Award commemorates slain teacher


A Dayton home tutor who was raped and murdered earlier this year was honored with a posthumous award in her name that will be given each year to a home-hospital teacher.

The first Shirley Rue Mullinex Award of Excellence was accepted Wednesday by Wayne Mullinex, the husband of the 57-year-old woman whose body was found in March behind a Columbia convenience store in the village of Kings Contrivance.

"I wish Shirley was there to accept the award," Mr. Mullinex said in a telephone interview Friday. "Shirley never saw herself as an extraordinary teacher."

Mr. Mullinex said he hopes the annual award brings recognition and greater visibility to the home-hospital program, in which tutors instruct children who are unable to attend school due to illness or disciplinary problems.

The award was conceived by Howard County Superintendent Michael E. Hickey and Peggy Schultz, coordinator of the school system's home-hospital program.

"We wanted to honor Shirley's commitment to teaching and we wanted to make home-hospital teachers feel a part of the system instead of being out there alone," Mr. Hickey said.

"She's an example of the home-hospital program," Ms. Schultz said of the slain teacher. "These are wonderful people who extend themselves to students every day."

Mr. Mullinex said although his wife was isolated from other teachers, she enjoyed the independence and intimacy of the job.

"It was great," Mr. Mullinex said. "It was one-on-one. A teacher's dream. You don't have to try to keep the attention of 30 kids nodding off in the back."

Mrs. Mullinex was allegedly strangled to death in the home of 16-year-old Alton Romero Young in March. The youth is charged as an adult with first-degree murder, robbery and assault.

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