, The University of Alabama

2013        Dennis Attick, Clayton State University

2014        Carolyn Pluim, Northern Illinois University

2015        Aaron Kuntz, The University of Alabama

2016        Jessica Heybach, Aurora University




The Society held its first meeting (or “conference”) in Albany, Georgia, at the Hotel Gordon, on November 11-13, 1948.  Earlier in 1948, S. G. Brinkley, Professor of Education at Emory University, and J. W. Norman, Dean Emeritus of Education at the University of Florida, and perhaps a few others, met in Albany to organize the Society as a regional division (IV) of the national Philosophy of Education Society.  By the third meeting, in 1950, the name of the organization became what it is today, the “Southeastern Region,” and encompassed (according to the 1949 program) South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama.  The geographic spread is much broader today.  A map outline on the cover of the 1987 program shows ten states in the region, extending north to Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, and west to Tennessee and Mississippi (and participants in the program, over the years, have come as well from as far away as Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland, Louisiana, and Missouri).

In the absence of an organizational statement, the original (and ongoing) aims of the Society can be inferred from the early meetings.  At the 1948 meeting it was said that philosophy considered education “from the point of view of values, consistency, and intelligent approach,” a “process of dealing with aims, methods, and curriculum of education critically, comprehensively, systematically, and responsibly.”   Objectives for philosophy of education were “testing principles in the light of continuing experience”; making choices explicit within foreseeable consequences; making premises and values explicit; encouraging critical thinking and problem solving; emphasizing cooperative thinking and shared interests; and developing “the attitude of [working] cooperatively with people who differ.”  In 1950, welcoming letters were received from philosophy of education stalwarts:  John Dewey, William Heard Kilpatrick, H. Gordon Hullfish, and H. Bruce Raup.  (Boyd Bode hosted the 1950 meeting at the University of Florida.)   Dewey wrote: “work to keep open the channels of communication, to prevent ‘curtains’ of class interest or national interest, or any other, from shutting out light and preventing freedom of inquiry and expression.” 

Day and one half meetings, on a weekend, have been usual since the first meeting.  Though the first meeting, and several meetings after that, was held in November, since at least the early 1960s (and perhaps earlier) they have been held regularly on the first weekend in February.  Also from the first, and continuing today, meetings of the Society never have “settled” into a place, but have rotated from one state, community, and institution to another.

In the early years, participants in the meetings did not read and respond to individual papers, as they do now, but “chatted” about important professional and disciplinary matters.  In addition to discussions of Society objectives, there has been talk, from the beginning, about the role that a course in philosophy of education should have in teacher education programs.  (Already in 1948 it was said that such programs were moving away from including philosophy!)  Further, it was suggested that philosophy should not be confined to a specific part of the preparation program, but was concerned with the total field of education.  And moral education usually has been a topic at the meetings. 

Students always have been welcome to participate in the meetings.  (The record of the 1950 meeting says that “anyone interested and attending is automatically a full member.”)  They have not been hesitant to speak up.  In 1950 they were given the last word in appraising two moral positions—Dewey and the Idealist, and they said, “One does not have to choose between the . . . positions.  Philosophies are tools to be used as needed in the achievement of ends.  The conference has led to ‘confusion worse confounded.’  Terms have not been defined; the farther we have gone, the muddier the water has become.”  In the subsequent half century since that time, hundreds of participants in the meeting have done their best to make the understanding and practice of education more clear. 

~ Robert R. Sherman