Dr. Martha Lavender, president of Gadsden State Community College, announced the winners of the Exceptional Achievement in Teaching Awards and the Staff Excellence in Service Awards.
“It is a wonderful privilege to bestow annual awards on outstanding members of our faculty and staff,” said Dr. Martha Lavender, president. “The awards are given to those who have exhibited an unwavering commitment to excellence in teaching and in service.”
The Exceptional Achievement in Teaching Award is the highest honor bestowed on the faculty at Gadsden State. Each of the four awards given recognizes career achievements in teaching with emphasis on concrete accomplishments and proven results.
The Brenda Crowe Exceptional Achievement in Teaching Award is named for the former dean of institutional advancement and community Services. The winner is Gwen Ford, an instructor of early childhood development on the Wallace Drive Campus. In 2001, she was hired as the first full-time child development instructor and was responsible for reorganizing the program, including revamping the guidelines, courses, degree paths and community partnerships. As a result, the program is one of the most viable Associate of Applied Science programs, and it meets the standards as set forth by the National Accreditation of the Education of Young Children. Gadsden State has one of only two programs in Alabama to achieve NAEYC status. Ford is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an education sorority; the Head Start Board of Directors; the Gadsden State Program Review Committee and Faculty Affairs Committee; and the Woman’s Club of Gadsden.
The Pierce C. Cain Exceptional Achievement in Teaching Award is given to a member of the academic faculty and is named for the founding president of what is now the Ayers Campus. This year’s recipient is Laura Ann Sullins, an English and speech instructor at the Ayers Campus. At Gadsden State, she serves as advisor for the Skills USA Occupational Preparation Program. Her students have won first place in the prepared speech competition at the state level for the past three years while another student won first place for the extemporaneous speaking contest this year. Sullins is also the co-sponsor for the Red Riders, the Gadsden State cycling club. She also serves on the Professional Development Committee and the SACS Writing Committee, and she was a “G-guide” at Cardinal Commit, Gadsden State’s new student orientation.
The award given to a member of the technical faculty is known as the Eugene Prater Exceptional Achievement in Teaching Award, which honors the founder of what is now Gadsden State’s Valley Street Campus. The winner is Michelle Roberts, an instructor in the Court Reporting Program on the East Broad Campus. She is the co-author of the state court reporters exam and serves as a proctor and co-dictator of the audible exams. At Gadsden State, she serves on the Realtime Reporting Advisory Committee and the board of directors for the Alumni Association, and she is a graduate of the Faculty Development Institute. She is a member of the national and state Court Reporters Association, and she has been published in the Journal of Court Reporting twice.
The Beverly Hill Award is given to a member of the health sciences faculty. Hill was a nursing instructor at Gadsden State who helped develop the curriculum, programs and projects for the Emergency Medical Services Program. The award goes to Cynthia Mullinax, a nursing instructor on the Wallace Drive Campus. At Gadsden State, she serves as a faculty advisor to the Student Nurses Association, and she has participated on the Athletic, Hospitality, Students with Disabilities and Technology committees. Mullinax is the past recipient of the Outstanding Academic Instructor Award from the Gadsden State Alumni Association. She has made professional presentations at St. Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta, the Women of Worth Seminar, Leadership Etowah, the Community College Consortium, the International Association of Administrative Professionals Conference and Samford University. In the community, she has represented Gadsden State at health fairs and events for the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.
The Staff Excellence in Service Award is being bestowed on two individuals and recognizes more than their ability to perform their responsibilities in a proficient and capable manner.
“Both winners are incredibly important to the Gadsden State team,” said Lavender. “They are focused on continuous improvement and success, and they have the ability to motivate other employees and students. They are true representatives of what Gadsden State has to offer.”
Winners of the Staff Excellence in Service Award are Brooke Davis and Stephanie Mayfield.
Davis is a court reporting instructor, a position she has held since 2014. She is a member of the national and state Court Reporters Association, the Realtime Reporting Advisory Committee, the Faculty Development Institute and the Gadsden State Alumni Association Board of Directors. She co-authored the state court reporters exam with Roberts and serves as a proctor for the exam. Davis serves her community through her church by participating in fundraising events for families in need, and she is involved in Southside High School Athletics, where her husband is a coach.
Mayfield has worked as the tutorial coordinator for Student Support Services since 2014. She is a member of the Council of Opportunity in Education as well as the state and national Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel. At the College, Mayfield has served on the Hiring, Internal Audit and Alcohol and Drug Prevention committees, and she implemented the TRiO Awards Program at the Ayers Campus. She has served as a volunteer at Worlds of Work and the Boys and Girls Clubs of East Central Alabama, and she has participated in fundraisers for the American Heart Association, the East Central Alabama United Cerebral Palsy Center, the James M. Barrie Center for Children and the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center at Children’s of Alabama.
Each of the award recipients receives $1,000 in discretionary funds within the appropriate department or division budget for the academic year to be used for equipment, professional development or teaching supplies.