The University of Texas at Tyler
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anniversary celebration

UT Tyler Magazine, Spring 2012

Class Notes

Cindy Slaydon (M.S.N. 1976) has joined Sparks Health System in Fort Smith, Ark., as chief nursing executive. Slaydon brings 30 years of nursing and operational experience in health care to the position. She previously served as an independent health care consultant and a senior vice president for clinical operations and quality for a leading health care company.

Donald L. Yates (M.S. 1978) is the author of "A Life Committed to Its Intended Anchorage and Soar: The Harmony between Spiritual Principles and Sound Science,'' Westbow Press Publishing Co., Bloomington, Ind. The book posits the general theme of universal law as having its roots in its spiritual antecedents. Yates completed a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin after graduating from UT Tyler. He resides in Savannah, Ga.

Kathy Holdway (B.S.Ed. 1981) is founder and president of Jacksonville-based A Circle of Ten, Inc. The nonprofit agency has trained and supported leaders to multiply partnerships impacting economic development since 1996. Holdway and her husband, Jeff Basehor, also operate a bed and breakfast in the Tyler area. She is the former director of a women's shelter, and developed an anti-victimization curriculum that was implemented in preschools, teaching children how to be safe.

Rachelle Dardeau (M.S. 1984) was named executive director of the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center in Newhall, Calif. The multipurpose center provides programs and services to seniors and persons with disabilities. Dardeau is a 15-year resident of Santa Clarita Valley and holds more than 25 years of experience in developing and administering programs for seniors. She previously served as program director of the Specialized Ambulatory Geriatric Evaluaton program at Sherman Oaks Hospital and director of regional offices for the Alzheimer's Association, California Southland Chapter. Dardeau studied clinical psychology and neuropsychology at UT Tyler and also holds a master of social work degree from Louisiana State University.

John Fuller (B.S. 1987) is audio and new media division vice president for Focus on the Family, a global Christian ministry based in Colorado Springs, Colo. Joining the organization in 1991, Fuller co-hosts the Focus on the Family daily radio program with Jim Daly and Juli Slattery. He also hosts the "Weekend Magazine'' national broadcast. He began his broadcast career in 1990 at a college radio station in Wisconsin and later helped start Tyler radio stations KVNE and KLGY. Fuller is the author of "First-Time Dad: The Stuff You Really Need to Know.'' He and his wife, Dena, have six children.

Rochelle Dahmer (B.S. 1988) was named the 2011 Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year. A resident of Hattiesburg, Miss., Dahmer is a developmental English instructor at Jones County Junior College. The Mississippi Humanities Council selected her for the award based on her accomplishments and contributions to education. Dahmer began teaching at Jones in 2007. The former WDAM-TV news reporter and anchor taught junior high and high school English for 10 years in the public school system. Dahmer is an adviser for Cengage Learning's TeamUP Faculty Programs and was recently asked to serve on the Mississippi Association for Developmental Education Advisory Board. She and her husband, Phillip, have two children.

Mary Elizabeth Jackson (M.S.I.S. 1989) is chair-elect of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce. She will serve in that capacity for one year before taking over as chair of the chamber's board of directors. Jackson has been involved with the chamber for more than 15 years ago, chairs its Governmental Affairs and Business Development committees and has participated on the Medical Committee. She also has served on the Tyler Economic Development Council. Jackson is vice president of the Trinity Mother Frances Foundation and a communications consultant.

John David Beck (B.S. 1991) joined the New York office of Haynes and Boone LLP. Beck is an associate in the firm's bankruptcy and business restructuring practice. Beck recently completed a judicial clerkship with Justice Phil Johnson of the Supreme Court of Texas. After graduating from UT Tyler, he earned a juris doctorate from Texas Tech University School of Law.

Joan C. Chandler (M.Ed. 1991) is north regional program director for family and consumer sciences with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Jeff Austin III (B.S. 1992, M.B.A. 1996) was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees the Texas Department of Transportation. Austin is vice chairman of Austin Bank and Texas NA, a board member of First State Bank in Athens and Capital Bank in Houston, and past-president of First State Bank Frankston. He also is past-presiding officer of the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority.

Corey Jenkins (B.A. 1994, M.Ed. 2003) is superintendent of Trinidad Independent School District. He is a Trinidad native and longtime Trinidad ISD teacher and administrator. His previous positions with the district include principal; assistant principal; director of student programs and technology; and a teacher of content mastery, special education and psychology/sociology.

Tim Tadlock (M.Ed. 1994) was named associate head baseball coach at Texas Tech in November 2011. Tadlock spent the previous six years producing several of the nation's top recruiting classes at the University of Oklahoma while helping the Sooners back to the College World Series in 2010.

Rachel Hudson (B.A. 1995) brought the first Bikram Yoga studio to East Texas recently. A certified Bikram Yoga instructor, Hudson serves as director of the Tyler-based studio. The Longview native has been doing yoga since 1995.

Christy Roach (B.S.I.S. 1995, M.Ed. 2004), principal of Douglas Elementary School, received the 2011 Tyler Hispanic Business Alliance Achievers Award in the professional category. The award is presented to a Hispanic professional who has achieved success through determination and hard work. Roach was commended for her successful community partnership efforts at Douglas and the school's academic achievements. The Tyler native grew up just two blocks from Douglas and attended the school. Before becoming principal five years ago, Roach was a Douglas teacher and assistant principal.

Doris Weatherford (M.S.N 1996) was honored as 2011 Nurse of the Year at the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce's 4th annual Salute to Healthcare Banquet. She serves as director of infection control at Woodland Heights Medical Center.

Angela Harden (B.S.N. 1999) joined The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler Department of Surgery as a certified physician assistant. Harden provides wound care and inpatient post-surgical care and consultation. She completed a master's degree in physician assistant studies from the University of North Dakota's family medicine department.

Roy Guerra Martinez (B.B.A. 1999, M.B.A. 2003) received the 2011 W.C. Windsor Award at the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership Meeting. The award is presented to an outstanding Tyler citizen younger than 40. Martinez serves as community banking sales manager for Regions Bank. He worked at Southside for 11 years, advancing from bank teller to commercial lender, before joining Regions Bank five years ago. Martinez is president-elect of the Leadership Tyler board of directors and serves on the boards of directors for Boys & Girls Club of East Texas, Tyler ISD Foundation and UT Tyler. He also has been involved in the American Cancer Society, Junior Achievement, March of Dimes, Texas Rose Festival and Tyler Teen Court.

Amanda Atwood (B.B.A. 2000) recently joined the Tyler-based Fitzpatrick Architects Inc. as office administrator, after working in business management for 12 years with Potter Minton Law Firm. In her new position, Atwood is responsible for accounting functions, daily operations and employee benefits. She also works closely with the firm's partners to ensure efficiency and productivity for the staff and clients.

Dr. Jo Ann Parsley-Simmons (B.S.I.S. 2000, M.Ed. 2003) completed her doctor of education in educational administration from Stephen F. Austin State University last summer. She is in her sixth year as principal of Hogg Middle School in Tyler. The former reading teacher and coach also is an adjunct professor at Texas A&M University at Texarkana.

Paula Tapley (M.Ed. 2000) is the new principal of East Texas Christian Academy in Tyler. She worked in public education for 15 years, including 10 years as an educational diagnostician. Tapley is married to Carl, a representative for Woodmen of the World, a financial services organization. They have one son.

Claudia Bazan Hill (B.B.A. 2001) received the 2011 Hispanic Business Alliance Achievers Award for Restaurant of the Year. Hill is president of Chez Bazan French Bakery & Café, established in 1985 by her father, the late Richard Bazan.

Michael Lujan (M.Ed. 2001) received the 2011 Small Business of the Year Award at the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership Meeting. Lujan and his wife, Lisa, are co-founders of the Tyler-based Mentoring Minds, an educational publisher providing resources to teachers for educating today's youth.

David Alan Smith (M.Ed. 2001) is in his first year as principal of Troup High School. He has been in education for 18 years, including serving as Whitehouse Junior High School principal for eight years. Smith also taught and coached in Chapel Hill, Jacksonville and Kilgore school districts and in Louisiana.

Misty Thomas (B.S.N. 2004, M.S.N. 2006) is the new chief nursing officer at Good Shepherd Medical Center-Linden. She previously served as director of emergency and cardiopulmonary services at Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale.

Miranda Azzam Mobley (B.B.A. 2006) serves as national sales recruiting consultant with the Aflac Worldwide Headquarters in Columbus, Ga. She drives recruiting best practices across Aflac's U.S. field operations using field research and insights. She primarily focuses on the use of data to trend and analyze recruiting effectiveness and drive internal initiatives that will impact sales recruiting. Azzam began working at Aflac headquarters immediately after graduating from UT Tyler.

Jennifer Orren (B.S. 2007, M.A. 2011) is an instructional coach in English language arts and social studies at John Tyler School, where she has worked since 2007. She also serves in the school's Advanced Placement program, teaching U.S. government and comparative politics. Orren and her husband, Milton, have five children and one granddaughter.

Paul Robeson (B.S. 2007) was recently promoted to sergeant at the Tyler Police Department. Robeson began employment with Tyler PD in May 2002 and holds an advanced peace officer license. He was named Rookie of the Year in 2003 and has received several other awards, including Plain Clothes Officer of the Month, Unit of the Year and East Texas Crisis Center Hope Award.

Karla Clark (B.S. 2008) has served as a freelance writer for the Jacksonville Daily Progress while working on her graduate degree in political science at the University of North Texas.

Rodolfo "Rudy'' Jaramillo (B.A. 2008) returned to his high school alma mater to teach in the fall. Jaramillo teaches Level II Spanish at Jacksonville High School, where he graduated in 2004. He previously served as a coach at The Brook Hill School.

Kenya Francis (B.B.A. 2009) was recently named chief financial officer for Heritage Land Bank. Francis joined the staff in May 1999 as an administrative assistant. A year later, she was promoted to accounting assistant and three years later to accounting manager. In November 2010, she was promoted again to controller, a position she held until she was named CFO. Francis is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society and has been a Junior Achievement of Tyler volunteer and Farm Credit Business and Professional Women auditor. She and her husband, Samuel, have two children.

Patricia "Patti'' Vasquez (B.S.N., M.S.N. 2009) serves as a hospital administrator and director of nursing at Cozby-Germany Hospital in Grand Saline. She joined the hospital staff in 2010 as a nurse in the emergency room. After completing her master's degree at UT Tyler, she earned a second master's, in clinical nursing, at the University of Texas at Arlington and is a nurse practitioner. Her husband, Richard, is administrative director of radiology at ETMC in Athens.

Lee Swanson Traylor (B.S. 2010) is in his first year as a math teacher at Jacksonville High School. A 2005 graduate of JHS, Swanson tutored for the high school's Advancement via Individual Determination program while attending UT Tyler.

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