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PRIDE

T H E G O O D T E AC H E R E X P L A I N S . T H E S U P E R I O R T E AC H E R D E M O N S T R AT E S . T H E G R E AT T E AC H E R I N S P I R E S .

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PRIDE NOVEMBER 2006 The mission of Texas A&M University-Commerce is to provide a personal educational experience for a diverse community of life long learners. Our purpose is to discover and disseminate knowledge for leadership and service in an interconnected and dynamic world. Our challenge is to nurture partnerships for the intellectual, cultural, social and economic vitality of Texas and beyond.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Distinguished Alumni Back to School Frank Ashley Steps into New Role 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 12 13 14 18 19 20 22 23 24 28 29 30

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ducation changes lives. Growing up, I knew I wanted to make others’ lives better, and I thought the best way I could do that was to be a teacher. When you educate someone, I feel you’ve really made this world a better place. That’s what teachers try to do each day through the students they teach, inspire and encourage. In this issue of Pride you’ll read about some of our alumni who are doing exactly that: trying to make the world a better place by inspiring and encouraging tomorrow’s leaders. It’s that desire to make a positive impact that led me to the teaching field many years ago, and what led both my daughters to follow in my footsteps and become teachers. It’s what drives our faculty and alumni to find new and innovative ways to reach their students and get them excited about learning. I frequently ask myself a question that I don’t have the answer to: How do you calculate the value of even one of those teachers who will go out and have a 25-30 year career? What a value they will have added to society during their tenure. I don’t think it’s even possible to put a dollar value to that. If one teacher inspires even five or six kids to think about becoming research scientists,

doctors or even teachers, what a great impact he or she has had on that young life—and the world. I’m proud of what Texas A&M University-Commerce is doing to prepare teachers, and have tremendous respect for our reputation, built for over the past century, of producing quality educators. We remain one of the top teacher producers in the state, and produce more principals than any in Texas. I believe teaching is one of the noblest professions. Who teaches the future astronauts and doctors to read and write? Without their teachers to educate, guide and encourage their talents, some of our most outstanding minds may not have ever reached their potential.

Changing the World, One Teacher at a Time Lasting Impressions Head of the Class Passionate Role Model Making Their Own Way Inspired Choices Classroom Innovator Two A&M-Commerce Students Win Teaching Awards Classroom Preparation Distance Education Metroplex Center Caters to Graduate Students Navarro College Beyond the Call of Duty All in the Family A Lifetime of Blue and Gold Class Notes

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Keith D. McFarland, Ph.D. President and CEO Texas A&M University-Commerce

About the Cover: Education provides the building blocks to society, and teachers play an important role in educating and encouraging the leaders of tomorrow. Texas A&M University-Commerce is proud of its reputation as a leading producer of teachers and administrators in the state of Texas, and strives to continue that trend for many years to come.

Fall 2006; Vol. 2 Pride is published three times a year by the Texas A&M University-Commerce alumni office. Non profit postage paid at Addison, Texas. Pride is distributed without charge to former students, faculty, staff and friends of Texas A&M Univeristy-Commerce.

Randy Jolly, Editor in Chief Amy Halbert, Managing Editor Rick Hogan, Design Craig Buck, (B.S.’93) Photography Twila Scroggins, (B.B.A.’78) Assistant to the Director Mary Lou Hazal (B.S.’75, M.P.A. ’80), Lorraine Pace, Writers

Address changes, inquiries, and contributions of information may be made to Alumni Relations at 903-886-5765, or online to alumni_relations@tamu-commerce.edu, or to Texas A&M University-Commerce, Alumni Relations, P.O. Box 3011, Commerce, TX 75249

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A Distinguished Honor

Back to school

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he Distinguished Alumni Citation is one of the university’s most prestigious awards. And Alumni Relations Director Derryle Peace, (B.S. ’74, M.S. ’75) invites you to suggest the next recipient. “Alumni play a critical role in the nomination process,” says Peace. He notes that, with approximately 70,000 graduates worldwide excelling in every field imaginable, it’s just not possible for his staff to hear about every alumni achievement and encourages alumni to nominate potential distinguished alumni or alumnus with outstanding professional or civic achievements. To formally nominate someone just download The Distinguished Alumnus nomination form from the alumni relations web site at www.tamucommerce.edu/advancement/alumni/request. Meet your fellow alumni.

of Black Communicators and serves on A&MCommerce’s Foundation Board. In addition to his column, James serves as a writing coach for journalism students at Richland College and performs numerous speaking engagements in the Metroplex area.

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(B.S. ’64) remains an active member of the Paris Regional Medical Center. She is the past district governor of Rotary District 5830 and is currently preparing for a month-long trip to Switzerland in April 2007 to lead a group study exchange (GSE) team of four young non-Rotarians. Jo Ann feels that her involvement with the university is a great opportunity to contribute to her alma mater. Her involvement on the foundation board and in other capacities has been a wonderful experience. She said the university provided her a career path and that her degree from the university was the best insurance she could ever hope to have.

Jo Ann Parkman

James Ragland (B.S. ’84) is an award-winning reporter, editor and columnist for The Dallas Morning News. His columns appear twice a week in the Metro section. In 2004, he started a new specialty column, “Building Bridges,” designed to facilitate a national dialogue on race matters, cultural issues and ethical concerns. Before launching his column in 2000, James was a veteran reporter whose work appeared in numerous publications including The Washington Post, The Washington Post Magazine and Emerge magazine. He also has appeared on numerous local radio and television programs in the Washington, D.C., and Dallas areas, as well as on national programs including National Public Radio. James is involved in numerous volunteer causes and recently served two terms as president of the local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. He’s now immediate past president of the Dallas/Fort Worth Association
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Robert (Buddie) Barnes (B.S.’76) is active in the Dallas community and serves as a trustee for the Episcopal Foundation of Dallas and the Gaston Episcopal Hospital Foundation. He is also a member of the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, which sponsors the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. Buddie serves as president of the A&M-Commerce Foundation Board, College of Business and Technology Advisory Board and was selected as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2004. Buddie feels that he would not have gotten as far as he has without the education he received from the university. He has a deep and abiding love for Texas A&M UniversityCommerce because he received one-on-one help from his instructors when needed. He is grateful for the opportunity that the university gave him. �

udolph Villarreal (B.S.I.S. ’06) retired from the United States Post Office in 1999 after 35 years of service. But that retirement didn’t last long. With a young son at home, he decided it was not the time to be retired. Within two years, he was enrolled part-time at A&M-Commerce’s Navarro campus to pursue his teaching certification in elementary education. Villarreal, now 61, teaches special education at Ruby Young Elementary in DeSoto, Texas. Like most firstyear teachers, he is working to find his own teaching style and the best way to reach his young students. Sometimes those breakthroughs happen in the most unexpected ways. Such was the case with one of Villarreal’s most unruly students, Darius. One day Villarreal was reading the class a short story he had written and illustrated for one of his A&M-Commerce classes entitled “Esperanza.” Inspired by the story, Darius took notebook paper and a pencil, and poured all his energy into creating his own artistic interpretation of “Esperanza.” He told his teacher he wanted to draw pictures when he grew up. “That’s what makes you feel good,” Villarreal said. “When you finally find something that really interests them and you see what you’re teaching them finally click in their heads.” �

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Frank Ashley steps into new role

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he man affectionately known to many in The Texas member, is vital to the success of the university. “We’re A&M University System as “Dr. Dance” has twoall part of a team. I don’t think that one function is more stepped into a new role at A&M-Commerce, that of important than the other. The bottom line is that every area interim provost and vice president for Academic/Student is important. Affairs. Dr. Frank Ashley, “As a former coach, I former dean of the College really believe in teamwork. of Education and Human If one person doesn’t fulfill Services, took over the role their responsibility, the of interim July 1. whole thing breaks down,” During his more than he said. 20 years in education, Ashley credits past Ashley has served in many teachers and mentors with capacities: high school his outlook on work. He biology teacher, coach, said he was fortunate to dance teacher, college have teachers who pushed professor, associate dean, him to excel. “I guess they director of admissions and knew better than I what now, interim provost. my potential was. There This new role brings were several people in with it numerous my life who believed in opportunities and me even at times when I challenges, but Ashley didn’t believe in myself,” is prepared. “Taking he said. on the role of the chief It’s an idea he brought academic officer is a huge into his own classrooms. job, and one with lots of “When I taught education responsibility,” he said. courses to future teachers, As provost, Ashley the one thing I tried to is responsible for the instill in them was the fact university’s three academic that you have to believe colleges, as well as student that every student can be affairs and enrollment successful. Students pretty management. much will rise to your Dr. Frank Ashley believes every department and every staff member “There’s no way you expectations.” is vital to the success of A&M-Commerce. can know everything about He said the same every area,” Ashley said. principle can be applied to “You have to have a general understanding of every area administrators. “I try to look for the best in people. I truly and know how they contribute to the development of a believe that people will rise to the expectations you give student who comes to the university.” them. That’s the way I live my life. The way I operate as an Ashley believes that every department, and every staff administrator.” �
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Teachers with passion change the world,” said Dr. James Vornberg, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Services at Texas A&M University-Commerce. “And if you’re passionate about teaching, you belong here,” he said. A&M-Commerce has been responsible for producing some of the most talented and dedicated teachers in the state for more than 100 years. “We train teachers,” Vornberg said. “And as a result, schools all over Texas are populated with educators and administrators who were trained at Texas A&M-Commerce.” By the time education majors graduate, they are well prepared to lead their own classrooms. One-on-one mentoring and hands-on, classroom training give A&MCommerce graduates the confidence and skills they need to make an immediate and positive impact in their first teaching job. Vornberg knows the importance of that kind of intense preparation as he had the opposite experience with his own introduction to student teaching. He said his student teaching was more trial by fire when what was supposed to be six weeks of classroom observation turned into six weeks of the real thing when the teacher he was to observe was out for five weeks. That experience didn’t turn him away from the profession he loves; he spent many years as a high school English and social studies teacher in Missouri. He had just started his second year of teaching when he decided to join the military. While in the Air Force, he obtained his master’s degree and began working on his doctorate. Upon leaving the military, he received his doctoral degree and joined the American School of Sao Paulo, Brazil, as assistant to the superintendent. In 1974, he came to East Texas State University, as A&M-Commerce was then known, as assistant professor of educational administration, and has been with the university ever since. Like so many teachers going into the field today, Vornberg owes his passion for teaching to one of his earliest teachers and mentors. Vornberg said he never gave much thought to becoming a teacher, but was influenced by the passion and zeal of his political science professor, who encouraged him to try teaching as a career. “It’s that kind of excitement for teaching we try to show every new student when they arrive here,” said Vornberg. “To see how many teachers, principals and superintendents have graduated from this university is a powerful testimony to the rich heritage we have of producing quality educators. “We want every person who achieves an undergraduate or graduate degree in teaching at Texas A&M University-Commerce to be the best teacher their students will ever have.” �
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Changing the world, one teacher at a time

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Lasting Impressions
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e all remember that special teacher. The one who moved us, pushed us, challenged us, or just made us feel special. We asked some of our own faculty members to tell us about teachers who made lasting impressions on them — big or small.
teacher. Further, the Alexanders and I attended the same church where they provided spiritual leadership as well. Therefore, I am pleased to report that I have been fortunate to receive…“a double portion of goodness.” Associate Professor, Elementary Education My seventh grade teacher, Donna Valenta, was inspirational in several ways. She encouraged the students to go beyond what was normally expected and press the limits in their abilities. For example, another student and I were allowed to self-pace and work together for math instruction while she worked with the rest of the class. With her guidance and gentle pushes, the other student and I worked through the entire book while the rest of the class struggled to get half finished. As the school was a small private school in a very small rural town, we did not have a lot of opportunities. She encouraged us to explore new things and brought in things that we would not have had the opportunity to experience — when she introduced us to the game of chess we thought she was making this up.

Dr. Gil Naizer

Professor, Early Childhood Education Throughout my elementary, middle and high school years, my life and career were positively influenced by Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Alexander. Mr. Alexander was a principal who provided strong leadership and served as a strong role model for me throughout the elementary, middle and high school years. His wife, Mrs. Lillian Alexander, served as my school counselor. Collectively, they provided continued support and encouragement that influenced my decision to become a

Dr. David L. Brown

Assistant Dean, Academic and Student Affairs When I was in the second grade, Clara Slough was my teacher and I loved her just like all the others in my class. One afternoon I remember putting my chair upside down on my desk (as we did in those days so the building attendant could sweep the floor after we all left) and headed home. My mother got a call later wanting to know why I had left school early. I was mortified and thought how stupid my desk must have looked (and me, too!) being the only one with its chair upside down on it. Although I thought school was over, it seems that it was only recess. I was so afraid to go back to school the next day; everyone would know how brainless I was. But what I learned was that Ms. Slough didn’t make an example of me, didn’t embarrass me in front of the others and didn’t laugh at me — she just let me know in her kind way the next day that we were going out to recess, not home! I learned so much from that incident; to pay attention more closely, gratefulness for a kind reminder and not a reprimand and that it’s OK to make mistakes, because that is how you learn. She knew how to lift a spirit, embrace a scared soul, remove a fear and recognize the value in each of us. �

Dr. Sharon Chambers

Kathy Black says she can’t imagine anything more rewarding than teaching. The Commerce High School graduate teaches second grade at Commerce Elementary School.

Head of the Class

by Mary Lou Hazal; photo by Craig Buck

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athy Black (B.S.I.S. ’05) wouldn’t think of doing anything else. This second grade teacher at Commerce Elementary School said she couldn’t imagine anything more rewarding than helping 22 very eager, smiling and wonderful faces. “They brighten my spirits,” she said of her students. A Commerce High School graduate who is in her second year of teaching, Black considered two other Texas universities before enrolling at A&M-Commerce. She decided to stay at home and attend A&M-Commerce because she felt it had a more comprehensive program in teacher education. At A&M-Commerce, this student found a caring and competent faculty, some of whom were public school teachers themselves, who gave their college students both book learning and personal experiences from their classrooms. An early childhood major, Black said she especially enjoyed the adjunct faculty, including Sherry Rector and Myra Beadles, who in addition to their work at A&M-Commerce, teach at

Commerce Middle School. Black credits Dr. Gil Naizer of the curriculum instruction department (formerly known as elementary education) with having an impact on her teaching. “Dr. Naizer and Dr. Ben Doughty (retired physics department head) turned on the light for me in science. I found fun ways to learn about and teach science,” Black said. She learned from Naizer’s approach to science to integrate it with other disciplines, so that a study on rocks, for instance, included math and social studies. Now that she’s teaching, this professor even stops by her classroom occasionally to ask how it is going and if he can give her any ideas on a unit of study she is planning. Naizer is not the only A&M-Commerce professor who has stopped by to check on the former student and see how she’s doing, Black said. “They don’t have to do that. Teaching and helping teachers is their passion. I am very impressed by that.” �
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PASSIONATE ROLE MODEL
by Amy Halbert; photos by Craig Buck

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o call Janet Morrison (M.S. ’02, Ed.D. ’05), director of education for Central Dallas Ministries, passionate is to call Mt. Everest an anthill. If you want to test that analogy, ask her about the educational opportunities available to inner city children. Most times Janet channels that passion into her work but sometimes, she admits, it gets the best of her. Like at a 2002 education conference in Italy. Janet, Dr. Martha Foote (head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at A&MCommerce) and fellow doctoral student Sheri Vasinda (M.S. ’99, Ed.D. ’04) attended a weeklong conference dedicated to the Reggio Emilia learning method. A surprise, if somewhat unwelcome, guest for the conference was then Secretary of Education William Riley. Janet said he walked into the conference with his entourage and interrupted the speaker to address the audience. “It was like he was making a photo op,” she said. “All he kept saying was, ‘We’re going to do, I’m going to do.’ But I hadn’t seen results,” she said. “You get that a lot in general with education and kids. People say, ‘We’re going to do all these big things,’ and nothing ever happens. “I get frustrated when people complain about our future, but don’t provide the resources to equip the kids who are our future. If we don’t provide the opportunity for a quality education to all children, if we limit the resources available to low-income areas, we miss out on our possibilities to raise up some amazing leaders.” In addition to what Janet saw as more empty promises from a politician, she also discovered the United States was one of only two countries to not ratify UNICEF’s “Convention of the Rights of the Child” and the Mine Ban Treaty. She was outraged and wanted answers from Riley. Instead of writing a letter, as many people would, Janet decided to ask Riley in person. “I can’t remember what I talked to him about. I think I just said, ‘Are you really going to do what you said you would?’ I don’t really remember,” she said, a little embarrassed by her outburst. “My passion kind of got the best of me that day.”

CENTRAL DALLAS MINISTRIES To the people who know her, that passion and willingness to stand up for her beliefs is what they most admire. “Janet has a drive in her that I have failed to see in too many other people,” said A&M-Commerce sophomore Jessica Orogbu. Jessica worked several summers with Janet at CDM’s University of Values (UV) summer program. “It is like there is something instilled in her to make an impact on the world. She may or may not realize it, but I think that everyone she comes in contact with is able to take something from her whether it is something she did or something she said.” SENSE OF COMMUNITY Janet works in South Dallas, but does not commute from the suburbs. Instead, she makes her home in the community in which she works. The people she works with are her neighbors, and she sees her community’s good and bad points firsthand. “I grew up in the country where everyone knew you. I like the idea of being connected with a community. I’ve gotten to know people, and I wouldn’t have that if I didn’t live here,” she said. “The people I work with and see during the day, I get to see in the evenings.” That connection led her to become aware of the educational needs of the children in her community when she began her job with CDM 11 years ago. “I lived in an apartment complex with lots of kids,” she said. “And I noticed many kids struggled with reading. I wanted to know why, and what could I do to help.” Janet knew many of the families in her complex from church, and soon children started coming over to her apartment. “They’d hang out, draw, play on the computer, whatever. They’d tell their friends, ‘Come over to Miss Janet’s house.’ It just snowballed from there. When I’d come home from work, they’d be waiting outside.” That led her to think about returning to school to further her own education so she could help even more children. AFTER-SCHOOL ACADEMY Janet’s desire to help local children with their reading motivated her to suggest CDM start some kind of after-school program for the community. They did, creating Turner Courts After-



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Passionate role model
School Academy in South Dallas. For $5 a month, parents have the peace of mind of knowing their children are well taken care of after school. Many of the staff members and volunteers also have children in the program. “I’m most pleased that the people who run the program are in the community,” she said. Janet has worked for Central Dallas “I love that. I didn’t necessarily plan to Ministries for 11 years. hire parents, but that’s where I’ve found great leadership. The capacity is in the community. There’s not a big need to find an outside person when it’s right here.” Wyshina Harris, after-school education coordinator, is a prime example of that, having become involved with the program a few years ago when she enrolled her daughter. She first became a volunteer and eventually stepped into her current role as coordinator. The program is open to kindergarten through fifth graders, who are picked up from school by a van and taken to the after-school academy. The children arrive around 3:15 p.m., politely greet each staff member and sign in. After a quick snack, they sit at a table to do their homework. Once it’s completed, the children get a stamp on their hands and move on to one of the many educational centers. Afterwards, they clean up and move on to group time. There they can choose from activities such as golf, chess, ballet, photography, art, Kwanzaa or reading club. At 6 p.m., dinner is served. Between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m., the children head home, bellies full, homework completed, ready for family time. TEENS TO THE RESCUE Another successful program at CDM is its University of Values (UV) summer program. All of the teachers for this program are teenagers and volunteers. After initial training from Janet and other teachers, the teens take over and lead the eight-week program. Janet learned early on that the teenagers were more than capable of handling the program without her help. During the Reggio Emilia conference in Italy, Janet said she made the mistake of checking in at work. “It was two weeks before the summer program and our summer roster wasn’t full. I’d always tried to get everything organized, but I had run out of time and couldn’t recruit families from Italy. “So I called to check in. An assistant said the summer program wasn’t going to happen because only 10 to 20 kids had signed up. She said they were going to cut the program unless we had a full slate of kids.” Janet panicked and asked the assistant to start calling the teenagers and ask them to recruit kids. “They stepped up to the plate,” she said. “When I got back, the teens had recruited all the kids we needed, but that same summer, we still didn’t have money,” Janet said. “I told them we needed to raise money. I was only paying them minimum wage, but when they realized the program might not go on without financial help, they gave up their first paycheck in order to help program. “That’s when I realized that too often we try to go in and ‘fix’ things in a community that isn’t ours instead of asking the people who live there what they want and need. The capacity is already there. What I figured out is that all we need to do is work alongside people, combine our talents and abilities, and the community can run the program themselves,” Janet said. A LITTLE HELP FROM HER FRIENDS Janet is a huge champion for education, for children as well as herself. As part of her desire to help children learn, Janet decided the best way to help them was to further her own education. She started working on her master’s at A&MCommerce and once that was completed, she went on to pursue her doctorate, something she’d never planned. “I wanted to get more education,” she said. “I never thought about being a doctor. Once I began pursuing my doctorate, there was a guy at church who always called me Doc. Because he had faith in me, I believed I could do it,” she said. Janet also received plenty of encouragement from her fellow students. “I never thought I was a good writer. But people in our doctoral cohort group told me I was a good writer. The people in that group believed in me until I began believing

Children’s education assistant Sylvia Harris (right) demonstrates how to make a necklace out of large pasta noodles.

in myself. That taught me a lot about kids. Sometimes we have to believe in kids and their abilities before they can begin believing in themselves.” It’s that kind of encouragement Janet and her coworkers pass along to their young students. “Janet believes in us and tells us that we can do it, and if she believes in us, why would we not believe in ourselves?” Jessica said. “When we accomplish something…we know that she is proud and she never fails to give us a pat on the back. With all that she does, it is hard to believe that she ever goes to sleep.” �
Janet thanks her audience for their attention during story time at the after-school academy.

Rhonnie Williams helps Eddie Robertson with his homework. Rhonnie is a social work intern from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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Making Their Own Way

Inspired Choices

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t takes someone who is truly dedicated and committed to helping children reach their potential to become a teacher. Helping prepare these teachers for the classroom is something Texas A&M University-Commerce has been doing for more than 100 years. Below are the stories of four of our education undergraduates who are doing their internships and residencies at surrounding schools. Some of them were inspired to teach by their own teachers. Some just have a desire to help others. All have the drive to make a difference in the lives of their students and inspire them to achieve great things. NOEMI GONZALEZ, (EC-4th, special certification in bilingual education) “I really want to inspire kids,” Noemi Gonzalez said. “They are our future and I really want to help them.” Gonzalez especially wants to help Hispanic students who are struggling to adapt to the American education system. She is enrolled in the bilingual education program at A&M-Commerce to learn how to best teach these students. “In a bilingual program, they have the chance to learn English but keep their culture as well,” she said. During her time at A&M-Commerce, one of her professors in particular has made a lasting impact on her, Dr. Chris Green. “Dr. Green is the most knowledgeable person I know,” she said. “She teaches us to really be advocates for bilingual education and be good teachers. She’s very inspirational.” JOSHUA FENDLEY (4th-8th grade math) “When I was a kid, I had teachers who really inspired me to learn,” said Josh Fendley, who plans to teach math in middle school. “I want to give others that feeling.” Fendley decided A&M-Commerce was the place to earn his degree because of their reputation for producing quality educators. He wasn’t disappointed, cultivating the skills he would need one day to run his own classroom. Along with the satisfaction of helping children learn comes the pressure of knowing you’re responsible for thousands of impressionable minds. “You have influence over so many young minds and you’re either going to do it right or wrong. A&M-Commerce does a good job of teaching you how to do it right.” TERI-RAE ALTENBAUMER (4th-8th grade science) “Teaching is a way to always be learning,” said Teri-Rae Altenbaumer. “That’s what I love about it.” Altenbaumer started her college career at the University of Texas-Austin, but after a few years, she grew dismayed with the large, impersonal university. She moved back to Northeast Texas and decided to finish her degree at Texas A&M-Commerce. The smaller campus and close-knit university community was a welcomed change from the anonymity of UT. “I love the closeness of it,” she said of the Commerce campus. “I keep seeing people I know, and the professors are just topnotch in their fields.” Altenbaumer loves teaching science and wants her young students to like it as well. “I want to get them interested in science because life is science.” SARAH TOWNSON (4th-8th grade math) Townson, who is working on her internship at A&M-Commerce, can’t wait to get a classroom of her own. “I thought I’d be nervous,” she said. “But I’m not. I just can’t wait to get in my own classroom.” Townson is currently interning in Rockwall. “It’s really hands-on,” she said of the university’s internship program. “This is what I’ll be doing. This is a chance to see what I’ll be doing on a regular basis.” Townson attributes her love of math to teachers she had growing up. “The teachers I had were so great and inspirational,” she said. “They made it fun. I want to show kids that learning math can be fun and easy.” �

Jessica Orogbu plans to teach elementary.

Bridgette Miles wants to teach high school English.

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ot only is Janet Morrison a champion for education, she is also a great recruiter for A&M-Commerce. Two students she worked with during Central Dallas Ministries’ University of Values (UV) summer program, Jessica Orogbu and Bridgette Miles, are sophomores at A&MCommerce and want to become teachers. Jessica, who worked several summers for UV, wants to be an elementary school teacher. “Teaching is my passion,” she said. “When I got involved with the summer camp program, it really cemented that this is what I wanted to do.” Jessica said her first goal is to get into the classroom, but she plans to eventually pursue her master’s and perhaps

later, her doctorate. Bridgette spent last summer as a volunteer for UV, something she said she didn’t expect to enjoy as much as she did. “They were just such awesome little kids,” she said. “They made me want to come back. It was all worthwhile.” Bridgette wants to teach high school English and would like to work at her high school, where she said there was a mix of good and bad teachers. “I think I owe it to my community to go back and be a good teacher,” she said. “We had a lot of teachers at my high school who just didn’t care. I want to go back and be one who does.” �



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Classroom Innovator
by Amy Halbert; photos by Craig Buck

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he excited chatter of children fills the hallways of Story Elementary in Allen as students make their way to their classes. That excitement lingers as third and fourth graders reach their final destination: Sheri Vasinda’s (M.S. ’99, Ed.D. ’04) classroom. Cluttered around the room are signs of learning, empowerment and student creativity. A quote from Socrates, “Wisdom Begins with Wonder,” is displayed prominently on the chalkboard. Books and art supplies overflow white shelves by the door and the student artwork papers the walls. The room is cozy and inviting, buzzing with energy usually reserved for recess. But the cause of today’s excitement is a science experiment. “We’re trying to think like scientists,” Sheri tells her eager students, as their minds race with how to build a boat using only 50 grams of brightly colored modeling clay. Some decide to stick to their previous construction material, tin foil. Others decide to take on the clay boat challenge. Sheri explains to the students that real scientists go through many prototypes before they perfect their design. Armed with that knowledge, they pair up and begin to build their boats. But before actual construction begins, they must formulate a hypothesis, then make the model, test it and document their results. And so boats are built. They’re put in a small tank to check their seaworthiness and filled with marbles to test their capacity. Once testing is completed, the young scientists head back to their desks to document their findings. A NEW APPROACH TO LEARNING Sheri’s approach to teaching bucks the traditional trend: teacher lectures, students furiously scribble notes, students take test. Repeat. “Instead of teaching for the sake of teaching, Sheri seeks to understand what kids, teens and/or parents want to know, and she structures whatever she is doing around the group’s interests and needs,” said Janet Morrison (M.S. ’02, Ed.D. ’05), education director for Central Dallas Ministries and Sheri’s former A&M-Commerce classmate. Sheri’s approach to teaching is one she discovered while pursuing her doctorate at A&M-Commerce.

Sheri Vasinda constantly looks for ways to engage her students in learning. That dedication led to her being named Campus Teacher of the Year and District Teacher of the Year in 2005.



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Classroom innovator

Celia Free teaches students how to count in Spanish. Celia comes in twice a week to help Sheri’s students learn the language.

interested in and how to work that in with their lessons. Sheri researched the method and wondered how it would work in an American classroom. “I kept telling my friends in the (doctoral) cohort — if I had a classroom, I’d want to teach and see if you could teach like that and keep the test scores. I kept saying it, and finally decided I just needed to go do it,” she said. She did, heading back to Allen to test her theory. She discovered the test scores were just as good. “I presented my results to (A&M-Commerce’s head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction) Dr. Martha Foote’s classes and a group asked, ‘Weren’t you sad that they weren’t better?’ And I said, no. I could really focus on test scores and probably make them higher, but I’ve chosen to focus on deeper understandings of our state objectives and they get the same test score results. “Incoming doctoral students think if you do an innovation, you want your scores to be off the charts and that would be great, but the reality is the more time you spend in that format, the better you get,” she said. ENCOURAGING CURIOSITY Listening to her students’ ideas has led Sheri to embark on many interesting projects. One materialized when her class was studying the city of Allen for social studies. One of the girls in the class, Ashley, wanted to know what the inside of a water tank looked like. That question spurred Sheri into action. She had the class sketch their hypotheses of what they thought the inside would look like. In the meantime, she encouraged Ashley to e-mail her questions to the director of city services, Steve Massey, in Allen. Sheri first contacted Steve to tell him about the project and asked him to address his comments back to Ashley, which he did. “He was great and explained it to her,” Sheri said. The class discovered that divers go inside the tanks every two or three years to inspect and videotape them, checking for any signs of damage. “The pump station in Allen did this whole presentation and built a display to show us how it works and what the inside is like,” Sheri said. She keeps a log of past experiments, and students can

choose to revisit previous ones or create new ones. The water tower experiment remains one of the class’ alltime favorites. “Every study changes because people change and questions change. But we find out what they want to do,” Sheri said. PARENTS WELCOMED Not only does Sheri welcome input from her Sheri’s students document the students, she also wants to results of each experiment they involve her parents as much perform in class. as possible. Tuesdays and Thursdays parents come to her room, not to bring snacks, but to teach. Celia Free comes in twice a week to teach the kids Spanish; Julie McLeod teaches computer skills. “Sheri is really open to having others come in,” Julie said. “At parent meetings she asks for ideas and what parents want to do.” This year Julie is showing the class how to use Sketchy, a simple animation program for Pocket PC. The students will

She had taught kindergarten, first grade and dyslexic students for many years before taking time off to have her fourth child. During that time off, she decided to go back and get her master’s and later her doctorate. She reflected on her early childhood experience when writing her dissertation. “We do all this cool stuff in kindergarten and first grade, then just when they learn how to use the paints and easel, we take that all away and just do paper and pencil the whole time,” she said. She began to wonder what would happen if older children were allowed to use those tools. That led her to the Reggio Emilia approach, which is a teaching method that originated in Reggio Emilia, Italy. The Reggio method focuses on creating child-originated curriculum; the teachers observe their students and find out what they’re

be animating the popcorn popping process. This is another project that originated from a student. “We were learning about popcorn. One kid made flip-book animation of a popping kernel in the corner of his science notebook,” Sheri said. She loved his flip book and thought it would be a creative way to demonstrate sequencing, so she showed the rest of the class how to make their own. Then Julie told Sheri about Pocket PC’s Sketchy program. Sheri thought it would be great for the kids to take their paper models and redo the frames on Sketchy for fast computer animation. “It’s about really listening to kids and knowing what I have to do,” Sheri said. “It’s about seeing what interests them and fitting it in with what I know they have to learn.” �

These young scientists measure the capacity of the boats they built out of modeling clay and tin foil. Sheri is always nearby to answer questions.



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Two A&M-Commerce students win teaching awards
by Lorraine Pace

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wo teachers from the Texas A&M UniversityCommerce Alternative Certification Program received awards for their performance for their first year teaching. Steve Dewitt won the “Rookie of the Year” award at Allen ISD during the school’s education celebration ceremony. Dewitt received the award for teaching special education. George Pennini received “New Teacher of the Year” at Sherman ISD during an awards banquet. Pennini is a math teacher at Sherman ISD Boot Camp. “It’s a great honor to have two teachers win awards,” said Donna Tavener, interim director of teacher certification. “We feel we prepare our students well.” The Alternative Certification Program allows students with a bachelor’s degree to get their teacher certification. A&M-Commerce has the highest alternative teaching certification production rate in The Texas A&M University System. A&M-Commerce has also exceeded targets in critical teaching areas such as mathematics, science and special education. “Alternative teaching certification can be completed

Steve DeWitt

George Pennini

in a shorter time frame than traditional degree programs and may also be more affordable,” said Tavener. One of the benefits of an alternative teaching certification through A&MCommerce is that it meets many of the requirements toward a master’s degree, halving the time needed to obtain a postgraduate qualification in education. Other alternative teaching certification programs may not offer this benefit. The alternative certification program offers expert mentors and coaches who work with the candidates in the classroom, affording on-the-job, relevant experience. Alternative teacher certification programs are generally geared toward aspiring teachers who already have a bachelor’s degree, but who need additional coursework and classroom experience to complete their teacher certification. “These programs are a response to teacher shortages in critical subject areas, but are also driven by the changed requirements of The No Child Left Behind Act,” said Tavener. For information about the A&M-Commerce alternative certification program, contact 903-468-8186. �

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Classroom preparation

s a leader in teacher preparation, Texas A&M- we also found our first-year graduates’ evaluations are better Commerce prides itself on working with its partner than first-year graduates from other teacher training entities, school districts to address the ever-changing needs of and the averages of their students’ TAKS scores exceeded the public school student. most of the districts’ class averages for first-year teachers.” “Our key goal is to find out how we can help public school In continuing its efforts to address changing needs in students achieve success,” said Dr. Martha Foote, head of the public schools, A&M-Commerce helps intern and resident Department of Curriculum and Instruction. “We do all we teachers learn to incorporate research-based strategies can to help our preservice teachers learn to design engaging and has particularly focused on best practices in the areas work for our public school students so that they can learn of literacy, math, science, bilingual education and special and become lifelong learners.” education. Part of the university’s success is its field-based program, Foote said A&M-Commerce’s teaching program is so in which education students spend a full year in a classroom successful because they collaborate closely with partner under the guidance of mentor teachers and A&M-Commerce school districts to find out their needs. “We can stay relevant liaisons. Students spend the year with two teachers in two because we’re in the schools,” said Foote. “Our program has grade levels, observing and working closely with them. continued to evolve through ongoing collaboration with the “What’s also unique about our program is that our public schools. What we achieve, we achieve together.” � preservice teachers begin their experience in fall when school starts,” said Foote. “They see how teachers put procedures in place, how they organize and set up for school, and how they help their students function in the classroom through various routines and procedures.” Foote said this intensive classroom preparation also helps with teacher retention. “A problem with some new teachers is not having enough time to truly learn to deal with the peripherals of the job—working with colleagues, parents and classroom management are critical tasks.” It is also helping them become better teachers. Foote said her department has conducted small surveys of firstyear teachers and have found most A&M-Commerce graduates find teaching jobs right away. “Principals are eager to hire our students,” she Dr. Martha Foote (second from right) and her A&M-Commerce colleagues meet regularly said. “In the districts we examined, with surrounding school administrators to discuss their teaching needs.



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Distance learning offers convenient alternative to commuting
formats. In any given semester, more than 3,000 students are enrolled in only electronically offered classes. Distance learning owes its popularity to its convenience. Before, if a student couldn’t make it to the main campus, that student couldn’t enroll in a class. Today, students who live a great distance away from Commerce can take classes via video conferencing without setting foot on campus. For those who don’t want to even leave the house to take their classes, the online option is the ultimate in convenience. A&M-Commerce even offers three degrees in a wholly online format: Bachelor of Arts in applied science, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in management and Master of Science in industrial engineering. While the main feature of distance learning is convenience, the quality of each course offered is vital. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranked A&M-Commerce’s online MBA program one of the top in the nation. “We realize that today’s students have different needs, demand different means to reach their educational and career goals, and require different programs in order to keep up with market demand and employment requirements,” Larkin said. “We look forward to continuing these endeavors and enhancing our ability to deliver quality education into the future.” �

Psychology instructor Rebecca Stephens lectures to her students in Commerce and at the Mesquite Metroplex Center via video link. The students in Mesquite can see Stephens on a TV monitor in their classroom and ask her questions through the microphones on their desks.

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exas A&M University-Commerce is dedicated to providing an affordable, quality education to all its students, whether they attend class on the main campus in Commerce or through a video link hundreds of miles away.

“Two-way interactive video courses and Web-based instruction courses are just some of the tools that Texas A&M University-Commerce uses to bring education to the students. We are excited to be able to deliver a quality education at an affordable price, no matter where the student is,” said

Charlotte Larkin, director of instructional technology and distance education. Each semester, A&M-Commerce offers more than 125 courses via electronically based instruction. Classes are offered primarily through two technology-mediated delivery formats: two-way interactive video and Web-based instruction. Last year 9,904 students took classes using one of these

During the 2005-06 academic year, 9,904 A&M-Commerce students were enrolled in technology-mediated instruction.

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Metroplex Center caters to graduate students
by Lorraine Pace

Navarro Partnership continues to grow
by Mary Lou Hazal

The Mesquite Metroplex Center offers graduate and doctoral degrees, primarily in education. The center is a convenient alternative for students who cannot attend classes on the Commerce campus.

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The center is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Two 16-week semesters and three sub-terms are offered. The summer terms are four weeks long. Master’s offerings include elementary education, counseling, educational administration, special education, psychology, secondary education, higher education, and training and development. The Metroplex Center is in a partnership with Mesquite ISD. The center also hosts the Middle and High School Students Academic enrichment seminar, where A&MCommerce faculty and other invited professionals teach workshops to give advanced-level students a taste of what it is like to attend a university. Parents are also invited to attend this event. �

At the end of 2006, more than 600 students will have earned their degrees from the Navarro Partnership in Corsicana.

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allas area residents can pursue their graduate degrees in Mesquite at Texas A&M UniversityCommerce’s Metroplex Center. The center offers a variety of graduate and doctoral degrees, primarily in education. “We offer quality programs, which are among the most affordable in the area,” said Suzanne Keifer, Metroplex Center director. “We also offer classes in science, math, English and social work, plus other disciplines. “Our faculty is very hands-on. Faculty and staff really get to know our students and are able to help them to achieve. “They have access to a research library, computer lab, a bookstore and the things that they need to succeed,” said Keifer. “Our students love the convenience of our location, and our hours work well for them,” she said.

Two 16-week semesters and three sub-terms are offered at the Metroplex Center.

aking higher education accessible to residents in Central Texas is what the Navarro Partnership is all about. This fall, the venture between A&M-Commerce and Navarro College in Corsicana expanded to Midlothian in rapidly growing Ellis County where Navarro, a community college, has established a new campus. A bachelor’s degree in early childhood through fourth grade teacher certification is being offered to Midlothian area students with A&M-Commerce planning to offer other degrees in the future. Twenty students had been anticipated but 53 are enrolled, said Dr. Mary Hendrix, A&M-Commerce associate vice president. “The Navarro Partnership in Corsicana and Navarro Partnership in Midlothian are expected to grow in the future,” said A&M-Commerce President Keith McFarland. “About 500 teachers that we have educated are at work in that region and are touching students’ lives, a fact of which we are very proud,” McFarland said. Established in 1999, the partnership has received statewide recognition and is the winner of a 2005 Star Award from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The award is for helping to close the gaps in educational opportunity due to the hardship created for students who

prior to the partnership had to travel more than two hours one-way to attend a university. At the end of this year, the partnership will have awarded degrees to more than 600 students. Degrees offered by the Navarro Partnership in Corsicana are Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences, Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, master’s in elementary education, master’s in higher education, master’s in secondary education, master’s in special education, and master’s in training and development. It is the hope of Navarro College President Richard Sanchez that someday the partnership will offer a doctoral degree. “I wait the day when the first doctoral candidate walks across the stage at Navarro College. That’s my anticipation and my hope.” �
The Navarro Partnership was established in 1999.



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Beyond the call of duty
by Amy Halbert; photos by Craig Buck Jennifer Garrison (B.S.W. ’02) has been with Sam Houston Middle School for two years.

Other middle school parents cannot be as involved as they would like because they work two jobs, or nights, to support their families and have limited time to spend with their children. ABOVE AND BEYOND When parents aren’t able, or willing, to encourage their children to do well in school, the teachers at Sam Houston step in. “Our teachers go above and beyond their duties,” said Principal Don Hernandez. “They’re doing all they can to help the students be successful academically, while teaching basic social skills.” “It’s a concerted effort here to go beyond the core curriculum and expose them to other possibilities in life,” Baldwin said. “They don’t understand education is their way out of the low socio-economic bracket. We have to convince students of the wisdom of finishing high school.” Hernandez makes sure his teachers, especially new ones, know what they’re in for when the come to work at Sam Houston Middle School. “I tell my teachers when they walk in the door, ‘We need 110 percent from you because these kids need that from you each and every day,’” he said. His teachers have risen to that challenge, going to great lengths to help their students succeed. They offer encouragement, check up on students in trouble and see if

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Sam Houston Middle School is home to many Texas A&M University-Commerce alumni. In front is Principal Don Hernandez. Second row, from left: Pat Baldwin (M.S. ‘01) and Sheila Raines (M.S. ‘91). Third row: Adda Accomando (M.Ed. ’88), Janeen Pantoja (M.Ed. ‘06), Bud Wis (M.M. ’85) and Sherry Smith (B.S.I.S. ‘94). Back row: Jennifer Garrison (B.S.W. ‘02), Theo Tanner (B.S. ’76, M.S. ‘76), Lisa Boyce (M.S. ‘89), David Lewis (B.S.I.S. ’98) and Andrew Casso (B.S. ‘05). Not pictured: Raelyn Scroggin (M.Ed. ‘04) and Sue Hildebrand (B.S. ’73).

eaching children is a challenge. Teaching children who are not native English speakers and are not fully assimilated into American culture is an even bigger challenge. But it’s one several A&M-Commerce alumni and their coworkers at Sam Houston Middle School in Garland are facing head on. Eighty percent of the 746 students at the middle school are Hispanic, and many are first-generation Americans who speak little or no English. Sam Houston Middle School has 492 at-risk students and 239 students in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. “The needs of this school are very different from the needs of many other schools,” said middle school counselor Patricia Baldwin (M.S. ’01). In addition to the normal pressures facing middle schoolers, many Hispanic students have the additional pressure of learning a new language as well as their other subjects. “Many of them come from Mexico where school is not mandatory. We need to remind them and their parents that they need to come to school every day,” Baldwin said. “One of our biggest challenges is most of our parents are eighth-grade educated,” she said. “They (the students) don’t have anyone to advocate education to them. They don’t see the benefit of it.”

Lisa Boyce (M.S. ’89) coaches girls’ volleyball and track, and also teaches physical education.



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Beyond the call of duty
from the teachers’ alma maters and eighth graders have been invited to a college fair hosted by Garland ISD — to remind them college can be an option for all of them. Hernandez tells students, even the ones who have been disciplined multiple times, “I won’t give up on you. You’ll realize one Andrew Casso (B.S. ’05) coaches day what we’re trying to seventh and eighth grade football do here,” he said. and physical education. “We always welcome them back. I tell the parents — you do your part and we’ll do ours.” �

This is Sherry Smith’s (B.S.I.S. ’94) first year at the middle school, and she teaches sixth grade math.

be the first to go to high school. “My goal is to let them know there is something else out there,” Principal Hernandez said. “Most of them haven’t seen success, but I want them to know they can have choices.” That’s why the cafeteria is lined with college pennants

Athletic coordinator David Lewis (B.S.I.S. ’98) helps students catch up on homework during football practice. Lewis likes to use the term “student athlete,” and makes sure his athletes put academics before sports.

they need tutoring or extra help in any area. Even the school’s coaches put academics first. That’s why athletic coordinator David Lewis (B.S.I.S. ’98) uses the term “student-athlete” rather than “athlete” to describe his players. “The day after a game, he’ll go through tutorials with the kids to catch them up,” Hernandez said. Lewis has even cancelled practice to have tutorials if he thinks any of his players are struggling academically. HELPING HANDS Though Sam Houston Middle School has its own unique problems, it shares a common one facing other schools: how to help students do better in math and science. Once again, teachers are taking steps to help their students not only

perform better in math and science, but to acquire a firm understanding of basic mathematical concepts. “The problem with science and math is that the stumbling block is always how to get them to retain it,” said Sheila Raines (M.S. ’91), math facilitator. Raines works with middle school teachers to implement new learning techniques that will help students better understand math. Tutorials are also offered to students who need extra help with their lessons. They’ve been very helpful to students such as seventh grader Jacqueline Hernandez, whom Raines tutors in math. “Math got a little harder this year,” Hernandez said. “I understand more when I sit down and the teacher explains it more. Like when Ms. Raines sits down with me to explain it,” she said. PLANNING FOR THEIR FUTURE Despite all the tutoring and extra effort to help their students with their schoolwork, teachers still have to work hard to convince their students that they can succeed in school, even beyond middle school. It’s often a difficult sell because many of their students won’t just be the first in their families to go to college, they’ll

Bud Wis (M.M. ’85) teaches band.

Janeen Pantoja (M.Ed. ’06) teaches English as a Second Language (ESL). Many Hispanic students at the middle school are firstgeneration Americans and cannot speak English.



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All in the Family I

A lifetime of blue and gold
Their daughter Leslie (B.S. ’93) followed in Ellen and Mary Jo’s footsteps by meeting her husband, Kevin Williams (B.S. ’92), at A&M-Commerce. Leslie’s brother Jeff also attended but graduated from another university. However, his wife Rachael (B.S. ’97) is an alumna, and the couple met through friends from A&M-Commerce. Elaine and her husband of 30 years, Dale Stotts (B.B.A. ’75), were high school sweethearts who both graduated from A&M-Commerce. Their daughters Kristi and Jenna also attended, but graduated from other schools. “We all had good experiences at A&M-Commerce. Elaine and I never considered going anywhere else,” Ellen said. “It all started with Mom and Dad and continued through the generations.” �
Former Texas A&M UniversityCommerce president Frank Henderson “Bub” (B.S. ’38, M.S. ’42, Distinguished Alumnus ‘82) McDowell said that he was most proud of the role he played in helping a small teachers college become a great regional university. The man who was such a enthusiastic champion for his alma mater died Thursday, Sept. 28, at his home in Commerce. “With the death of President McDowell, an era has passed, said ” A&M-Commerce president Keith McFarland. “His strengths as president were in the fiscal and political realms, and he worked tirelessly for this university until his retirement, he said. ” In retirement, McDowell and his late wife, Martha Jo (B.S. ’37 M.S. ’69, , Distinguished Alumna ’78), remained devoted to this institution to which they had been connected for nearly a half-century, McFarland said. “Equally felt was Mr. McDowell’s decades of service to the Commerce community. This university and this community are greatful, he continued. ” After earning his bachelor’s degree in 1938 from East Texas State College, McDowell immediately signed on as the college’s assistant business manager. In a career spanning nearly 45 years, McDowell successively served as business manager, comptroller and vice president for administration prior to becoming president of the university. McDowell became known throughout Texas for his leadership in the higher education community and his detailed knowledge of higher education finance. He twice chaired the Council of Presidents of the state’s public colleges and u n i ve r s i t i e s .
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n 1940, East Texas State University student Mary Jo Chesnut “accidentally” dropped her books in front of the good-looking boy she’d had her eye on. The maneuver worked; Gene Leslie (B.S. ’46) gallantly retrieved her books and wasted no time asking her for a date. Four years later, after Gene returned from combat in World War II, he and Mary Jo were married. In the 60 years that followed, their alma mater would play a large role in the lives of their children and grandchildren. The Leslie’s two children, Ellen (B.S. ’66, M.Ed. ’81) and Elaine (B.S. ’75), graduated from A&M-Commerce and Ellen, like her mother, met her future husband there. Ellen met Ted Oats (B.B.A. ’67) a week after starting classes; they’ve been married 41 years.

Three generations of the Leslie family have graduated from A&M-Commerce, starting with Mary Jo and Gene Leslie (front row). In back (from left) are Dale and Elaine Stotts, Leslie and Kevin Williams, Rachael Oats, and Ellen and Ted Oats.



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Class Notes
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Anne Hyman (B.S. ‘51, M.Ed. ‘53) celebrated her 80th birthday with students at C.J. and Anne Hyman Elementary School. C.J. and Anne were honored with the naming of the school by the Duncanville Board of Education. ✱ Joe Fred Cox (B.S. ‘52, M.A. ‘67) and his wife, Jane, established and endowed a scholarship, which will go to junior history majors with at least a 3.0 grade point average. ✱ Annie L. Casey (B.S. ‘56, M.Ed. ‘58) received her pilot’s license in 1948 at the age of 19. She went on to join the Air Force where she met her husband, Russell Casey. She had the distinction of being the youngest female pilot in the area. She and Russell moved to Greenville, Texas, in 1996 where she enjoys her retirement. ✱ Ruth M. Miller (B.S. ‘58) retired from Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD in 2002. ✱ James L. Coble (M.Ed. ‘57) was honored by the Mansfield school district with the naming of the new middle school after him. Coble was a junior high principal for 17 years. He was a member of the undefeated 1952 football team and was inducted into the Texas A&M UniversityCommerce Hall of Fame in 2002. was awarded Employee and Teacher of the Year by Galveston ISD. ✱ Veneta J. Edwards (M.S. ‘73, Ed.D. ‘83) retired in May after 30 years at Hill College. During her tenure at Hill, she taught English, Spanish and speech. In 2004, she became dean of arts and sciences. She plans to tutor at an elementary school in Cleburne where she and her husband, Jim, reside. ✱ Donald P. Themer (B.S. ‘73) was honored by the city of Forney by proclaiming June 6, 2006, as “Don Themer Day.” Donald retired after 33 years with the Forney Independent School District. ✱ Robert “Bob” G. Acker (B.S. ‘74) has served with the Plano Fire Department for more than 30 years and has been acting as interim chief since January. He is certified as a chief fire officer, a CFO designation received from the Commission on Chief Fire Officer Accreditation International Inc. ✱ Sharon A. Richardson (M.M. ‘77) was awarded Superintendent of the Year by the city of Union Hill. One of the buildings even bears her name – Sharon A. Richardson Elementary School. ✱ John M. Riddles (B.S. ‘77) was awarded the 2006 Wal-Mart Regional Teacher of the Year. He is beginning his fourth year at Aikin Elementary School in Paris, Texas, after spending 26 years coaching. Principals and Supervisors Association. She was named Principal of the Year for Grand Saline Middle School in 1995. ✱ Carl S. Richie (B.S. ‘81) was one of just 25 delegates selected to represent the United States at the 2006 TriCountry Conference Sept. 10-13 in Edinburgh, Scotland, to discuss housing and community development needs. ✱ Vicki Holloway (B.S. ‘89) has moved to College Station, Texas, where she has taken the position of marketing manager for KAMU TV/FM. Who’s Who in Education for her work at Amelia Earhart Learning Center for the past seven years. Following the discontinuation of the piano program in many DISD schools, Tammy has been assigned to L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary School where she will teach music this year.

In Memory
Arnold Armstrong, Sr. (B.A. ‘31) 4-12-06 ✱ Rosemary Glass Alexander (B.A. ‘36) 415-06 ✱ Oliver Diggs (B.S. ‘37) 5-7-06 ✱ Dr. James Filbeck (B.S. ‘37, M.S. ‘38) 3-29-06 ✱ Malvin Bond (B.S. ‘39) 6-26-06 ✱ Ernestine Gresham (B.S. ‘39) 8-20-06 Percy Darwin (B.S. ‘40, M.Ed 52) 3-10-06 ✱ Rachel Manley (B.S. ‘40) 4-30-06 ✱ H.C. “Tommy” Tomlinson (B.S. ‘40, M.Ed. ‘54) 8-14-06 ✱ John Wilingham (B.A. ‘40) 2-1-06 ✱ Robert Crain (B.S. ‘42) 5-20-06 ✱ Billy Byrd Oliver (B.A. ‘45) 5-17-06 ✱ Loyd R.Dowd (M.S. ‘47) 4-506 ✱ Avery R. Downing (M.S. ‘47) 8-13-06 ✱ Precis “Binky” Harris (B.A. ‘47, M.Ed. ‘62) 46-06 ✱ H.B. Onley (B.S. ‘48, M.S. ‘49) 3-26-06 ✱ L.P. Griffis (B.S. ‘49) 8-4-06 ✱ Ray Akard Kennemer (B.S. ‘49, M.A. ‘50) 3-17-06

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Daniel B. Knox (B.S. ‘00) was awarded a certificate of merit for his 2005 story on a Northwest High School student who courageously won her battle against breast cancer. Presenting the award was Dr. Melissa Garretson, Cook’s Children Hospital, and Steve Summers, Wise Regional Health System administrator. ✱ Kenneth L. Caldwell (B.S. ‘01) for the past year has had the opportunity to teach band, orchestra jazz band and genera music at the Seoul Foreign School in Seoul, Korea. ✱ Jennifer A. Huddleston (B.S.I.S. ‘01) and her husband Adam, announce the birth of a son, Noah Stephen Huddleston, on April 13, 2006. Noah weighed 7 lbs., 10 oz., and was 20 ½ inches long. ✱ Darren A. Braun (B.S. ‘02) graduated from A&M-Commerce three years ago, and has shot for magazines such as Premier Wired and Popular Science. ✱ Carrie Robison-Rosenbalm (B.S. ‘03) married Matthew Rosenbalm Jr. (B.S. ‘06) April 8, 2006, in Dallas. Carrie is a staffing supervisor for Kelly Services in Mesquite. Matt is a builder for D.R. Horton in McKinney. The couple resides in McKinney. �

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Kendal R. Nicholson (B.S. ‘91) has been awarded Plano East’s Experienced Teacher of the Year. Nicholson, now in his fourth year at Plano East, teaches home maintenance skills, plumbing, welding, electrical wiring, sheet rock installation and related subjects. ✱ Kalayah R. Hall (B.S.C.J. ‘96) published her first book of poetry, released July 28. It is titled, “A Turning Point: Poetry from the Heart.” She resides in Mesquite, Texas, with her husband and daughter. ✱ Jandy J. Thompson (B.S. ‘97) was selected as one of the 40 rising under 40 in business in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Jandy established the property management division of The John Bowles Company in 2001 and since then has managed nearly three million square feet of office, retail and industrial space in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. ✱ Tammy W. Torrens (B.S. ‘97) married Kevin Torrens on June 3, 2006, in Blossom, Texas. Earlier this year, Tammy was named to the Manchester

5-06 ✱ Thomas T. West (B.S. ‘50, M.Ed. ‘51) 6-19-06 ✱ Billy Harold Bass Sr. (B.S. ‘51) 3-1406 ✱ Dr. L.B. McCarley (B.S. ‘51) 7-19-06 ✱ Guadalupe “G.A.” Cruz (B.A. ‘52) 5-23-06 ✱ Charles Jacobs (B.S. ‘52) 99-2-06 ✱ Herschel D. Kesler (B.S. ‘53, M.Ed. ’60) 6-4-06 ✱ Charles Merrick Jr. (B.S. ‘53) 6-8-06 ✱ Gerald Lee Moore (B.S. ‘53) 4-4-06 ✱ Harry H. Wandry (B.S. ‘53) 5-26-06 ✱ Billie Lands (B.S. ‘55) 6-2506 ✱ Nolagene McCarley (B.S. ‘55) 4-24-06 ✱ Inez Wesberry (M.Ed. ‘55) 6-14-06 ✱ Fay Edwards (M.S. ‘56) 721-06 ✱ Charles S. Jaggers (B.S. ‘56, M.Ed. ‘61) 12-31-05 ✱ Bobby G. Bardwell (B.S. ‘57, M.E. ‘58) 5-25-06 ✱ Raymond Chumley (B.S. ‘57) 4-28-06 ✱ Chester G. Clark (B.S. ‘57) 319-06 ✱ Jack Adams (B.S. ‘58, M.Ed. ‘59) 5-10-06 ✱ Ray Leon Robinson (B.S. ‘50, M. ‘58) 823-06 James Kirkpatrick (B.B.A. ‘60) 5-11-06 ✱ Alton R. Dean (B.S. ‘60) 6-8-06 ✱ Helen Ruth

Scally Banks (B.S. ‘61) 8-906 ✱ Roy C. Chadwick (B.S. ‘61, M.Ed. ‘98) 5-31-06 ✱ Gus McHam III (B.A. ‘61) 7-28-06 ✱ James Stingley (B.B.A ‘53, M.Ed. ‘61) 7-20-06 ✱ Peggy Jackson Frazee (B.S. ‘62) 523-06 ✱ Robbie L. House (BS ‘65, M.S.L.S. ‘68) 6-11-06 ✱ Chester A. Neel (M.S. ‘65) 6-26-06 ✱ Helen Marie Jack (B.A. ‘66) 7-12-06 ✱ Carl Petrey (B.S. ‘66, M.S. ‘77) 7-5-06 ✱ Dr. Linzy Bowie (M.Ed. ‘67) 4-12-06 ✱ John W. Gover (B.S. ‘67) 5-17-06 ✱ Lt. Col. Donald Offerman USAF (retired) (M.S. ‘67) 8-11-06 ✱ Janis M. Clark (B.S. ‘68, M.Ed. ‘71) 6-15-06 ✱ James H. Dobson (M.Ed. ‘68) 7-14-06 ✱ Edith Clark Chilcote (M.S. ‘69) 7-26-06 Charles L. Giles (B.S. ‘70, M.S. ‘73) 6-17-06 ✱ James Graham (B.S. ‘70) 6-20-06 ✱ James H. Jack (M.S. ‘70) 5-1406 ✱ Randolph Cole Frank (B.S. ‘71) 9-2-06 ✱ Lynne E. Gregory (B.S. ‘71, M.Ed. ‘77) 523-06 ✱ Fred Van Devender (B.S. ‘72, M.S. ‘74) 7-8-06 ✱

Charlotte Muecke (B.S. ‘72) 3-18-06 ✱ Billy D. Hardage (Ed.D. ‘73) 3-25-06 ✱ Thomas H. Jackson (B.B.A. ‘73, M.B.A. ‘74) 3-31-06 ✱ Susan M. Valadez (B.S. ’73) 5-10-06 ✱ Edwin D. Phelps (B.S. ‘75) 612-06 ✱ Millie Beth Crocker (M.Ed. ‘76) 6-3-06 ✱ Claudia Wheeler (B.A. ‘71, M.S. ’76) 5-10-06 ✱ David E. Mays (M.S. ‘77) 8-8-06 ✱ Eddie E. Rodgers (B.S ‘77) 4-14-06 ✱ Linda Roddy Housewright (B.S. ‘69, M.S. ‘78) 4-20-06 ✱ Joe Nelson Vincent (B.S. ‘78) 3-13-06 Ernesto G Duran (B.B.A. ‘80, M.B.A. ‘96) 8-11-06 ✱ Joe J. Northcutt (B.S. ‘80) 6-4-06 ✱ Carolyn M Miller (M.Ed. ‘80) 5-11-06 ✱ Susan Faulkner (M.Ed. ‘81, Ed.D. ‘92) 8-24-06 ✱ Camille C. Duchesne (Ed. D. ‘85) 8-16-06 ✱ Marilyn J. Black (B.S. ‘86, M.S. ‘92) 8-1606 ✱ Sandra Davis (B.S. ‘86) 5-26-06 ✱ Gloria Patterson (B.S. ‘87, M.B.A. ‘95) 7-24-06 ✱ Robert F. L’Roy (B.S. ‘88, M.S. ‘63) 6-2-06 �

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Carl Petrey (M.S. ‘50) 7-

A Lasting Legacy
Ford Hall

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Forrest E. Bailey (B.S. ‘66, M.Ed. ‘70) was awarded Outstanding Citizen of the Year from the county of Van Zandt. He is retired after teaching for 33 years at the Grand Saline high school.

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Larry Goddard ( B.S. ‘80, M.S. ‘91) has been appointed as the new executive director of the Tyler Independent School District Foundation. ✱ Connie R. Lott (B.S. ‘80, M.Ed. ‘93) has been awarded Principal of the Year by the Texas Elementary

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Don R. Roy (B.S. ‘72)

he legacy of Ford W. Hall (B.A. ’40, Distinguished Alumnus ’78) lives on at the Texas A&M-Commerce campus, with the dedication of a statue of a lion in his memory. The new statue, dedicated by his family, stands seven feet tall and rests near the library and the Industrial Engineering and Technology Building. The idea for the lion statue originated from one of Ford’s many memories of growing up on campus. As young boys, he and best friend Raymond Cameron (B.S. ’40) used to climb and play around the crouching lion statue currently located near the Social Sciences Building. Hall’s daughter, Connie Impleman, said education was

very important to her father, and she hopes the statue will play an important role for A&M-Commerce students. “People will come to the lion to rest, reflect and leave renewed,” she said.
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The lion statue dedicated to Hall’s memory is located near the library.

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Mary Emma Neaves

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uring her 36-year career at Highland Park High School, Mary Emma Neaves (B.A. ’38, M.A. ’40) taught math to hundreds of students—some of whom later became famous, including a Hollywood actress and Nobel laureate. Her students included Jayne Palmer, who became actress Jayne Mansfield, and James Watson Cronin, who shared the 1980 Nobel Prize for physics with Val Logsdoon Fitch. She was selected to be the mystery guest on the television quiz show I’ve Got a Secret when two of her students—Charles Paddock Ostott and Alton Kenneth “Butch” Thompson— finished at the top of their classes at West Point and Annapolis in 1960. � By permission Joe Simnacher Dallas Morning News
Two of Emma Neaves’ students took top posts at Annapolis and West Point, and were featured in the June 20, 1960, issue of Time magazine.

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egardless of our station in life, we have all been affected by educators who have encouraged, prodded and motivated us to achieve. I was introduced to this university by one of my high school coaches, an educator. After arriving here, I would attend summer classes and connected with many of my past teachers who were pursuing advanced degrees. Each of them encouraged me to obtain at least a master’s degree before leaving the university and entering the workforce. They continued to show interest in my future and a passion for teaching. This university has an outstanding reputation for producing teachers and educational administrators. The number of graduates who go on to lead illustrious careers in education is staggering and attests to the quality of education offered here in Commerce. I have been fortunate to work in capacities that brought me in contact with alumni from this university, and I have countless friends and acquaintances who are teachers, principals, counselors, social workers, psychologists, human resource leaders and correctional administrators. Each of them left this university with

classroom and practical knowledge that enabled them to compete in the workforce at a high level. Like Dr. McFarland, university president and CEO, I am proud of what the university is doing to prepare teachers and other professionals in the College of Education and Human Services. Our graduates will continue to make an impact in the world. I extend gratitude to each of you for your accomplishments and passion for your profession. �

Derryle G. Peace (B.S.‘74, M.S.‘75) Director, Alumni Relations

Has your IRA benefited from years of growth?
Do you have more IRA income than you need?
Consider this simple, easy way to make a gift to Texas A&M University-Commerce.
If you are over age 70 1/2, you may annually gift any amount up to $100,000 of your IRA to charity. It’s very easy to make the gift by directing your custodian to transfer a portion of your required minimum distribution directly to charity. The best part is that your IRA gift is made tax free. To find out more about planned giving, go to www.tamucgiftplan.org. Or contact Mike Hutchison, director of major gifts, at 903-468-8182 or Mike_Hutchison@tamu-commerce.edu
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Attending the inaugural gathering of the Society of 1889 (from left to right) are Robert Peek, Janet Peek, Sylvia Kelley, Dr. Keith McFarland, Brent Dyer, Nancy McFarland, Ann Julian, Hoyle Julian, Donna Hutcheson, Greg Cole, Lanelle Southerland, Larry Goddard, Mary Beth Tuck, Tom Kennedy, Pat Turner, Jack Finney, Joe Hinton, Elizabeth Cameron and Raymond Cameron.

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exas A&M UniversityCommerce’s Society of 1889 was formed in spring 2005 to promote the idea that higher education changes lives of generations of students and their families. The Society of 1889 allows the university to recognize alumni and friends who have committed to a bequest or planned giving arrangement to the university.

Raymond and Elizabeth Cameron Marcus K. Cargile Gregory V. Cole and Donna Hutcheson Brent Dyer Lou and Jack Finney Rene K. Griffin Larry Pittman Goddard Joe B. Hinton Hoyle and Ann Oglesby Julian Dr. Tom Kennedy Gary W. McCollum Dr. Kenneth and Joyce McCord Ed Winnie Brown McWhirter

Lucy B. More William D. Norton Robert and Janet E. Peek Claire and Jim Reynolds Jason and Stephanie Richardson Lanelle E. Southerland Dr. Patricia R. Turner Dr. Mary Beth Tuck Rob Whitener



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Upcoming Events
• Saturday, December 16 Graduation Ceremonies • Monday, December 18 Commerce Chapter Christmas Party • Tuesday, April 5 Ambassador Forum

University Playhouse Presents

Texas A&M-Commerce’s public radio station, KETR 88.9 FM, has something for everyone, from music, news and NPR programming to local sports broadcasts. You can also listen to KETR 24 hours a day on the Web. Go to www.ketr.org for programming guide.

Special Children’s Show “King of the Ice Cream Mountain” December 4-10 Monday - Friday 9 a.m., 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. Saturday 7 p.m. Sunday Matinee 3 p.m. Main Stage “Our Town” April 26-28 at 8 p.m. April 29 at 3 p.m. Main Stage

“A Flea in Her Ear” February 22-25 Evenings 8 p.m. Sunday matinee 3 p.m. Main Stage

Box office phone number: 903-886-5900

Texas A&M University-Commerce P.O. Box 3011 Commerce, TX 75429-3011


				
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