2012 Award Recipients


The Margaret Sue Copenhaver Contribution to Education Award recognizes outstanding commitment and work in the field of education.  The recipients are selected by the MSCI steering committee through a process that seeks to identify those whose lives echo Margaret Sue's passion for teaching and learning.  It is with great pleasure that the Copenhaver Institute presents the tenth annual Contribution to Education Award to Dr. and Mrs. George Akers.

George Akers grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1956. A brother of Sigma Chi at Roanoke College, he majored in education and psychology and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1962. With an endorsement to teach secondary math, physical science, and physics, George started his career at Cave Spring High School where he taught math and science. He served in Virginia's Roanoke County Public Schools as assistant principal at Cave Spring Junior High School from 1973-1989 and principal at Burlington Elementary School from 1989-1994. He has also taught as an adjunct instructor with the University of Virginia. He holds a master's degree in science education from the University of Virginia and a doctorate in science education from the University of Maryland where he had been previously selected for the National Science Foundation's Academic Year Institute.

Throughout his career, George has been active in many professional organizations, including the National Science Teachers Association, Virginia Association of Science Teachers, Virginia Education Association, and has been called upon as a science fair judge. He was awarded a Life Membership in the Virginia Congress of Parent Teacher Association.

Nancy Camper Akers, a native of Radford, began her formal education at McGuffey experimental school, K-6, on the campus of Radford College. She graduated from Radford High School in 1954 where she was a member of the tennis and basketball teams and the school glee club. She received the Arion Music Award for Outstanding Achievement in Vocal Music. Nancy majored in music education at Radford College - Women's Division of Virginia Polytechnic Institute. During her college career, she was a member of Sigma Kappa sorority, May Court, cotillion club, and played in the famous Highlander band. After graduating in 1958, Nancy taught instrumental and vocal music, K-12, in Virginia's Roanoke City Public Schools and Maryland's Prince George's County Public Schools. She was selected to membership in Alpha Delta Kappa honorary education sorority.

Nancy has taught in most of Roanoke City's elementary schools and served as assistant band director in junior high and high school marching bands. In addition to her many PTA programs, she co-organized and directed The Fallon Park Dancers, a music and physical education program designed to promote positive self-image and personal skills for urban, at-risk students. Nancy was awarded a Life Membership in the Virginia Congress of Parent Teacher Association.

During their professional lives, George and Nancy were members and leaders of Kappa Delta Pi, an International Honor Society in Education. With Dr. Mack Welford, they founded the Roanoke College Upsilon Tau Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi and for many years initiated Roanoke College education students as members.

George and Nancy married in November, 1966, and are the proud parents of son David and daughter- in-law Angela. They have a granddaughter, Alyssa, and two step-granddaughters, Mikayla and Sierra.