George Herbert Betts
George Herbert Betts (1868-1934) was a pioneering religious educator of his era, known for his contributions to integration of spirituality with educational theory, psychology and sociology.
His books and papers had a lasting effect on generations of leaders in the field, while also making significant contributions to research into gifted education. He served on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Gifted Children for many years and served as its President.
Early Life and Education
Betts was born and raised in a farming community near Clarksville, Iowa. His parents prioritized education for him and encouraged him to pursue it.
He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology and religious education at Cornell College and Boston University, respectively. Subsequently, he began teaching at Northwestern University.
In 1929, Betts released a report from a conference on religion and conduct held at Northwestern University. In it, he asked whether our churches today preach a religion which can effectively shape behavior and character.
He concluded that, when taught effectively, religion can affect people’s behavior and character. This research makes a significant contribution to the study of education and religion and helped define the field of religious education.
George Betts was an influential figure in educational psychology. He served on the board of NAGC for more than two decades and was honored as one of NAGC’s 50 Most Influential Leaders in Gifted Education History.
He was an internationally acclaimed speaker and consultant who assisted schools, districts, states, and national organizations in creating programs for gifted and talented children. He developed the Autonomous Learner Model (ALM), a teaching method tailored to this population.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Philips University, Enid, Oklahoma. Afterwards, he taught civics and history at Vikan Jr. High in Brighton, CO for two years before enrolling in a Masters program for counseling at University of Northern Colorado, Greeley; ultimately earning his Doctorate in Counseling with an EdD diploma.
Achievements and Honors
George Herbert Betts was an eminent teacher and researcher who had a lasting influence on religious education. He held positions at Cornell College in Iowa, Boston University and Northwestern University, serving as Professor of Psychology from 1901-1918 and Professor of Education with Director of Research from 1919-1926 respectively.
In the field of religion, he published several books and articles on topics such as psychology and classroom management. However, his most influential work was the creation of “the whole child,” a concept which would become widely adopted today in education. This focus on six social and emotional qualities like unconditional positive regard, enthusiasm for learning, self-development, working together and striving for betterment of society remains a cornerstone today.
Betts has earned three Gold Glove awards for his defensive prowess in right field and been hailed by advanced metrics that place him among the game’s best defenders. Additionally, he received a Silver Bat and Wilson Defensive Player of the Year honors.
George Herbert Betts was a quiet, gentle man who dedicated his life to education. His philosophy of educating “the whole child” set him far apart from other educators in that it recognized the complex needs of gifted children – long before other educators recognized these needs.
He was passionate about nurturing his students’ emotional, social and cognitive growth as a teacher. He was also known for his warm personality and willingness to compromise in order to foster peacemaking opportunities.
He believed in serving his profession and held numerous leadership roles both at the national and state level. As past President of NAGC and 21-year member of its Board of Directors, he dedicated himself to this cause.
George Burns was a renowned cigar-smoking comedian whose career evolved through vaudeville, film, radio and television. Additionally, his partnership with Gracie Allen resulted in their having their own hit comedy show: The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show.
In 1996, he passed away at age 68 with a net worth of $20 million.
Niecy Nash has three children from her first marriage to Don Nash and another two with Jay Tucker.
Betts is an acclaimed singer whose career has yielded considerable wealth through her singing and bookings. Additionally, she works as a model and fashion blogger, with estimates placing her net worth around $500K as of 2023.