Dorcas Howell Love and Charles H. Love Jr. ’55 celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary in 2012. Charles retired from IBM and Dorcas, who was a stand-in for Susan Hayward in the 1951 film “I’d Climb the Highest Mountain,” retired from teaching. The couple has two children and four grandsons.
Longtime educator Charles “Tommy” Koontz MAEd ’61 has had a Buncombe County School named in his honor. Charles T. Koontz Intermediate School opened in 2012 to ease overcrowding in the southern portion of the county.
Charles McConnell MAEd ’69 received a 2012 Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service, presented annually to the state’s top volunteers. McConnell has been volunteering in Jackson County for 20 years and is the chief fundraiser for Jackson County Neighbors in Need, a program that improves the homes of those who cannot afford to do so themselves. A former superintendent of Haywood and Jackson County schools, he started the New Century Scholars Program, which guarantees full scholarships to four years of college to qualifying students in Jackson, Macon and Swain counties and has so far benefited approximately 750 students.
Carroll E. Emery MAEd was a 2012 inductee into the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Emery coached baseball for 38 years at T.L. Hanna High School outside of Anderson, S.C., where he racked up 427 wins before retiring in 2006. He also coached Hanna High football for 35 years. He and his wife, June, live in Anderson.
Gerald “Skip” Almond Jr. and Ken Beck ’97 are members of the Elderly Brothers, a band that performs a range of music from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s as well as originals and beach music. The band, whose recording of “I Wanna Be Your Rock” is included on a Carolina beach music compilation titled “Judie’s Patio Party,” performed at the WCU Purple and Gold Reunion dance.
Betty Jamerson Reed MAEd EdS ’82 EdD ’00 is the recipient of an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History’s Leadership in History Awards for her publication “School Segregation in Western North Carolina, A History, 1860s-1970s.” The award, in its 67th year, is recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.
Jim Taylor MAEd ’70 was among the first round of inductees to the Franklin High School Athletic Hall of Fame for his athletic accomplishments at Franklin High and contributions to athletics on the collegiate level and beyond. At Franklin, Taylor played football and ran track. He played football for Gardner-Webb and, as a transfer, at WCU. He went on to coach high school football, netting 10 conference titles and two state championships while at Shelby High School. Since 2005, Taylor has served as the county athletic director for Cleveland County Schools. Taylor also is one of this year’s inductees into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
Roger E. Jones has received the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award from Brevard College, where he attended for two years when it was a junior college. Jones transferred to WCU, attending on a track scholarship. Jones has served in a variety of positions as an educator, teacher, principal and assistant superintendent in Lynchburg City Schools in Virginia and is in his 10th year as professor at Lynchburg College in educational leadership studies.
Thomas Price MAEd ’81 is retiring from Marion Elementary School in Cleveland County after 37 years in education, most of it as a first-grade teacher. Price attended WCU as the only male in education classes for a kindergarten-third grade degree, according to his wife, Julia Lee Tiddy Price MAEd ’80. “He still practices techniques we learned at WCU under professors like Dr. Thomas Pickering and Dr. Gurney Chambers ’61,” said Julia Price, who retired in 2011 after 36 years in public education.
Randy Reid has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Georgia Independent School Association for having dedicated at least 25 years of service to an independent school. Reid has been chair of the Athens Academy humanities department since 1987. He teaches U.S. history and a popular film and literature course and has coached the girls soccer and basketball teams.
Terri Garland Hand Sessoms, a longtime public school servant and the recent public information officer for Johnston County Schools, retired in September. Sessoms served in a variety of capacities during her career in the schools, including as a professional growth facilitator, beginning teacher coordinator, curriculum/literacy coach, assistant principal, curriculum coordinator, teacher on loan, elementary teacher, middle school language arts and science teacher, and high school English and science teacher. During her time of service, Sessoms has received accolades for her leadership in school reform as well as creativity and innovation with the classroom. Her most recent awards include the James B. Hunt Outstanding Teacher Award for her impact on the state’s public education and the governor’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine for more than 30 years of exemplary service in education.
Marion Police Chief Mark Brooks plans to retire from the post in April. Brooks became Marion’s chief in 2010 after serving nearly 22 years with the Shelby Police Department. He began his law enforcement career at the Asheville Police Department in 1979. An incentive from the N.C. Local Governmental Retirement System is prompting the retirement, but Brooks said he hopes “to serve in another law enforcement or educational capacity in the future.”
Sandy Hunter has been elected as an at-large educator on the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians board of directors.
Lisa Toney Harris married Barry Lee Bralley in April in Shelby and was escorted down the aisle by son Ryan Wakefield, a WCU student. Harris is a social studies teacher at East Rutherford High School. The couple lives in Forest City.
Dr. Tim Gillespie has been elected 2013 vice president of the N.C. Dental Society, which represents more than 3,600 dentists in the state. Gillespie, past president of the Buncombe County Dental Society and the N.C. Dental Society’s First District, lives in Asheville and is married to Betsy Jones Gillespie ’86.
Sherri Holbert has been hired as development officer for Park Ridge Health Foundation events. Holbert, a native of Hendersonville, previously was co-owner and CFO of Heart Power, where she facilitated workshops to help businesses improve customer service, business outcomes, employee engagement and talent management.
Alice Salthouse has accepted the position of chief executive officer with High Country Community Health Inc., a nonprofit formed in 2010 with clinics that offer fees adjusted to the patient’s ability to pay. Salthouse formerly was director of community outreach for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and has served in various health care leadership roles since 1990.
Lynn Rhymer, principal of Central Cabarrus High School, has been selected as the 2013 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year for Cabarrus County Schools. Rhymer has served as principal of Central Cabarrus since August 2011. She joined Cabarrus County Schools in 2006 as an assistant principal at Concord High School and then moved to the principal’s position at Northwest Cabarrus High School.
Army Lt. Col. Robert Law has assumed command of the 900th Contingency Contracting Battalion at Fort Bragg. Law has served in the military for 28 years. He is the husband of Melissa H. Law ’92.
Christopher Johnson of Yuma, Ariz., received the Judge’s Award from the Yuma County Juvenile Courts and the Rookie of the Year Award from the regional Court Appointed Special Advocate program. Johnson, who earned his doctorate in education with a concentration in higher education leadership from Capella University, has educational experience in classroom instruction, faculty supervision and curriculum development.
Benjie Brown was selected as the 2012-13 Principal of the Year for Thomasville City Schools and will represent the system during the regional competition for Wells Fargo Principal of the Year. Brown previously won three consecutive state championships as a football coach at Thomasville High School.
Debora Kinsland Foerst MA ’98 was recently named development coordinator for Cherokee Central Schools. Foerst previously served as a teacher in the Cherokee Central middle school and as a teacher and assistant principal in the high school. “As an alum of the Cherokee Central School system, I have been honored to serve the students and community through my various positions there,” Foerst said.
Don Deibert helps transport patients diagnosed with a cancer to radiation and chemotherapy appointments as a volunteer with the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program. Deibert, himself a cancer survivor, also coordinates the program’s other volunteer drivers.
Dawn Rookey MA ’12 was named Teacher of the Year for the Buncombe County school system. An English teacher at Owen High School, Rookey has taught in North Carolina classrooms for 13 years, including 10 at Owen. She is the wife of Matthew Sweazey MA ’95.
Nathan Adcock and Charles “Chuck” Allen hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2008. Adcock and Allen met and became friends at WCU and both went on to careers in nursing. The Appalachian Trail extends 2,184 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. “Our love of backpacking was kindled in the mountains of Western North Carolina surrounding Cullowhee, while we attended WCU,” Adcock said.
Musician Jeanne Jolly has returned to her folk and country roots, moving home from Los Angeles to Raleigh in 2009. Focusing on her own guitar playing and songwriting, she released a country-tinged album titled “Falling in Carolina” in 2010 and “Angels” in 2012. She also is a member of the Foreign Exchange, a Grammy-nominated R&B collective based in the Triad.
Allison Payne married Alexander Gnilka in April in Charlotte, where the couple resides. Fellow Catamounts Courtney Newton and Risha Burkett Milner MPA ’04 were bridesmaids for the wedding ceremony.
Dana Woodard Quick MAEd ’04 was named the Smoky Mountain Counseling Association’s Outstanding Middle School Counselor for 2011-12. Quick, a native of Bryson City, was selected by her counseling colleagues for excellence in her field. She has been a counselor at Vine Middle School in Knoxville, Tenn., for the past seven years.
Terri Latimer participated in the MuckRuckus MS, a five-mile race through mud and over obstacles held in October in Atlanta. The race benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society; Latimer ran in honor of her friend Nick Lemons ’05.
Donnie Suttles is a territorial scout for the San Francisco Giants covering North and South Carolina and parts of Virginia and West Virginia. Suttles played baseball at WCU and professionally in the Cleveland Indians organization. He coached baseball for four years at T.C. Roberson High School and spent the past two years as an assistant coach at Tennessee Tech University. He is the husband of Amy Williams Suttles ’00.
Laurie Price has accepted the position of financial support supervisor for the Alabama Department of Human Resources. The duties of this position include supervising three areas of the social services agency, which are child support enforcement, family assistance and the JOBS program. Price lives in Douglas, Ala.
Curtis Sikes wrote and Sheena Kohlmeyer illustrated a children’s book titled “The Heart of a King.” The book, about self-acceptance, is being sold at bookstores throughout Western North Carolina.
Emily Weaver is a reporter for the Times-News in Henderson County, where she writes about Hendersonville city government, social service providers and other nonprofits. Weaver previously was employed by The Kings Mountain Herald, where she served as editor for four years.
Anthea Neri was a featured vocalist in “The Music of Steven Jamail” in April at New York’s Lincoln Center Library. Neri performed “Anyotherway” by composer and lyricist Jamail during the event, part of the Broadway’s Future concert series. Neri also recorded a song titled “Grace” by Emmy award-winning composer Peter Fish for the 2012 London Olympics. Neri is a genetic specialist at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
Luis Herron was inducted into the West Carteret High School Athletic Hall of Fame. A 2001 graduate of West Carteret, Herron excelled in wrestling, football and track and field. As a wrestler, Herron was the team’s Most Outstanding Wrestler three times and achieved statewide and national rankings. In track and field, he was conference discus champion in 2001. Herron, who attended WCU on a football scholarship, works for Big Rock Sports as an export coordinator and accounts manager.
Luzene Hill has exhibited her artwork in New York City and Russia. Her work was part of an exhibit titled “Changing Hands: Art without Reservation, 3” that ran through October at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York and will spend three years traveling among venues in the United States and Canada. Her work also was included this fall in a show titled “Native Art in Russia” at the Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Art as well as in an exhibit in the Russian city of Novosibirsk.
Daryl Matthew Howington is the 2011-12 Teacher of the Year for Robeson County Public Schools. Howington, a fifth-grade mathematics and science teacher, is in his fifth year at L. Gilbert Carroll Middle School. “I believe that it is through experience that we attain wisdom,” Howington said in a statement. “The most important factor that facilitated my need to become a teacher was my personal desire to dedicate my life to helping others.”
Hannah B. Cobb MSA has been hired as an assistant principal at Southern Alamance High School. Cobb most recently was assistant principal at Northwest High School in Guilford County, a position she had held since 2008.
Erin Hambrick MA is a doctoral student in the clinical child psychology program at the University of Kansas, where she is directing research for Project Share. Through interviews with children ages 8-12 and their mothers, Project Share seeks to learn about the challenges faced by families during and after the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Mo., with the hope of understanding more about promoting well-being and positive adjustment in children following disasters. “We really want to know more about factors that lead to distress versus resilience in kids,” said Hambrick in a television interview about the project.
Mark Klamerus MCM is manager of Disaster One Inc.’s new Wilmington
office, where he will be responsible for overall branch operations and development. Disaster One Inc. is a restoration company serving the Southeast. Klamerus previously served as a large loss project manager in the company’s Greensboro office.
Edward J. McGowan Jr. MAc has been recognized as a Distinguished Toastmaster by Toastmasters International. McGowan, finance director for the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, attained the honor after many years of active participation in the Toastmasters organization. McGowan and his wife, Nancy, live in Arden and have three grown children.
Tony McClain Hager Jr. married Brittany “Taylor” Holden in September in Lincolnton. Hager works for Shaw Group as a safety specialist, and the couple lives in Mooresville.
Joshua David Okon married Monica Paige Lowrance in September in Shelby. Okon is employed by Milliken in Spartanburg, S.C.
Kelli Walker works in Greenville, S.C., as a production assistant for American Builder Productions, which produces content that has aired on NBC, FOX and CBS.