Maridell (Fisher) Fryar

Teacher/Administrator, BA 1957

Maridell Fryar spent her 36-year career in the field of education and education administration. After retirement, she has continued to serve in leadership roles in her profession and in her community.

Maridell (Fisher) Fryar was born August 18, 1935, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Dr. Fred and Leah Fisher. Maridell’s father served as the chairman of the Bible Department at Hardin-Simmons from 1947 to 1952, before joining the faculty of Golden Gate Seminary.

Maridell attended Abilene Public Schools and later graduated from El Cerrito High School in California in 1953. She then enrolled at Hardin-Simmons University, graduating magna cum laude in 1957 with a BA in speech, minoring in English.

She met her husband, Jack, while they were students at Hardin-Simmons, and the couple was married in June of 1957 shortly after both graduated from HSU. Maridell began her career in 1957 at Lake Worth High School in Lake Worth, Texas, teaching high school speech and English. In 1960, she and Jack moved to California where she was a seventh grade gifted and talented teacher at Vallecito Middle School in San Rafael.

Shortly before the birth of her son, Eric, the young family returned to Texas, and Maridell taught speech and English and was the debate coach at Robert E. Lee High School in Midland, Texas, from 1963 to 1967. In 1967 her daughter Delanna was born, and Maridell became the director of forensics and speech instructor at Hardin-Simmons. After a move to Martin County Texas in 1968, she taught first grade at Grady Elementary School until 1970 when the family returned to Midland and Maridell resumed her work at Lee High School, teaching speech and coaching debate.

Maridell earned a Master of Arts degree in speech communication and English from Texas Tech University in 1972, and a mid-management certification from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in 1978. She also did post-graduate study at Texas Tech University.

In 1979, Maridell became the coordinator of fine arts for the Midland Independent School District. In 1982, she became the director of secondary education for Midland ISD and then, in 1984, she became their executive director of instruction for K through 12. She remained in this position until her retirement in 1993.

Maridell has served as a leader in professional organizations throughout her career, including president of the Texas Speech Communication Association, president of the Texas Forensic Association, and director of the Texas Forensic Association State Tournament. She also served as president of the American Forensic Association and parliamentarian for the National Forensic League Student Congress.

Maridell has served as a consultant for the Texas Educational Secretaries Association and Region 18 for training administrators in the Texas Teacher Appraisal System. She also has served as a statewide consultant for the Texas Education Agency to help prepare teachers to take the TECAT.

In 1966, Maridell received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award for Lee High School in Midland. In 1975, she coached the Lee High School debate team, which was the first West Texas team to qualify for the National Forensic League National Debate Tournament. In 1976, she was named Double Diamond Debate Coach by the National Forensic League.

In 1989, Maridell received the Hardin-Simmons University Distinguished Alumni Award. In 1990, she received the Texas Class Room Teachers Associations’ Administrator of the Year Award at the TCTA State Convention.

Maridell has co-authored six books in the field of communication, three of which were state-adopted textbooks. She has also authored numerous articles for professional journals in the field of communication.

After their retirement in 1993, Maridell and Jack traveled the United States, sight-seeing, visiting friends and family, and researching genealogy. Since Jack’s death in 2004, Maridell has continued to travel, and in 2007, she and her children and grandchildren enjoyed an Alaskan cruise to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her marriage to Jack.

Maridell has stayed active in community and education leadership roles, currently serving as president of the Midland/Odessa Symphony and Chorale Board of Directors and serving as second vice president of the Texas Retired Teachers Association Board of Directors.

It is the high honor of Hardin-Simmons University to recognize one of her own and to formally induct Maridell (Fisher) Fryar into the HSU Hall of Leaders.