Van Stayton and son Alan Stayton ’07 showed their purple pride at Jaco Beach in Costa Rica, where they were visiting in June to watch Chris Stayton (son of Van, brother of Alan) graduate from a Spanish language program. Van Stayton is an owner of the Summit, a student apartment complex in Cullowhee. Alan Stayton is a staff accountant at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte. Father and son both played Catamount football; the elder was a kicker, the younger a punter. The younger Stayton travels for work and brings along the WCU flag because “I definitely enjoy representing Western Carolina,” he said.


“The Ballad of Nancy Hanks,” an original two-act historical drama by Ludy Wilkie, was produced in April at Concord Baptist Church in Bostic.


Myra Grant, vice president for community accountability and philanthropy with the Pardee Hospital Foundation, won the 2012 Athena Award. The award is given each year as part of Henderson County’s observance of National Small Business Week to a leader who has achieved professional excellence, served the community in a meaningful way and assisted women to achieve their full leadership potential. Grant also is a WCU Alumni Association board member.


Melody Jenkins has retired after 37 years as director of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library Service in Georgia. Jenkins continues to work part time as a librarian.


Janis Bryant MME ’78 and Bill Bryant ’72 MME ’74 have retired as choral director and band director, respectively, of Reynolds High School. They have three adult sons.


“Saving the Hansen House,” a documentary film by Will McIntyre and his wife, Deni, has been awarded a silver Telly in the documentary category and a bronze Telly for use of music. The Telly Awards honor the best local, regional, and cable television commercials and programs, top video and film productions, and work created for the Web.


Since 2008, Howard Ainsley has served as CEO of the East Hawaii Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corp., the state’s public hospital system. Ainsley oversees three public hospitals, two long-term care centers and a number of outpatient clinics in an area with a diverse population and facing health challenges including high rates of diabetes and suicide. Among Ainsley’s accomplishments, he helped usher a bill into the Hawaiian Legislature to establish a medical residency program at Hilo Medical Center and helped upgrade the Hilo Medical Center emergency room – the second busiest in the state – to a Level III trauma center. Ainsley, who played basketball at WCU, enjoys biking, tennis and spending time with his family.

Johnny Edwin Webber Jr., owner of Webber Quality Home Inc., married Lisa Jill Morrow in May. The couple resides
in Cherryville.


Leslie Nolan ’79 is director of the Wilton Historical Society in Wilton, Conn. Nolan previously was executive director at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking, also in Connecticut, and curator of the Museum of the City of New York.

Douglas Story is vice president of innovation for Swisher Hygiene, an international company that provides a wide range of cleaning service operations.


Danny Poole Jr., director of sports medicine at Clemson University, is on the scientific advisory board for WellBalance, a fitness camp for children and adults.


Theresa Frey is a sales and marketing representative at The Pines at Davidson, a retirement community that Davidson College and Davidson College Presbyterian Church helped found. Prior to taking that position, Frey worked in banking. Frey, of McConnell, is the widow of Michael J. Frey.


Margaret Stradley Marquis is a member of the chaplain program with the Ocoee Police Department in Florida, the department’s first ordained female pastor. Marquis retired from teaching after 34 years, much of it as an English teacher in the Owen district of Buncombe County. She has been pastor at Ocoee Christian Church since 2008.


Ray Williams has joined the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin as director of education and academic affairs. Williams previously was with Harvard Art Museums, where he oversaw the educational initiatives of that university’s Fogg, Busch-Reisinger and Arthur M. Sackler museums and where he established a new education department that expanded programming for university and community audiences.


Laura Hunt Hume was appointed director of the pre-law program at the University of Dayton in 2009. She also continues to teach half time in that university’s history department.

Jackie Miller, principal of Southwest Elementary School in Lexington, was named Principal of the Year for Lexington City Schools. Miller previously was selected as principal of the year in 2002 and 2007.


Lynn Stephenson Ebner and her husband, Jamie Ebner, have opened the River Jordan Christian Store in Sylva.

Peter Freer MAEd ’93 developed BodyWave, a biofeedback device worn on an arm or leg that trains individuals to sharpen brain function. The technology has received attention in The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post Canada, Time and Popular Science. Freer, a longtime public schoolteacher, has created a game called PlayAttention that uses the BodyWave technology to help children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Lisa Weeks Nixon MAEd ’88 and Mike Nixon ’85 celebrated 25 years of marriage in August. They met the first day of classes in 1983. He has been a police officer in High Point for 27 years and she has been a speech-language pathologist in the public school system for 25 years.


Keith Martin is now superintendent of Mayo River State Park in Rockingham County. Martin had worked as a ranger at Pilot Mountain State Park since 1993 and two years prior to that as a law enforcement ranger with the National Park Service on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Jeff Parker is director of the Transylvania County Soil and Water Conservation District. Parker, a Transylvania County native, has been with the SWCD for
11 years. Prior to that, he worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the Highlands Ranger District.


Pam Whitlock and her husband, Frank Whitlock ’91, are the owners of MoneyTrail.net, a free, online allowance and money management system for kids, teens and families. The Whitlocks, parents to four children, started the site in 2010.


Sean Bridgers starred as prosperous lawyer Chris Cleek in the horror movie “The Woman,” about a family that keeps a feral woman prisoner in the cellar. The film showed at the Sundance Film Festival and received a favorable review in The New York Times, which called the cast “remarkable.”

Cynthia Sellinger MAEd is now principal of Asheville Middle School. Sellinger had been principal of Vance Elementary School, also part of Asheville City Schools, since 2004 and has been in education for three decades.


Jim Erdman MAEd is principal of Weaverville Primary School in Buncombe County. Erdman previously was principal at Glen Arden Elementary and assistant principal at W.D. Williams Elementary School.

William Justice was appointed to the Alaska Water and Wastewater Works Advisory Board by Gov. Sean Parnell. Justice, of Fairbanks, is director of environmental health at the Tanana Chiefs Conference.


Atticus Simpson is vice president for student development at Western Piedmont Community College and executive director of the Western Piedmont Foundation Inc. Simpson previously was director of institutional advancement at Northeastern Technical College in Cheraw and an account executive at Quixote Group in Greensboro.


Tom Bodine was appointed deputy agriculture commissioner for North Dakota by State Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. Bodine, of Velva, N.D., farms and works for the North Dakota Farm Bureau. He and his wife, Kerry, have three children.

Susan Campion is vice president and financial adviser in the greater Greenville area for First Citizens Securities. Prior to joining First Citizens Securities, Campion served as a financial adviser for Wells Fargo Advisors and Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc.

Charlotte Hipps MAEd ’02 is principal at Johnston Elementary School in Buncombe County. Hipps previously was assistant principal at Estes Elementary.


The 2011-12 yearbook at McDowell High School was dedicated to Kendall Waugh MAEd ’98, a guidance counselor there. The recognition is especially meaningful because Waugh not only is a McDowell High graduate, but her mother, Leatha Kelley Tripp, was the yearbook adviser there from 1974 to 2000.


Vikki Conley Ikard received her master’s degree in public administration from Appalachian State University in May. Ikard is a special nutrition program consultant with the state of North Carolina in Raleigh.

Martin Unger is an assistant men’s basketball coach at Belmont Abbey College. He previously spent five years as an assistant coach at University of Missouri-Kansas City. Unger and his wife, Heather, have four children.

James Blair Buchanan Westbrook married Marguerite Susan Harrison in May in Columbia, S.C., where the couple resides and where Westbrook works in pharmaceutical sales. Groomsmen included Luke Triplett ’97 and Jayson Coleman ’97.


Constance Haney Blankenship, business manager for the kidney and pancreas transplant program at Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center, has been named a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, the nation’s leading professional society for health care leaders. Blankenship joined Georgia Health Sciences in 2002 as a senior radiographer and technologist in the nuclear medicine department before being promoted to her current position in 2008.

Lazarus Chennault Jr. is head basketball coach at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Ga. Chennault was a member of the 1996 Catamount men’s basketball team, which won the Southern Conference championship and earned a spot in the NCAA playoffs.

Jennifer Moore and Jackie Campbell ’10 are recreational therapists at Carolinas Rehabilitation in Charlotte. Moore and Campbell work in the adaptive sports and adventures program, which provides instruction and opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities to participate in sports, recreational activities and outdoor adventures. The program “allows our participants to find abilities within their respective disabilities as they transition from the hospital to daily life at home,” Campbell said.


Steve Heatherly MBA is the CEO of two WestCare hospitals, MedWest-Harris and MedWest-Swain.

Steven R. Lawrence is assistant vice president with BB&T in Asheville.

Michael Poston MPA ’01 is director of services and development for Yadkin County. Prior to his new position, Poston was a planner in Catawba County and for the Village of Whispering Pines. He and his wife, Lori, have two children.


Tricia Jacovino has written and self-published her first novel, a work of fantasy titled “Bound,” first in a multivolume series. Jacovino, who authored under the name I.R. Harris, is married to Darby Harris ’97 ’01 MS ’05. The couple lives in Durham.

David Kafitz MAEd EdD ’06 is superintendent of Watauga County Schools. Kafitz has spent 16 years in education across three school systems and as an educator-on-loan for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

Janet Pearson is the new superintendent of Stone Mountain State Park. Pearson previously worked as a ranger at Pilot Mountain State Park and Carver’s Creek State Park near Fayetteville and as an acting superintendent at Raven Rock
State Park.


Robert Ferguson MA ’04 successfully defended his history dissertation at the University of North Carolina. Ferguson and wife, Sara, welcomed a daughter, A.J., in late 2011.

Emily McGeorge is the conference planning manager at the Gastonia Conference Center. McGeorge previously was employed with food services
provider Aramark at WCU and Coastal Carolina University.

Dan Menestres MA ’03 graduated from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa with his doctorate in Southern history.

Timothy Vaught is assistant track and field coach at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he leads the 49er sprints, hurdles and relay events. Vaught, a former track and field athlete at WCU, was named the USA Track and Field NCAA Southeast Indoor Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year after the 2011-12 indoor season, the second time he has won the honor in his four years at Charlotte.

Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Kirby S. Whitley graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.


Leigh Angel MS ’12 is director of the medical-surgical unit at Park Ridge Hospital in Henderson County. She has spent the past 10 years in patient care in Western North Carolina as a staff nurse, unit supervisor and nurse manager.

Jackie Stepp was promoted to the rank of sergeant with the Asheville Police Department. Stepp, currently earning a master’s degree in public affairs at WCU, has been with the APD for seven years, previously serving as patrol officer and community resource officer. She was selected in 2008 for the Asheville-Buncombe Community Relations Council Community Service Award.


Steven Anderson was selected as a 2012 emerging leader for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Anderson also was promoted to director of instructional technology for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

Brooke Ballard is principal of Upward Elementary in Henderson County. Ballard previously was lead teacher at Edneyville Elementary and classroom teacher at Bruce Drysdale Elementary, also part of Henderson County Public Schools.

Laura Culotta Jacobs ’03 married in May 2011 and is employed with the Asheville Police Department.

An article by Christopher Manganiello MA, “Hitching the New South to ‘White Coal’: Water and Power, 1890-1933,” was the lead article in the May 2012 issue of The Journal of Southern History. Manganiello works for the Georgia River Network, an environmental nonprofit in Athens, Ga.


Mollie Klein works in a laboratory as a technical associate with Pfizer Inc. Klein resides in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo., near St. Louis.

Alison Melnikova MPA ’06, assistant town manager of Waynesville, was honored as 2011-12 North Carolina Assistant Manager of the Year by the N.C. City and County Management Association.


Nathan Bartlett MA and his wife, Katie, welcomed their first child, son John Robert Bartlett. The new dad works as an adjunct faculty member in geography and history for the Metropolitan State College of Denver.

Brian Chandler MSA is principal of West Buncombe Elementary School. Chandler previously was principal of Oakley Elementary and assistant principal at West Buncombe.

Stephanie Carson Faw and her husband, Jamie Faw ’02, welcomed a son, Lucas Alexander Faw, in April. Faw is a physical education and health teacher and coaches girl’s soccer and girl’s track at West McDowell Junior High School in Marion.

Jamie Laws MSA is principal of Reynolds Middle School in Buncombe County. Previously, Laws was assistant principal and a teacher at Erwin Middle School.

Brandon A. Robinson MA ’10 completed his second year at the N.C. Central University School of Law in Durham. Robinson recently finished a clerkship with former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr at the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law and currently works for LexisNexis.

Michelle Trivette is a music teacher at Cleveland and Enochville elementary schools in the Rowan-Salisbury School System. Trivette was voted Cleveland Elementary’s 2012-13 Teacher of the Year.

Patrick Willis MA was elected in November 2011 to the Canton Board of Aldermen and also works at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville.


Greg McPherson MFA had a solo exhibition of his representational and abstract paintings and photographs at Carolina Gallery in Spartanburg. McPherson is a faculty member in the WCU art department and also works at the university’s Fine Art Museum.

Rickey Rainey of Charlotte, a former Catamount football player, participates in the American Mixed Martial Arts Fight League under the moniker “the Sniper.”

Kristina Specht MSA is principal at Glen Arden Elementary in Buncombe County. Previously assistant principal in Johnston County, Specht taught at Glen Arden from 1999-2004.


Adrienne Avery was a guest on an episode of “The Dr. Oz Show” this spring on the topic of reprogramming taste buds to enjoy healthy food. Avery lives in New York City, where she teaches public speaking at Borough of Manhattan Community College and works as a sales associate at Macy’s.

Stephanie Fleming ME owns Solstice Salon Spa in Black Mountain.

Jennifer Reed MAEd is principal at Fairview Elementary School in Buncombe County. Reed previously served as assistant principal at the school.

Derek Roland is the new town planner in Franklin. Roland previously was director of planning for his native Macon County.

Kimberly Ward MSA is principal at W.D. Williams Elementary School in Buncombe County. Ward previously was assistant principal at North Buncombe Elementary School and taught at Erwin Middle School.


Michael Slaughter MSA was named Catawba County Schools 2012-13 Teacher of the Year. Slaughter, who teaches eighth-grade science at Mill
Creek Middle School, has been with the Catawba County Schools for more than a decade.

Carson Wilkie is scheduled to graduate with a master’s degree in European history from Florida Atlantic in summer 2012 and has been accepted into the doctoral program in early modern European history at the University of Maryland.


Amanda Cundiff and Jay Solomon are engaged to be married in October. They live in Hendersonville and are planning to honeymoon in New Zealand.

Jessica Jackson is director of basketball operations at Kent State University. Jackson spent the previous two seasons as a graduate assistant at North Carolina State University. She was the starting point guard for two seasons for the Catamounts after transferring in from the University of South Florida. She served as the team captain and earned Southern Conference All-Academic honors on WCU’s 2009 squad, which captured the SoCon championship.

Cindy Lovelace teaches in the GED and adult high school programs at Gaston College.


Chris Bishop MA plans to study Southern religion at Auburn University.

Dawn M. Kurry, staff writer for the Richmond County Daily Journal in Rockingham since July 2010, earned a 2011 first-place profile feature award from the North Carolina Press Association for an article headlined “Farmer recalls Okinawa, WWII Japan.” The story profiled peach farmer Homer Bynum and his military service in World War II and appeared in a September 2011 issue of the newspaper. The Daily Journal competed in the division for daily newspapers with a circulation under 12,500.


Paige Roberson MPA is the new town manager of Sylva. Roberson is a third-generation Sylva native whose family owned and operated Sylva’s former Roberson Supply.

Morgan Snyder graduated in August with her master’s degree in school counseling from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Katrina L. McDonald MS has joined Asheville Anesthesia Associates.

Casey Amanda Harwood and Colin Reker Whitfield were married in June in Hendersonville. The bride is an employee of Aramark, the food service provider at WCU, and the groom is employed with Bear Lake Reserve in Tuckasegee. The groom’s parents are Lisa Whitfield ’77 MME ’90 and Cliff Whitfield ’76 of Hendersonville.

Megan Griffin MA was selected for a paid internship at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Kaylynn Washnock was the recipient of one of the 2011 Southeastern Museums Conference Traveling Scholarships. Washnock plans to pursue a doctorate in public history beginning this fall.