Shirley Ann Hull James transitioned this life for her heavenly home on Friday, August 19, 2022 at St. Joseph's Hospital in Savannah, Georgia. Shirley was the first-born child of the marital union between Joseph Hull II and Zelma Mines Hull Owens. Shirley was 73 years old and lived a very full life. She was born on October 19, 1948.
She was a graduate of Savannah State College (University) where she majored in Biology and received a minor in Chemistry. Graduate studies included Nova Southeastern University (Nova) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She received both the Master of Education in Science and Specialist in Education (Education Leadership) degrees in 1988 and 1986, respectively (from Nova). During her undergraduate years at Savannah State College, she joined Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and later was a charter member for one of the graduate chapters in Dade County, Florida.
Shirley’s brilliance led her to excel as an educator. Her career began in the public schools of Jasper County, South Carolina. As a very young woman, she relocated to Miami, Florida. Miami became her beloved home for over thirty years. Shirley developed and wrote the curriculum, and successfully obtained funding for the Miami-Dade Zoo Magnet Program. She was the Zoo Magnet Program’s lead teacher and facilitator from its inception until her retirement in 2000. For thirteen years Shirley’s program received national recognition. She soon distinguished herself by having one of the few science magnet programs in the nation to have a five-day curriculum. The program had two sites, a classroom in Richmond Heights Middle School and one at the Miami-Dade Metro Zoo. Two United States Secretaries of Education visited her program, Richard Wilson Riley and Lamar Alexander.
Shirley’s awards and recognitions included: a participant in an eight-week summer program at Ball State University (Muncie Indiana) in 1972 sponsored by the National Science Foundation focusing on Molecular Biology with emphasis on autoradiography, DNA replication, electrophoresis, electron microscopy and cloning; a frequent presenter at the National and International Magnet Conferences (Seattle, WA. San Jose, CA., Las Vegas, NV., San Diego, CA., Greensboro, N.C., Baltimore, MD.); District Magnet Lead Teacher of The Year – Miami Dade County Public Schools (1994) and District Lead Teacher of The Year – Miami Dade County Public Schools (1995); and one of only fifty teachers nationwide (1995) to be awarded a nine-week summer fellowship by United States Department of Energy. Shirley was assigned to Fernald (FERMCO) and Associated Western Universities Incorporated, Hamilton, Ohio. During that fellowship, while working at the Cincinnati Zoo, she wrote middle school science program lesson plans and information for the exhibit entitled, “Why Is the Dolphin Smiling?” published by the United States Department of Energy (1995).
In addition to the accolades for her program, Shirley was also a very successful grant-writer. Grants included: as a team member for (Educational Consultant/Grant Writer) Puello & Associates, Miami, Florida (1999-2006) for historic Selma, Alabama City schools (2000) - Schools Magnet Federal Grant-Grant Awarded, $3.5 million; Title I, School-wide Grant for Ridgeland, South Carolina Middle School-(2002-2005); the Comprehensive School Reform Grant (three years) - Awarded by the South Carolina Department of Education-$375,000; and grant-writing team member for the Florida International University and Florida City, Florida Covenant Community Development, grant awarded by Hewlett Packard.
Prior to her retirement, Shirley and three other educators started The Miracle Childcare, Inc. to provide children with excellent pre-school care. Shirley retired from Miami-Dade County public schools at the age of 50. Her achievements were celebrated with a proclamation on June 25, 2000 naming that day, Shirley Hull James Day. After retirement, Shirley returned home to Savannah. She was employed by the Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education and ended her career as an educator, where she began, with Jasper County Public Schools in South Carolina.
Cherishing her memory are her beloved daughter Tiffany James Straughter (Corey, Sr.) (Savannah, GA) and three wonderful grandchildren Corey, Jr., Cameron, and Grace; her sisters Allynne Tosca Owens (Savannah, GA), Constance Hull Harrison (Augusta, GA), Susian Hull (Atlanta, GA), Emmerstine (Josette) Hull Mackie (Augusta, GA), Valerie Hull (Augusta, GA), and Rev. Wanda Owens Jones (Atlanta, GA); Brothers: Rev. Dwayne Hull (Guam), and Marcus Hull (Macon, GA); loving nieces, Mrs. Avis Hull Buford (Mobile, AL), Portia Jones Benbow (Kenneth, Sr.) (Atlanta, GA), Jennifer Thompson (Grovetown, GA), Stephanie Hull (Atlanta, GA), Courtney Rouse (Tuscan, AZ), Crystal Harrison (Augusta, GA), and Savanna Harrison (Augusta, GA); nephews Alvin Jones, Jr. (Atlanta, GA), Allen Franklin Jones (ToiDerrica) (Atlanta, GA), Carl Johnson (Augusta, GA), Bernard Mackie (Augusta, GA) and Michael Hull (Atlanta, GA); and grandnephews Kenneth, Jr. (Atlanta, GA) and Ashar Jones (Atlanta, GA); loving cousins Phyllis Boyd (Highland Mills, NY) and Ollie Brooker (Miami, FL); and many friends and a host of other relatives. A loving godmother, Mrs. Sara Derrick Herring (Savannah, GA). Many very close friends Shirley met in Miami are: Deloris Miller, Cecila Gilbert, Cherry Cotton, Doris Lewis, Gwendolyn Coverson, Barbara Nickerson, Conester Johnson, Lavada Tookes. Gail Thompson Bryant, Saundra Young, Gloria Alexander, Dr. Mildred Berry, and Ruby Mobley. Very close and dear friends in South Carolina were Helen Ferebee and Earl Bostick. Two very special friends in Savannah were Dr. Victoria Bryant and Evalina Ladson.
The family is so very grateful to her caregivers Kanesha Simms and Jacqueline Kent, and a very special family friend Mary Ann Goldwire.
Preceding her in passing are her parents: Joseph Hull, II and Zelma Mines Hull Owens; her beloved brother, Joseph Hull III, and dear cousin Martha Brooker Farmer.
At Shirley’s request, the family will not have a funeral. Please pray for the family and thank you all for your love and support during this difficult time.
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