Herman Pernell Gatling (1933-1988) and Emma Martin Gatling were both strong leaders in science education. Mr. Gatling attended school in Northampton County and then earned his bachelor of science and master of science degrees from North Carolina Central University, graduating Magna cum laude on both levels. He taught science at both Carver High School in Mount Olive and Hillside and Durham High School in Durham. In 1968, he was asked to serve as the Director of Secondary Education and later the Science and Mathematics Coordinator for Durham County Schools, a position he held until his demise. Mr. Gatling was an advocate of education─teaching science at the Governor’s School for several years; participating in numerous professional educational organizations; and providing strong leadership to schools and school systems during challenging times.
Emma Martin Gatling (1936-2008) was a graduate of Carver High School and later received a bachelor of science degree from Bennett College in Greensboro. She began her teaching at her high school alma mater where she was introduced to the science teacher, Herman Gatling. They married within that school year. She was an outstanding educator committed to the “no child left behind” concept before it was conceived. She received many recognitions for exemplary teaching including the Durham City Schools Teacher of the Year Award and the Outstanding Mathematics Teacher Award.
The Herman and Emma Gatling Award for Outstanding Science Education Leadership in North Carolina was established to honor an educator who exemplifies the high standards Herman and Emma Gatling set in their work and lives. Mr. Gatling received posthumously, the first award in 1989.