Saint John Baptist Church
"Blessed to be a Blessing." Genesis 1:27-28, 12:1-3; Deuteronomy 28:1-14
3404 West Beltline Boulevard
Columbia, South Carolina 29203
Church Office: 803-254-4170
Facsimile: 803-254-4036
Preparatory School: 803-256-8542

Member Highights

Naomi Joanna Hall Dreher

Naomi Joanna Hall Dreher, the youngest of seven children born to Reverend Benjamin L. Hall, Sr. and Mrs. Annie E. Commander Hall, was born in Greeleyville, South Carolina. The family moved to Columbia when Naomi was nine months old; therefore, she remembers very little about her birthplace. Naomi attended the Richland County Public Schools where she graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and received her B.A. degree from Benedict College in English Education. In order to remain up to date in her profession, Naomi Dreher continued her studies at South Carolina State University where she received a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education. Her desire to remain current in the field of educational research resulted in further studies at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, the University of South Carolina and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

In 1943, Naomi embarked upon a career in education that would span over 62 years. During this tenure, she served as teacher at Sarah Nance Elementary School (formerly Booker Washington Heights Elementary School) and Burton Elementary School (formerly Farrow Road Elementary School). Following the integration of Richland School District One, she left the classroom to become a social studies consultant and an elementary education consultant. She was hired as one of the first African-American to work in the Personnel Office to interview and hire teachers. Mrs. Dreher served as principal of Waverly Elementary and Watkins Elementary. In 1987, after having served as principal of Watkins Elementary School for seven years, Mrs. Dreher retired from public education. All 43 years of her distinguished career in public schools were devoted to Richland School District One. As a tribute to her success as an educator and administrator, the district named the courtyard at Watkins Elementary School in her honor. The courtyard was later moved to the new Watkins-Nance Elementary School on Barhamville Road.

Mrs. Dreher has received numerous honors and awards, including the Dr. John M. Davis Distinguished Educational Achievement Award presented by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). For ten years she served as the only female member on the South Carolina State Board of Financial Institutions. Since "service above self" is Naomi Dreher's motto, she began a new career at her alma mater, Benedict College, where she made invaluable contributions as director of the Minority Access to teacher Education (MATE) and the African-American Teacher Load (A-ATLP) programs for more than 18 years. These programs encouraged and assisted many students in pursuing a career in teaching. More than 100 minority students were hired as teachers across the country during her tenure at Benedict.

Naomi is a member of Saint John Baptist Church where she serves as a member of the Board of Trustees, member of the Deaconesses Board, General Missionary Organization, Nannie H. Burroughs Missionary Circle, the Preschool Curriculum Committee and serves on the Preparatory School Foundation Board. She has been an active member for 78 years and served as the church's organist for 50 years.

Naomi H. Dreher is a member of several professional and social organizations, including the National Association of University Women (NAUM); "Life Member" and "Golden Soror" of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; South Carolina Education Association-Retired (SCEA-R); Phi Delta Kappa; National Council of Negro Women (NCNW); Benedict College Senior Alumni Association; and the United Way of the Midlands.

Mrs. Dreher is the widow of Wilbert Dreher. They were the parents of three daughters, Wilberanne D. Wells, Ione D. Saxon and Sharon D. Minnieweather. She has one son-in-law, Thomas E. Saxon; two deceased sons-in-law, Robert C. Minnieweather and Curtis D. Wells; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. She is committed to her family, church, education and community. She lives by the motto, "If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living will not be in vain."

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