Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Staff/Personnel

Staff 1986 – 1996
Student 1937-1940


AKA: Ellen “Mattie” or “Mac” Ayers Hayes

Ellen Ayers Hayes was a student at Pine Mountain and later a staff member heading the Intervention Program at the School in the 1980’s.  She was born in Twila, Kentucky to a large family of six girls, all of whom attended Pine Mountain Settlement School.  Her father was a coal miner and her mother a school teacher and housewife. She was married to Director Paul Hayes in the Chapel at Pine Mountain in 1943, following her graduation from Pine Mountain in 1941.

Ellen Ayers ("Mattie" Ayers)

Ellen Ayers (“Mattie” Ayers) Hayes

A good student, “Mattie” aimed to be a journalist and focused on English classes while at Pine Mountain.  An extrovert and very social student, “Mac”, or “Mattie” as her friends called her, was active in many clubs and events at the School including drama, dancing, singing, and editor of the School publication the Pine Cone.

As the youngest of the six daughters of H.G. and E. Cake Ayers, (both born in 1894) “Mattie” graduated in 1941 and was accepted in Berea College, where she majored in education.  Her five sisters, Joan, Georgia, Ruby, Bonnie and Evelyn, formed a strong support system for “Mattie” as she made her way through Pine Mountain’s program.

Like her sisters, “Mattie” excelled in her courses with a few exceptions (Chemistry) and formed a strong attachment to the School.  In the 1980’s she and her husband Paul welcomed the opportunity to “give back’ when Pine Mountain in the 1980’s asked Paul Hayes to intervene as an interim Director of the School.  Invited to serve as an interim director, Paul ended up remaining for ten years at the School as the Director with “Mattie” at his side.  Generally referred to as “Mac” in her later years, Ellen served as  coordinator of the community Intervention Program and worked to develop skills and training for at-risk youth in the Pine Mountain area.  She also assisted Paul with daily administration and operations of the School.

Mattie died of cancer during the eighth year of  the couple’s “interim” stay and Paul died in the tenth year of his Directorship, also of cancer. Paul and Mattie had four children: Martha, Paul Silven, Mae, and Henry.

The Ayers family and the Hayes family had a long association with Pine Mountain Settlement School and “Mattie’s” correspondence includes both her school record as well as personal correspondence with the Hayes family (not yet added), with staff at the School and with her sisters and family.

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