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Local educator and entrepreneur Imogene Forte dies

May. 9, 2005, 5:12 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn.óImogene Forte, who devoted her career to improving
education as a teacher, school administrator and successful
businesswoman, died May 8. She was 79.

As an educator, Forte taught in Nashville public schools, was a
supervising teacher of the former Peabody Demonstration School, and in
1961 was invited to become the first director of Nashville‘s Oak Hill
School. An alumna of George Peabody College for Teachers, now Peabody
College at Vanderbilt University, Forte later served on the Peabody
faculty as an associate professor of education.

“Imogene was one of Peabody‘s most dedicated and energetic alumni and
former faculty members,” Camilla P. Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart
Dean of Education and Human Development at Peabody, said. “Her
contributions to this college and to education generally are truly
remarkable. Her work has literally benefited children the world over.
We will miss her greatly.”

After academe, Forte moved into the private sector, becoming the first
vice president and director of curriculum and training for Children‘s
World, a national educational childcare corporation.

In 1969, she founded Incentive Publications, Inc., a Nashville-based
company that publishes supplementary educational materials for
teachers, students and parents. She served as president until her
death. Forte wrote or co-wrote many of Incentive‘s publications,
including the acclaimed “The Definitive Middle School Guide: A Handbook
for Success” and a 52-book series on basic skills for kindergarten
through eighth grade with an accompanying online assessment program.

Born Imogene Cherry in Clay County, Tennessee, she met her husband to be,
Henry Forte, at age 15. They married in 1945 and settled in Nashville
following the war. Forte earned her bachelor‘s degree from Peabody in
1955 and a master‘s degree in elementary education in 1960.

One of Peabody‘s most enthusiastic supporters, she was a longtime
member of the Peabody Alumni Board, where she served as president from
1998 to 1999. In 2000, Peabody named Forte a Distinguished Alumna. Her
community affiliations also included service on the board of Watkins
Institute, now Watkins College of Art and Design.

In addition to her husband, Henry S. Forte, she is survived by a
daughter, Cherrie Farnette; grandchildren, Jennifer Caver (Giles) and
Michael Forte Farnette; great-grandchildren, Henry, William, and Sarah
Jean Caver; sister, Eddie Rose Bartley (Kenneth) of Tompkinsville, Ky.;
sister-in-law, Theresa Embry; and brothers-in-law, Bernard, Emmett and
Don Forte.

Visitation will be held at Marshall Donnelly – Combs Funeral Home, 201
25th Ave. North, on Tuesday, May 10, from 4 to 8 p.m. Funeral rites
will take place at 10 a.m., Wednesday, May 11, at the Otter Creek
Church of Christ, 5253 Granny White Pike. Internment will follow at 3
p.m. at Fitzgerald Cemetery, Celina, Tenn.

Media contact: Melanie Catania (615) 322-NEWS