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n Cultivating Connections pg 4 n Memories from Makaphutu pg 6 n Classroom Quarterback pg 16

Transforming Lives is published annually for the benefit of former students and friends of the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University by the development and communications offices in the college. To request additional copies of this publication, please e-mail Diane Oswald at Douglas J. Palmer, Dean Steve Blomstedt, Director of Development Jenna Kujawski, Communications Manager Diane L. Oswald, Director of College Relations Writers: Dell Billings, Jenna Kujawski, Diane Oswald, Amanda Reed, Kara Sutton-Jones Designer: Esther Ewert Photo Credits: Jenna Kujawski: pages 4, 10, 16, 17, 20, 21, 26, 27 Kara Sutton-Jones: pages 12, 14, 15, 25 Texas A&M Foundation: page 5 Texas A&M Athletics: Cover, 17 (action shots) Visit the college online at

On the cover: FOX Sports recently identified Jerrod Johnson ’10 on it’s list of Top 10 Heisman Quarterback Prospects for 2010. Jerrod, who is the starting quarterback for the Texas A&M Aggies, recognizes the opportunity he has, both as an athlete and future educator, to impact the lives of students. “Football provides kids with a little more incentive to listen to me and to view me as a role model. It means that I have an opportunity to positively impact their lives inside and outside the classroom,” he says. After completing his final season this year with the Aggies, Jerrod has dreams of playing in the National Football League and one day becoming a second-generation educator — teaching high school history and coaching. Through his commitment to football and education, Jerrod is uniquely positioned to transform lives everywhere.


Cultivating Connections


Memories from Makaphutu


The Changing Face of Education


An Aggie’s Spirit


A Drive for Reading


One Voice


Classroom Quarterback


Who Was Your Favorite Teacher?


Lights, Camera, Action


Coaching Mom and Dad


Outstanding in Their Fields


Exceptional Inspiration


Ties that Bind


Thanks for Giving


The Story Behind Memorial and Honor Gifts

From the Dean Mr. Doyle was one of my favorite teachers. He was my sophomore homeroom teacher, which meant he taught many of the subjects I was taking. When students saw beyond his gruff manner and the formality of Cardinal Newman Catholic High School, it was clear that he only wanted the best for each of his students. Mr. Doyle’s passion, skill, knowledge and sense of humor created excitement in the classroom, and many of us excelled academically because of him. I remember the day he told my class that there was a special campus-wide penmanship contest. He instructed us to take out a sheet of paper to practice, and encouraged us to do our very best work. We diligently crafted each letter to perfection because we wanted to win the contest. He collected our practice sheets and told us that he would expect all written reports to be of similar quality throughout the year. The contest was a creative way to motivate adolescent males. Mr. Doyle, understanding of us and how to establish high performance expectations, was masterful. His expertise exceeded subject knowledge to include an understanding of the tools that help to define excellence in teaching, including the use of humor. He applied various teaching methods and utilized differentiated instruction and appropriate classroom management procedures. He was keenly familiar with learning styles, adolescent development and assessment. His expert application of these skills shaped content into subject matter that was accessible for a diverse community of students. Understanding and engaging students as individuals, content proficiency and teaching expertise are the hallmarks of exceptional teachers. These are core competencies taught in our own teacher preparation program in the College of Education

and Human Development at Texas A&M University that prepare our graduates to impact the teaching profession in profound and meaningful ways. Teaching is a complex and challenging enterprise. Effective teachers have substantial knowledge of subject matter and teaching methods and a deep understanding of their students. We place our Aggie student teachers with highly effective teachers like Mr. Doyle, who model their expertise in the classroom. Through rigorous, well-rounded curriculum and opportunities to practice and interact with faculty and supervising teachers in their subject areas, our Aggie graduates are ready to step into their own classrooms to make a positive impact on their students and on the teaching profession. We expect more of our Aggie teachers, and they, in turn, carry on our vision of transforming lives.


I have the best job in the world. I help bring former and current students together to reinvest in Texas A&M University. – ED DAVIS Ed Davis celebrates the One Spirit One Vision campaign’s exceeding $1 billion dollars with John D. White and Bob Gates (left). Ed has served as president of the Texas A&M Foundation since 1993 (center and right).

Cultivating Connections Aggie brings current and former students together to make an impact A seed planted in a sharecropper’s cotton field in Henrietta, Texas, nearly five decades ago grew into Ed Davis’ ‘67 passion for education. Since 1993, Ed’s career as chief fundraiser for the Texas A&M Foundation has reflected the value that this first-generation student places on the opportunities afforded through a good education. “Working in the cotton patch as a child, I knew that I wanted to find a different way to make a living. I remember my grandfather telling Dad that I was smart enough to go to college,” Ed says. “At the time, only one in 10 of my classmates would graduate from high school and continue their education. Grandfather told Dad to make sure I was one of them.” It was Aggie vocational agricultural high school teacher, Perry Woods, who inspired Ed to make the 250-mile trek to Texas A&M University. “Mr. Woods served in the Korean War. He was serious and older than many of our high school teachers, but he cared about kids. He was the advisor of the local FFA chapter, and he motivated me to develop as a leader,” Ed says. “He is the reason that I came to Texas A&M.”

Ed earned three degrees from Texas A&M, including a bachelor’s in agricultural journalism and master’s and doctoral degrees in educational administration. After four years in the Army, Ed returned to work at Texas A&M while staying active in the U.S. Army Reserve. He served his country with distinction and retired as a colonel from the Reserve. Prior to his time with the foundation, Ed held several key financial positions, including chief financial officer at the university and chief operating officer at the Texas A&M University System. Described as a visionary, Ed’s accomplishments speak volumes about his commitment to Texas A&M. Under his leadership, over $2 billion dollars has been raised to support students, faculty and programs at Texas A&M, and during the foundation’s seven-year One Spirit One Vision campaign, which ended in 2006, over 1,700 student scholarships, 117 graduate fellowships, 69 faculty chairs and 62 professorships were created. “I have the best job in the world. I help bring former and current students together to reinvest in Texas A&M,” Ed says.

Although much of Ed’s career has kept him busy in the boardroom, his heart always seems to lead him back to the classroom. “I have filled many different roles in my career – student, solider, chief executive officer and others, but there is one consistent role that I have performed throughout these many experiences, and that is the role of teacher,” Ed says. With an appointment as a professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development, Ed teaches graduate courses in higher education management and financial operations. Respected for his intellect and creativity, it is Ed’s compassion, humility and sense of humor that compel many Aggies to call him friend. “Ed has the quality to be successful anywhere. I am so glad that he decided to become an educator,” says Dean Doug Palmer. “His life’s work has been to support students and faculty, elevate the university, and advance higher education in Texas. We will probably never fully understand the tremendous impact he has made here, but we know that we’re better off because Ed is a member of the Aggie family.” We think that Mr. Woods would be very proud.

Pictured left: Ed Davis pauses for a moment inside the 12-foot replica of the Aggie Ring in the Haynes Ring Plaza, which, with its core value walls, provides a place of reflection for Aggies and visitors to Texas A&M University.



Memories from Makaphutu Aggie teacher gives of herself to the children of South Africa “To whom much is given, much is required.” And no one lives by these words more than former elementary education major Cassie Grant ’03, who wanted to take what she’d been given in life and give back to her students — both in Texas and in South Africa. A reading specialist at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in the Richardson Independent School District, Cassie has always had a passion for teaching. But after a summer experience at Camp of the Hills during her sophomore year at Texas A&M University, Cassie knew she wanted to spend her life reaching out to kids who weren’t always given a chance to succeed. “I feel so privileged in my life and realize that the reason I was born into the family I was born into, that I live where I live and that I have the resources I have is so I can give back to those who aren’t so privileged,” Cassie says. “I took a different look at my life and wanted to think more about other people and what I can do for them.” Cassie got the opportunity she had been looking for after visiting with Euan Blackman, a fellow teacher at Richardson ISD. Euan was originally from South Africa and had spent the summer of 2007 teaching children at the Makaphutu Children’s Village in Valley of 1,000 Hills, South Africa. Through Teachers Making a Difference, Cassie joined Euan and four other teachers the following summer and spent six weeks at the same children’s village and the Inkazimulo Primary School, rotating between first through fourth grades, mentoring South African teachers, and providing the care and attention that the South African children needed. She even helped begin a Homework Club that is still in place today.

“When I started teaching, I realized my passion for helping children reached beyond the four walls of my classroom. I wanted to spend my summers helping children in other countries who were in need,” Cassie says. “When I went to Africa, I saw just how similar the children were to my kids at home — they all want to be loved and made to feel special. And that is exactly what they all are — special. I feel privileged to be in a position to do just that and have been so blessed because of it.” Cassie says that the teachers and students at the Children’s Village accepted her and the other American teachers as family, so it was tough on everyone, especially the children, when Cassie left to return to Texas. Only, Cassie made a promise to her kids that she would return again. “As I was saying my good-byes and leaving that first summer, one of my little boys seemed upset. When I asked him why, he told me that people always say they want to come back, but they never do,” Cassie says. “From that moment, I knew I was going to make every effort to go back to see him. I spent the next year thinking about his words and knew I didn’t want to be just another person who disappointed these kids or didn’t fulfill a promise.” After a year of fundraising, Cassie returned in 2009 to the same village in South Africa. “I went to see that same little boy the moment I arrived. When he saw me, he stopped dead in his tracks and just stared,” she says. “He ran to me and hugged me, and that was one of the most life-changing moments of my life. Hopefully, he will never forget that I thought he was special enough to make a trip across the world to see him.”

Cassie’s students were so special to her that she returned a second summer to continue the relationships she had developed with the children of Makaphutu.

Although Cassie cannot make the trip again this summer, she knows that she will see the children of South Africa again. And she has plans to continue her world travels and influence even more children in different places across the globe. “This whole experience has definitely made me a better teacher. I’ve realized that my passion is in building relationships with kids, and I would love to have a classroom where I can connect my kids in Texas to my kids in Africa,” Cassie says. “I want my students to experience life outside their school and their neighborhood and to start thinking globally.” And, if Cassie has her way, she will truly have a global impact on the life of each child that is fortunate enough to connect with her.

Pictured left: Cassie Grant represents Texas A&M and Aggie teachers everywhere while inspiring elementary students at Inkazimulo Primary School in South Africa.



The Changing Face of Education Former student uses her love of writing to help current teachers merge with 21st century technology and engage a new generation of learners Teaching is not confined to the classroom. Or at least that’s Johanna Riddle’s ’80 motto. Having held a myriad of educational positions, including traditional classroom teacher, museum curator, district administrator and most recently, media specialist, Johanna has tried her hand at almost every aspect of education. Her current weekly schedule includes teaching and providing media and technology services to students, mentoring first-year teachers, and speaking and training in both live and virtual venues. Outside of her weekly regimen, she finds time to do what she does best — write. Fueled with the desire to pave an easier path for her fellow educators, Johanna created a teacher’s handbook that demonstrates how to merge 21st century technology with traditional classroom instruction. “Today’s teachers find themselves in unique and demanding times,” Johanna says. “I try to provide teachers and administrators with strategies that show them they can resolve these different demands. I want them to understand they play a vital role in contributing to the changing face of education.”

In her book, Engaging the Eye Generation, Johanna focuses on how the demands of the 21st century not only brought about technological advances in the classroom but how it permanently altered the role of the teacher. “Technology has broadened education into a much more personalized and on-demand experience,” Johanna says. “It also has drastically changed the role of the teacher, from purveyor of information to frame worker, collaborator and manager. That’s a huge shift — one that many educators and administrators are still trying to wrap their minds around.” Drawing on her 25 years of experience as a teacher, Johanna hopes to encourage other educators with her words. “When I dove into educational writing, I decided to become a risk taker. That meant making my work transparent and sharing my experiences honestly,” she says. “Like every teacher, I’m learning along the way. Things don’t always work out perfectly. Many valuable lessons come out of initiatives that don’t always go as planned.” And one of the ways she is learning along the way is by actively engaging in the learning environment. In

2007, she received a Fulbright Scholarship to study the educational systems in China, and this year she is traveling to Italy to speak to and learn from fellow teachers overseas. As a fifth-generation teacher, Johanna believes her desire to better herself as an educator was instilled in her from birth. “I do believe that true teachers are born and not made,” she says. “It’s like any passion — there is an innate compulsion to engage in a lifelong spiral of learning and practice and to explore every facet of that discipline or skill that holds so much fascination and potential.” While Johanna has been fortunate to sample every aspect of education, she considers all educators — whatever title or rank they assume — to be just as important as the rest. “Any teacher who offers the profession their utmost will never have to wonder whether or not their life has meaning,” Johanna says. “They know, without doubt, that they are making a positive contribution in their little corner of the world. And in the long run, that is no small thing.”

Any teacher who offers the profession their utmost will never have to wonder whether or not their life has meaning. They know, without doubt, that they are making a positive contribution in their little corner of the world. And in the long run, that is no small thing. – JOHANNA RIDDLE Pictured left: Johanna Riddle teaches a multi-generational class at the 2009 International Student Media Festival in Kentucky, a three-day event comprised of hands-on, creative learning experiences for students, teachers and parents.



After leading 85,000 Aggie fans in yells at Kyle Field, I know that I am ready to lead my own classroom. – WESTON WILCOX As Yell Leader, Weston interacts with current, former and future Aggies (left and right) and plans to bring his enthusiasm for Texas A&M to his future classroom (center).

An Aggie’s Spirit Education student brings school spirit and commitment to the classroom Weston Wilcox ’10 whoops! And, when he whoops, scores of Aggies whoop with him. Weston, a middle grades math and science major, is an Aggie Yell Leader who will soon apply his enthusiasm for success on the field to success in the classroom.

Weston initially was an agricultural business major, but during his sophomore year of college, he began to feel called to a higher purpose. After spending a week volunteering at a non-denominational Christian ministry youth camp for Young Life, everything changed.

“I’ll be student teaching in the fall of 2011,” Weston says, “and I can’t wait!”

“The time I spent at Young Life was enough to confirm that teaching and working with middle school students is what I want to do with my life,” Weston says.

Elected in 2008 and 2009, the two-term Yell Leader has a heart for young people and a passion for teaching. “I look forward to becoming a middle school math teacher and Young Life leader,” Weston says. “It’s what I have been called to do in my life.” Raised in Rockwall, Texas, Weston’s road to Texas A&M University was first traveled by his older sister, Ashton, who graduated in 2009 with a degree in civil engineering. “I was very reserved in high school and would never have thought about attending a big university,” Weston says. “If it wasn’t for Ashton, I wouldn’t be here. She loves Texas A&M, and she inspired me to become an Aggie.”

The experiences he’s had as an education student and Aggie Yell Leader have uniquely prepared him for the challenges he may face in the classroom. “My education classes have taught me how to teach and have provided a depth of subject knowledge. Being a Yell Leader has helped me learn how to juggle multiple priorities and to think on my feet,” Weston says. “The middle school years are an awkward time of life, but after leading 85,000 Aggie fans in yells at Kyle Field, I know that I am ready to lead my own classroom.”

Although Weston hasn’t decided where he wants to live after he graduates, teaching in an urban classroom has great appeal. “Inner cities need committed teachers, and I appreciate the culture and challenges that are unique to big city schools,” Weston says. “I enjoy hip hop music and taught myself how to dance watching YouTube. It would be fun to incorporate this into the classroom to help the kids learn.” Weston credits his high school economics teacher with modeling how to engage his own future students through their individual interests. “Mrs. Kieschnick made economics fun and interesting. She made sure we learned the material, but more importantly, she made sure we knew she cared about us,” Weston says. “She talked about what it means to be successful in life and helped us think about how we could achieve our individual goals.” Weston plans to take the lessons he learned from Mrs. Kieschnick and make it a tradition in his own classroom. And don’t be surprised if all his students know how to whoop.

Pictured left: Aggie Yell Leader Weston Wilcox, known on campus for his enthusiasm, looks forward to bringing that same passion to his future middle school classroom.


Erica Kaskow (left) received almost 700 books from fellow Aggies. Not only did current special education students (center) help collect books for Erica, but students at Iola Elementary School (right) held a companion book drive.

A Drive for Reading Current and future Aggies pull together to help a first-year teacher in need Erica Kaskow ’08 discovered that when Aggies lend a hand to fellow Aggies, they help in a big way. She and her husband, First Lieutenant Andrew Kaskow, had recently been stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Erica, who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education in 2008, was serving as the resource teacher for kindergarten through fifthgrade students with disabilities. However, the school did not have special education support materials, including much-needed children’s books, so Erica set out to gather what she could for her classroom. “When I was at Texas A&M University, I helped gather data on children’s reading ability for two grant projects. One of the projects required the children to have books to read, and at the end of the school year, we would have a few of those books left over,” she says. Hoping for any leftover books, Erica contacted the Department of Educational Psychology about her dilemma, and word soon spread that a fellow Aggie needed some extra help.

Kristie Stramaski, senior academic advisor and member of the college’s Staff Advisory Council, put together a college-wide book drive with other members of the council. She even persuaded Half Price Books in College Station to donate.

Erica’s students sent thank-you letters to all the Aggies who helped collect the almost 700 books she received for her classroom.

Some of Erica’s former professors and classmates joined in to help. Special education clinical professor Connie Fournier challenged her students to get involved. “I suggested this would be a nice project because we could help a former Aggie, her special education students, and the children of servicemen and women,” Connie says.

Now a sixth-grader at Iola Elementary School, William not only donated some of his own books, but he also started a companion book drive at his school. “William’s book drive went great. We received tons of books and a lot of school supplies from Century 21 Real Estate in Bryan,” Melissa says. Once the books and supplies were gathered, the volunteers coordinated packing and mailing them to North Carolina. Box after box arrived on Erica’s doorstep.

One of Connie’s students, Melissa Trice ’11, now a senior special education major, told her son, William, about the class’s efforts to gather books. “We wanted to do something for the soldiers’ families,” William says. “They do so much for us by going overseas and keeping the United States safe. If they are in need of books and school supplies, then we should do what we can to help!”

“Texas A&M is an amazing place — everyone knows that — but in times of need, Aggies can really pull together,” Erica says. “I expected to get about five books, but I got almost 700!”

Pictured left: Sarah Daniels, Connie Fournier and Melissa Trice helped to collect books to send to Erica Kaskow’s elementary class at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.



One Voice Through Voices for Children, education graduate seeks to help abused and neglected children “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” — William James Liana Lowey ’99, works to make a difference in the lives of children every day. As the executive director of Voices for Children, an organization serving Brazos, Grimes and Burleson counties, Liana helps children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Liana, who earned her master’s in human resource development from Texas A&M University in 2000, started working in social services at the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation in Bryan. That position opened her eyes to the plight of children living in unstable homes. “I had that moment of ‘wow, I was really lucky growing up.’ It really hit me hard to see so many people in need,” she says. Liana came to Voices for Children as a volunteer coordinator in 2001. She realized she had found a calling that utilized her talents and training as well as satisfied her desire to help others. Established in Bryan in 2000, Voices for Children is part of a national program that began in 1977 to match a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)

with a child or sibling who is placed under the care of the state. Liana knows that when children come into the legal and social service system, it’s easy for them to get lost in a bureaucratic maze with a shifting group of strangers — police, foster parents, social workers, therapists, judges and attorneys. CASA volunteers provide familiar faces and act as representatives for the child as his or her case winds through the court system. Last year, Voices for Children provided CASA volunteers for 161 cases, but the organization is still in need of additional volunteers to fully meet the needs of all foster children in its service area. “The volunteers are really the foundation of our organization, which allows us to do what we do for the kids,” Liana says. Voices for Children also hosts Adoption Days to encourage adoption and Emancipation Showers to provide youth aging out of foster care with basic household items to set up their first home. Liana also helped implement the Wednesday’s Child campaign, which partners with local media outlets such as KBTX, The Eagle and Anuncio Digital Media to highlight a child waiting for an adoptive home.

In 2008, Voices for Children provided Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers for 161 cases in the Brazos Valley.

“My hope for each of the kids we work with is for them to have every opportunity to grow up to be happy, healthy and successful adults,” Liana says. “Each of our kids has so much potential, and it breaks my heart to think of a door being closed on them that, had it been opened, would have put them on an entirely different trajectory of experiences. That thought keeps me going.”

My hope for each of the kids we work with is for them to have every opportunity to grow up to be happy, healthy and successful adults. Each of our kids has so much potential. – LIANA LOWEY Pictured left: Liana Lowey makes a difference in the lives of children throughout the Brazos Valley as the executive director of Voices for Children.



Football has put me in a great position to positively impact the lives of students both inside and outside the classroom. – JERROD JOHNSON Jerrod Johnson (left and right) was one of the biggest reasons the Aggies had the fifth best offense in the nation (465.3 ypg) in 2009. Like his father, Jerrod (center) plans to teach and coach high school students.

Classroom Quarterback Quarterback Jerrod Johnson transforms lives on the field and in the classroom

“Hi Coach Johnson,” squeals a group of kindergarteners as they pass the Aggie quarterback in the hallway. In his final week of student teaching at College Hills Elementary School in College Station, the kinesiology and education major has dreams that include playing in the National Football League as well as teaching history and coaching high school students. “I love football, and I see it as a stepping stone that will one day lead me to coach and teach fulltime,” says Jerrod Johnson ‘10. “With two parents in education, it’s a lifestyle that I have grown up with my entire life. It is a great way to live and to raise a family.” Jerrod’s dad, Larry ’79, was an education major and wide receiver at Texas A&M University. After earning his master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin University, Larry became a teacher and coach at Creekwood Middle School in Humble ISD. Larry stayed with the district for nearly 20 years and worked his way through the administrative ranks. He became principal of Humble High School in June 2007, but sadly, passed away unexpectedly seven months later. “There were 3,000 people at dad’s funeral. Many of them were former students who came to show their respects,” Jerrod says. “It was amazing to see how many lives he had touched as an educator. I looked up to him, and I want my life to have that kind of impact.”

Jerrod’s mom, Pamela, has been a teacher for over 28 years with North Forest ISD in Houston. She has spent the past 21 years teaching cosmetology in the Department of Career and Technical Education at North Forest High School. “Being from a family of educators, Jerrod has witnessed first hand the influence and impact that can be made on students’ lives. He is an excellent role model who promotes a positive learning environment for all students,” says Kathy Sillavan ’80, a physical education teacher and one of Jerrod’s mentors at College Hills Elementary School. While growing up, Jerrod had several foster brothers that lived with him and his family. His parents took in boys of all ages and with varying challenges. The love and acceptance that was modeled at home throughout Jerrod’s childhood set the standard for how he lives his life today. “My parents are the individuals who influenced me the most,” Jerrod says. “Throughout my life, I have heard stories from people who had Mom or Dad as a teacher. They always talk about how much my parents helped them. They are the reason that my brother Marquis and I both decided to become teachers and coaches.” During the last two weeks of his student teaching,

Jerrod had full responsibility for planning and teaching the physical education classes for all grade levels. “I like having the responsibility to make decisions and engage the students. I guess it’s the leader in me; it’s just what I do,” he says. Kathy agrees. “In addition to his regular responsibilities and duties, Jerrod has gone above and beyond during his teaching here and will remain an integral part of our community. He will continue to inspire young people through his compassion, work ethic and commitment,” she says. After completing another six weeks of student teaching at A&M Consolidated High School, Jerrod will begin a master’s program in sport management. He will continue to lead the Texas A&M football team during his final year as starting quarterback for the Aggies. Based upon his performance both on and off the field, it seems as though Jerrod has found his calling as a standout football player and successful teacher. “Education is about delivering and communicating a message in the best way in order to get a positive response from your students,” Jerrod says. “And football has put me in a great position to do just that — to positively impact the lives of students both inside and outside the classroom.”

Pictured left: As a second-generation coach and teacher, Jerrod Johnson knows the importance of education and aspires to link his successes on the field to his successes in the classroom.


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Lights, Camera, Action Education student finds niche in video production Matt Johnson ’09 knows why he’s an Aggie, and now, because of a university video contest, the rest of the world does too. In February 2009, the technology management major won first place in the Why I’m An Aggie video contest, sponsored by Texas A&M University Marketing and Communications and Flip Video. For many, the video captured what it means to be an Aggie. “My friends think it is my best work so far, and it reflects my passion for video and my love for Texas A&M,” Matt says. When Matt found out about the contest, he had only two weeks to write, film and edit his entry. He recruited friends, acquaintances and even his father to help shoot the scenes that he envisioned to tell his story. “When I heard about the university’s contest, I thought I could win,” Matt says. “What I didn’t imagine was the number of freelance video projects that would come my way as a result of winning the contest.” Matt’s early sparks of creativity were ignited by his art teacher at New Braunfels Christian Academy. “Mrs. Ferguson really inspired me,” he says. “She gave me free reign with a lot of my art projects and simply let me create what I wanted. I loved that!”

Although filming, editing and producing videos is outside the direct focus of his undergraduate major, Matt says the knowledge obtained through his degree program has helped him develop his skills in video production. “Technology management gave me a strong foundation from which to pursue a career in film. Through my project management course, I learned how to take a project and run with it, from the inception of an idea through the business aspect of the project,” Matt says. “My education at Texas A&M has been invaluable to me as I prepare for the next phase of my education.” Shortly after winning the university video contest, Matt began production on a number of freelance videos for several Texas A&M entities, including Dining Services, Fish Camp and the College of Education and Human Development. “Before the contest, I was filming my own projects and then, all of a sudden, I had several organizations wanting me to create videos for them,” Matt says. “It has been a lot of fun and helped me land an internship with Texas A&M Marketing and Communications.” In addition to his film projects and internship, Matt is a YouTube Partner. He has about 180 videos on YouTube, which are viewed about 10,000 times a

Matt’s degree in technology management complimented his passion for a career in film.

day. Since his first video upload in 2006, his YouTube videos have received over 2.5 million hits. After completing his internship and graduating in May, Matt says the possibilities are endless. “I may go to film school or look for a position that would allow me to shoot, edit and produce videos,” he says. “My passion is film, and I’d like to keep doing what I love.”

Technology management gave me a strong foundation from which to pursue a career in film. Through my project management course, I learned how to take a project and run with it, from the inception of an idea through the business aspect of the project. – MATT JOHNSON Pictured left: Usually behind the camera, Matt Johnson’s career in video production began as a hobby and blossomed after winning the Why I’m an Aggie video contest.



Coaching Mom and Dad Former student teaches parents to better guide and relate to their children Parenting is a natural skill, says parent coach Kristy Dixon ’00, but good parenting is an acquired skill. “I believe that when a child is born, God gives parents the natural ability to love that child unconditionally, along with the natural desire to care for and nurture their child,” Kristy says. “Good parents make mistakes and learn from them. They acknowledge their faults and shortcomings within themselves and not in their kids.” Kristy, who earned a bachelor’s degree in middle grades English literature and a master’s in educational psychology from Texas A&M University, came to parent coaching through an odd twist of fate. Out of concern for her then 1-year-old daughter, she had reluctantly left a half-time position as a school counselor after the job became full-time. “I remembered hearing about how Brittany Spears was assigned a parent coach by the courts to help her as she went through a custody battle,” Kristy says. “I was curious about parent coaching, so I searched online and found The Academy for Coaching Parents Institute.” Soon after, Kristy enrolled in certification courses to become a parent coach. She completed her training just before delivering her second child. “When I was a school counselor, I would find myself naturally coaching parents when I met with them to

discuss their child’s progress. I wanted to be the one guiding parents to discover what their child’s needs were and how they could better communicate with their children,” she says. As a parent coach, Kristy helps parents set realistic and attainable parenting goals, while addressing different personal and parenting styles in the home and assessing how to get those personalities to fit together. She runs her own home-based business — Pure Parenting — in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, where she counsels parents by phone and in person. Kristy sees parents who make many common mistakes, such as trying to be their child’s best friend. “Parents today don’t demand respect from their children for fear of not being liked by their kids. Kids have plenty of friends, but they look to their parents for guidance, consistency, predictability, limits, unconditional love and reassurance — much more than a friend could ever offer,” Kristy says. “Another big mistake parents make is not connecting and playing with their kids. Instead of relating with their kids, parents connect with them via the Internet or texting,” she adds. Kristy enjoys helping parents overcome mistakes like these to build better relationships with their children.

As a parent coach, Kristy teaches other parents that children look to them for guidance, rules and unconditional love.

“It’s rewarding for me when parents have that moment when they realize they need to change their behavior or when they tell me I saved their marriage or when I helped them learn to remain calm when their child is having a tantrum,” she says. “I get so much joy out of knowing that I help parents come to the reality that they need to change what they model for their children as opposed to forcing their children to change.”

Pictured left: Kristy Dixon applies what she learned as a master’s student in educational psychology to raise her own kids and coach other parents through the sometimes challenging moments of parenthood.


Outstanding in Their Fields Ed Davis ’67, ’73, ’80

College recognizes 2009 Outstanding Alumni Five Outstanding Alumni were honored at the 2009 College Awards Celebration. They were Ed Davis ’67, ’73, ’80, Celia Ross Goode-Haddock ’72, Gertrude B. Henry ’95, Deanna “Dee” Yates ’91 and Jo Ann Bludau ’94, who was the early career recipient.

Celia Ross Goode-Haddock ’72

Gertrude B. Henry ’95

Ed Davis has worked to improve Texas A&M University through a variety of increasingly responsible positions. Ed has held every key financial position, including chief financial officer at the university and chief operating officer at the Texas A&M University System. As president of the Texas A&M Foundation, he leads the fundraising effort that supports academic excellence at Texas A&M. Ed earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from Texas A&M. Celia Ross Goode-Haddock went from being employed at University Title Company to purchasing the company in 1984. With her guidance, the company has grown from a three-person office to a thriving business of over 50 people and now closes more than half of all real estate transactions in Brazos County. Celia earned her bachelor’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M in 1972.

Gertrude B. Henry is an associate professor of education at Hampton University, where she teaches, advises and supervises education majors. Her teaching experiences include 14 years in public schools in Texas and Virginia and more than 20 years teaching both graduate and undergraduate education courses at Hampton University. In 1995, Gertrude received her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M. Deanna “Dee” Yates taught for more than 15 years in both public and private schools. In 2002, she helped establish a post-doctoral certification program in psychopharmacology for licensed psychologists at Texas A&M. She also is a member of the college’s Dean’s Advisory Council. Dee received her doctorate in counseling psychology from Texas A&M in 1991. Jo Ann Bludau has been a Texas educator for 15 years, serving as a teacher and administrator in Austin ISD for five years, principal/superintendent of Sweet Home ISD for eight years and superintendent of Hallettsville ISD for the past two years. Jo Ann earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Texas A&M in 1994 and her doctorate in educational administration in 2006.

Deanna “Dee” Yates ’91

Nominate a former student for 2010 Outstanding Alumni Awards

Jo Ann Bludau ’94

Exceptional Inspiration


Local principal inspires her students to dream big and achieve big “During high school, I didn’t think I was going to achieve anything,” says Chris Reyes ’09. “But Mrs. Richardson continually told me how valuable I was in life.” This past December, when Chris received his diploma in sociology from Texas A&M University, he got the opportunity to personally thank his former high school teacher, Christina Richardson ’04 , for her years of support. And Texas A&M thanked her too, awarding her the Texas A&M Inspiration Award for Exceptional Secondary Education, an honor for which Chris had nominated her. Christina first met Chris at Bryan High School in her Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) class, a course that supports students wanting to go to college but are unsure how to get there. Chris, then a high school sophomore, enrolled in Christina’s same class for the next three years.

chance to show you who they really are makes a big difference,” Christina says.

make your own along the way. You get to think about building your own perfect school.”

“I let my kids have a fresh start. It doesn’t matter where they’ve been; it matters where they’re going and how I can help them get there,” she adds.

Bryan Collegiate High School welcomed its first students in 2007 and will graduate its first senior class in 2011.

After serving for several years as the AVID director for Bryan ISD, Christina won a grant in 2006 from the Texas Education Agency to create a college preparatory high school for the district. In her first year as a high school principal, she worked to create the Bryan Collegiate High School from the ground up.

Chris is now working for the Bryan Police Department and attending the academy to become an officer. He’s also considering federal law enforcement or diplomacy in a few years.

“It’s fun to build a school,” she says. “You’re not correcting someone else’s mistakes — instead, you

“I am just so incredibly proud of him,” Christina says. “He is one of my kids who has gone on to do wonderful things despite the hardships in his life. He had a goal, and he went for it — and he achieved it.”

“She made promises about helping me get through high school, applying to colleges and finding money to attend,” Chris says. “She followed through on these promises, accepted her duty as a teacher and not only shaped my educational success, but helped me become a better person.” Christina, who holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and in public school administration from Texas A&M, began teaching in 2001 at Bryan High School. She decided early on that she would approach her students with an open mind and heart. “They’re used to teachers — or any adult for that matter — stereotyping them based on the way they dress, talk or who are their friends. Giving kids a Bryan Collegiate High School Principal Christina Richardson was recognized by Texas A&M University for inspiring high school students to achieve their academic and personal goals.



Ties that Bind Sport management graduate uses business sense to create successful hockey company If Milton Bradley is to the world of board games what the Wright Brothers are to modern-day aviation, then the name Landon Alford ’07 will one day be synonymous with the sport of hockey. Landon’s love of hockey came from his mother, who was born and raised in Alaska. Although Landon, who considers himself to be a first and a half generation Aggie, grew up in Central Texas — an area with little snow or passion for ice sports — he always knew he wanted to stay close to home to attend Texas A&M University. “My grandfather went to Texas A&M for two years before transferring to the University of Houston,” he says. “He always regretted not finishing here.” Landon’s love of hockey and the ice continued during his time at Texas A&M. The relatively young Texas A&M Ice Hockey Team had been formed in 1999, and Landon was an active member, even serving as team captain for two years.

problem that all hockey players were having with their ice skates — the laces had a tendency to snap. “It takes five to 10 minutes to lace a pair of skates. When one breaks, the only thing you can do is relace it,” Landon says. “And if it happens right before a game, you’re running back to the pro shop to buy new laces. That wastes ice time, which is about $350 an hour.”

appreciative of the support he has been given, both as an undergraduate and a former student of sport management. “I don’t think I would be where I am today if I had not gone into sport management,” he says. And even though Landon may not live on the ice every day, he is making sure that for those who do, their ice skates are up to the challenge.

Landon’s experiences through his internship led him to partner with fellow Aggie and friend David Tudone, and after graduating, the two started their own business — Unbreakable Hockey. The company’s success lies in the use of a unique blend of nylon and Kevlar, a type of synthetic fiber, to form their laces. A metal end is used to cap the laces instead of a traditional plastic end. This helps to better stop expansion and fraying.

Many of Landon’s hockey teammates were students in the Department of Health and Kinesiology’s division of sport management, and after learning what the program had to offer, he knew it was the right path to help fulfill his lifetime dream of owning a sports company.

Even as a former student, Landon looked to the sport management program for help. When he was an undergraduate, Landon remembered taking a sport marketing class that required him to create a marketing plan for an actual sports company. Now, as a new business owner, he decided to enlist the help of a new class of Aggies. Landon asked Lydia Dubuisson, instructional assistant professor of sport management, for assistance, and she offered the use of her class.

“You learn more through the sport management internship program than you do in your first two years of college,” he says.

“He is a success story that I still talk about in my classes,” Lydia says. “He is an excellent representative of Texas A&M and sport management.”

And it was during his internship with a semiprofessional hockey team in Dallas that he first learned about a

Landon knows that running a successful business is time consuming and challenging at times, but he is

Landon’s passion for sports led him to create Unbreakable Hockey, which specializes in unique, durable laces for ice skates

Pictured left: At home on the ice, hockey player and businessman Landon Alford established Unbreakable Hockey using the principals he learned as a sport management major.


Thanks for Giving The College of Education and Human Development would like to thank the many donors recognized in these pages. The individuals, corporations and foundations listed below have given one or more gifts benefitting students, faculty or programs within the College of Education and Human Development through the Texas A&M Foundation. An asterisk denotes a planned gift as a portion of the total amount.

President’s Endowed Scholarships

General Rudder Corps Scholarship

Mora Waddell and James L. Boone Sr. ’21 Grace A. and Carroll W. Phillips ’54 Charles R. and Patricia Wiseman, Vince Wiseman and David Franklin

Susan and Bill Ouren Rick and Sue Rickman* Ellen and Rod Thornton Gary W. “Buddy” Williams Diane and Bob Winter

Foundation Excellence Awards

Endowed Opportunity Awards

George W. Brackenridge Foundation Joyce Ann and Col. Thomas M. Jackson Sue and Patrick Mahoney Karen and Steven Morris

Cheryl L. and Gregory G. Knape

Sul Ross Scholarships James L. Boone Mora Waddell Boone

Luann and Richard Dolan Mary Evelyn Dunn Hayes Estate Mildred F. and Carl Henninger ’49 Estate

Endowed and Planned Gifts ≥ $1,000,000

Houston Endowment, Inc. Sydney and J.L. Huffines Dorothy and Artie McFerrin Ed Rachal Foundation Joan and Thomas Read Ammon Underwood

$500,000 - $999,999

Claude H. Everett Jr. Estate* Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation Sue and Patrick Mahoney* Gary J. Martin*

$100,000 - $499,999

John W. Anderson Foundation Robert G. Cherry Estate* Kay and Jerry Cox Gina and William H. Flores W.L. Gerner Estate* Susan Gulig* Mary Evelyn Dunn Hayes Estate* Herman F. Heep and Minnie Belle Heep Foundation Carolyn and Tommie Lohman 28

Eddie and Joe Mattei Betty and David Smith/Wilda Smith Scott Trust Karen and Terry O. Smith* Omar Smith Estate/Omar Smith Enterprises, Inc.* Claudia and Rod Stepp* Sadie and William P. Stromberg* Deanna and Tom Yates Bob Winter

≤ $99,999

Barbara J. and Walter E. Anderson Mary Barnhill Estate James L. Boone Mora Waddell Boone Geraldine Longbotham Bowers Janie and Ralph Bowler* George W. Brackenridge Foundation Beth and Sherman Bradley Lynda M. Brown Michelle Thornberry Bunch Capital City A&M Club

Todd Christopher Class of ’66 Michele and Tom Davis* Gogi and John Dickson James K. Dougherty Jr. Foundation Dow Aggies Louis C. Draper* Sally and Ralph C. Duchin Juanita B. Felder Sylvia and Raul Fernandez* Janie H. and Gordon R. Flack Donna and Donald Foster* Suzan E. and Steve R. Furney W.L. Gerner* Mary Ann and Gordon F. Gibson Don Hinton Thomas Hogan Alma Dell and Robert M. Johnson Kyle Kepple Patsy and Warren Kirksey Erin and Jim Kracht* Arno W. Krebs

Joan C. and M. Allen Landry Mary Jo and Billy Lay Jack and Elisabeth Longbotham Harry Lucas Andrea “Sissy” and John R. McKenna Nancy and Brock A. Nelson* Susan and William Ouren Carol and M. Michael Park Grace and Carroll Phillips Marlene and Robert Powell* Sue and Rick Rickman III* William B. Roman Jr. Suzy and Arnold Romberg Langston Terry Janice and John Thomas Nancy and Fred Thornberry Robert L. Walker Molly Thornberry Whisenant Patricia and Charles Wiseman Janeen Holland Wood* Zachry Construction/The Zachry Foundation Michael Zerbel

The Story Behind Memorial and Honor Gifts The stories behind memorial and honor gifts are as unique as the individuals who give them. But the two characteristics these types of gifts have in common are that they recognize someone who has made a difference in the lives of others and that each gift matters. Sharon and Cecil Kirksey made a contribution to the Spencer Patton Squire Memorial Scholarship in honor of their sister-in-law, Patsy Kirksey. Six-year old Spencer was an avid athlete who loved his teammates and coaches. He had a passion for the Boston Red Sox and Texas A&M University athletics. Spencer’s family established the scholarship in celebration of his life. His grandmother, Patsy, is an advocate for education and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council in the College of Education and Human Development. A brick installed near the Shaping the Future Sculpture was given in memory of Alma and Floyd Maxwell, parents of a College of Education and Human Development staff member. Alma was a nurse whose career spanned nearly 30 years while Floyd was a fundraiser whose work benefited various health and educational organizations. Funds generated from this memorial brick helped to provide scholarships for education students, while the brick serves as a tangible reminder of beloved parents. Lieutenant Colonel Louis C. Draper established an endowed scholarship in the College of Education and Human Development to honor Dr. Phillip Limbacher. Philip, an emeriti faculty member in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, began teaching at Texas A&M in 1969 and retired in 1985. He served as director of the Office of International Coordination, associate dean and as acting dean of the college in 1979. Louis funded this scholarship in recognition of Philip’s service as acting dean of the college. These are just a few of the stories behind recent memorial and honor gifts that serve the dual purpose of recognizing special individuals while supporting education. Though the stories and the gifts vary, every contribution to the College of Education and Human Development makes a difference. At the donor’s request, memorial and honor gifts will be acknowledged through a letter to the honoree or the family of the person for whom the gift was given. By supporting scholarships, faculty excellence, and programs and facilities, these gifts are meaningful ways to express regard for family and friends. Just think, the story behind the next memorial or honor gift may be yours to tell.

An engraved brick in Education Plaza serves as a memorial to Alma and Floyd Maxwell while helping to fund scholarships for education students.

For more information, contact: Diane L. Oswald Director of College Relations College of Education and Human Development 802 Harrington Tower 4222 TAMU College Station, Texas 77843 - 4222 Telephone 979-845-5355 Fax 979-845-6129 29

She has the mind. She has the spirit. Let’s make sure she has the opportunity.

Operation Spirit and Mind. The rising cost of college stands in the way of many exceptional students who want to attend Texas A&M. Some of these students are recruited by top universities eager to sponsor their potential. With a goal of $300 million, Operation Spirit and Mind will bring excellent, deserving student scholars to Texas A&M. You can support pure academic merit, talent-in-need, leadership or global study scholarships or prestigious graduate fellowships. Operation Spirit and Mind is in motion. Be part of its success. Let your generous Aggie spirit lift brilliant Aggie minds.

The Texas A&M Scholarship Initiative. Contact Steve Blomstedt ’83, Director of Development College of Education and Human Development 979-847-8655 or

Nominations College of Education & Human Development

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Outstanding Alumni Awards Annually, the College of Education and Human Development recognizes former students who have distinguished themselves in their professions. Nominations for the 2010 Outstanding Alumni Awards will be accepted until April 5, 2010, with awards being presented at the College Awards Celebration to be held on Friday, November 12, 2010, at the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Presidential Conference Center. For information on how to nominate someone for the college’s Outstanding Alumni Award, please visit our Web site at articles/outstanding_alumni or contact Diane Oswald at 979-845-5355 or 2010 Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Education and Human Development Karen Brown Lynda Brown Karen Collins Kay Cox Michele & Tom Davis Kathy Denton Gogi & John Dickson Jim Drew Jerry Easterly Barbara Erwin Gina Flores Anne Holubec Diane Jackson Jean Johnson Ron Kelley Patsy Kirksey Arno Krebs Gaye Lang

Sue Ann Lockard Carolyn & Tommie Lohman Sue & Patrick Mahoney Lynn Martin Eddie Mattei Dorothy McFerrin Doug McIntyre Karen Morris Rick Rickman Claire Selman Betty & David Smith Donna Stauber Claudia Stepp Betty Thompson Ellen & Rod Thornton John Trott Bob Winter Dee & Tom Yates

4222 TAMU College Station, TX 77843-4222

2010 Transforming Lives  

Transforming Lives highlights the impact that current and former students in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M Uni...

2010 Transforming Lives  

Transforming Lives highlights the impact that current and former students in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M Uni...