Laura Jenkins ’98 receives award from Etowah Chamber of Commerce
Laura Jenkins, left, receives the Educator of the Year Award from Mark Nichols during the Etowah Chamber of Commerce annual dinner.
Laura Jenkins ’98, who has taught at Mountain View Elementary School for the past 24 years, has been recognized with the Joe Quirk Educator of the Year, presented by the Etowah Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Starr Regional Medical Center.
“Great teachers are the soul of an enlightened society. We entrust them with the most precious thing we know in life: our children,” said Starr Regional Medical Center CEO Mark Nichols, who presented the award on the hospital’s behalf during the chamber’s annual dinner. “If we look back over our own years in school, I’m sure each of us could name a special teacher, one who inspired us, who helped mold us and, sometimes, changed our life. I’m sure many students who have attended Mountain View Elementary School over the past 24 years would mention the same name, that of the person we are honoring this evening.”
In addition to her classroom duties, primarily in the third and fourth grades, Jenkins shares her knowledge with other educators, serving on the Mountain View School Leadership Team and on several county-wide committees, including the Common Core Pacing Committee, Electronic Devices and Information Systems Committee and McMinn County’s Five-Year Planning Committee.
She shares more with her students than lessons in the classroom. She takes a personal interest in the children as well.
While accepting the award, Jenkins recounted a heartwarming story about one of her former students. “A story I always remember is from years ago, when a young girl asked me for some tape so she could reattach her sole to her shoe. At my planning period, I called Don Webb (owner of Johnson’s Department Store in Etowah). He said to come down to the store and get the girl a pair of shoes. And, of course, he would not accept money for them. Having those new shoes gave that young girl the confidence to hold her head high.”
Her students have demonstrated over the years her effectiveness in the classroom. Test scores for her students are always at the top in the county and the state, it was stated during the award presentation. Jenkins’ students TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program) results have shown most effective gains with her students as students entering third grade in the bottom 25 percent in reading and math have shown significant achievement gains by scoring in the 75th percentile in those subjects by the mid-year.
“I am proud to reach my professional goals, but what I thrive on is giving 100 percent of my time, attention and love to those in my care. Thank you for this great honor,” she said.
Bill Dunham ’73, a financial advisor with the Johnson City Branch of Wells Fargo Advisors, has been named first vice president-investments/Iinvestment officer. Dunham has served with Wells Fargo Advisors for 14 years and has 15 years of experience in the financial services industry. He is a member of St. Mary’s Church and the Johnson City American Little League. Dunham lives in Piney Flats with his wife, Bonnie.
Diane Turner Montgomery ’86 was guest director of Roanoke College’s winter production of “Blithe Spirit” by Noel Coward.
Sherri Voiles Brown ‘91’93 has joined Realty Executives – East Tennessee Realtors of Greeneville as an agent. She and her husband, Mike, also own Brown’s Custom Fencing and Construction. She also enjoys working on her Katahdin sheep farm.
Billie Parsons Schneider ’99 has been named principal at St. Anne Catholic School in Bristol, VA. Schneider, who is a teacher at the school, will replace the current principal, who is retiring, on July 1. Schneider has taught in Catholic schools for 33 years and is in her 28th year at St. Anne’s. She has taught first grade, sixth grade and middle school language arts, mathematics and computer exploratory classes. Schneider has also served as the coordinator of the middle school since 2000 and has served as “acting principal” at times when the school’s administrators had to be absent. Schneider has been active in the St. Anne parish since 1987. She has not always been a Catholic, having converted while in college, and is sensitive to the faiths and beliefs of her non-Catholic students and often asked them to share their faith’s traditions and ideals.
Bobbie Phillips ’01 of Maryville, TN, has joined the Celina Insurance Group as a marketing representative in East Tennessee.
Chad Jordan ’02 has been named athletic director of Christian Heritage School in Dalton, GA. Jordan is currently serving as the school’s assistant athletic director and a coach for football and golf. He will fill the position at the end of the school year. Jordan teaches computer applications, health, physical education and speech at the school and is the school’s prefect coordinator. Prior to his tenure at Christian Heritage School two years ago, Jordan was an assistant football coach and head golf coach at Dalton High School.
Brent Dyson ’04, a native of Damascus, VA, has been promoted to assistant vice president and business development officer for The Bank of Marion. Dyson has been manager of The Bank of Glade Spring, a branch of The Bank of Marion, since 2005. His office will be located in The Bank of Glade Spring. In 2013, Dyson completed The Virginia Bankers Association’s School of Bank Management at The University of Virginia. He is currently enrolled in The Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University, a three-year program focused on commercial banking. In his junior year at Tusculum, Dyson was a student intern with The Bank of Marion, which helped him decide he wanted to pursue a career in community banking. Dyson and his wife, Megan, reside in Glade Spring with their son, Brady and daughter, Emery.
Virginia Ann “Jan” Taylor McCartt ’44 of Kingsport, TN, passed away March 3, 2015. Mrs. McCartt was a life-long resident of East Tennessee and a life-long Methodist, serving churches throughout the region with her husband, Rev. J. Spurgeon McCartt. For more than 60 years, she was an active member of the United Methodist Women and served as treasurer, secretary and president of the Holston Conference United Methodist Women. Mrs. McCartt had lived in Kingsport for the last 22 years and was a member of First Broad Street United Methodist Church. She and her husband also lived in Wellsbourne, England, for two years and traveled extensively. As a twirling drum major for the Morristown High School Band, she performed at the 1940 World’s Fair in New York City. Mrs. McCartt was a master quilter and seamstress, as well as a creative baker and cook.
Betty Louise James Van Blarcom ’47 of Mountainside, NJ, passed away March 26, 2015. Mrs. Van Blarcom was an active member of First Baptist Church and spend many hours doing community volunteer work.
George Arthur Westbrook ’49 of Hendersonville, NC, passed away January 15, 2014. Mr. Westbrook is a veteran, having served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as an aviator cadet. While attending Tusculum, he met and married Evelyn Tripp ’49. Mr. Westbrook was a chemist at American Cyanamid Lederle Laboratories in Pearl River, NY. He was a past master of the Masonic Lodge and a life member of the Hook and Ladder Fire Department in Pearl River. Mr. Westbrook earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University and retired as director of administration of Champion Paper Company. After retirement, he and his wife moved to New Jersey where he served as treasurer and senior warden of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Barnegat Light. The couple then moved to Stuart, FL, before settling in Hendersonville in 1999. His survivors and Tusculum alumni in addition to his wife are sons Thomas Westbrook ’75 and William Westbrook ’79.
Gregory Manual Kyle ’79 of Morristown, TN, passed away on March 24, 2015, after a long bout of lung disease. Mr.Kyle was well known throughout East Tennessee as a sports photographer for the Citizen Tribune and official photographer at Walters State Community College. His shot of a ballerina in flight, taken at WSCC, won state honors. He received the Tennessee Press Association’s Photographer of the Year Award in 2010 and 2012. Mr. Kyle was a deacon, trustee and treasurer of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Whitesburg, TN. He received the Union of Churches and Ministerial Alliance of Hamblen County and Vicinity Community Service Award in 2012.
Ellis Junior Jackson ’86 of Knoxville, TN, passed away March 30, 2009. Mr. Jackson was a U.S. Army veteran who had served in Vietnam from 1966-68. He had worked at the U.S. Department of Energy’s K-25, X-10 and Y-12 facilities in Oak Ridge, TN. He continued to work as a consultant to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory after his retirement. Mr. Jackson was a longtime member and past president of the American Association of Cost Engineers. A member of West Park Baptist Church in Knoxville, he was an accomplished singer and musician who sang with the Promise Land Quartet. He played and taught guitar, as well as played his favorite instrument, the steel guitar, with several groups. He also enjoyed trout fishing and golf.
John Stephenson ’89 of Memphis, TN, passed away December 30, 2006. Mr. Stephenson had been an eighth grade teacher at Kingsbury Junior High School.
Deborah Hyden ’96 of Duluth, GA, passed away July 31, 2012. Ms. Hyden was a well respected attorney in Gwinnett County in the suburbs of Atlanta. Hyden had earned a master’s degree in education from Tusculum and was an elementary school teacher prior to pursuing a career in law. She graduated first in her class from the University of Tennessee College of Law. After passing the bar exam in both Georgia and Tennessee, she became a law professor at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta. She served as a prosecutor for the Office of the Gwinnett County Solicitor General before opening her own criminal defense law practice. A devout Christian, Hyden considered her law practice as a ministry. In both her days of teaching school and practicing law, many children and adults came to know the love of Jesus through her life.
Misti Summer Anderson ’02 of Greeneville, TN, passed away on April 4, 2015, after a courageous battle with Hemangiomapericytoma. Mrs. Anderson had taught at McDonald School for the past seven years, as long as her health permitted, and was also a beloved volleyball and softball coach at the school. She had started her teaching career at West Pines School, where she coached basketball. Mrs. Anderson was a faithful member of Brown Springs Baptist Church, and enjoyed sports, the beach and spending time with family and friends.