Alumni & Student News

We love to hear from you and learn of your recent ventures in education -- [[wmeppl,send us an email to keep us posted]]!

New Positions, Promotions, and Recognition

Virginia M. Ambler, '88. Ph.D. '06, has been named Vice President of Student Affairs at the College of William and Mary.

Ronald E. Atkinson, Jr., M.Ed. 1995, serves as assistant principal at Robious Middle School (student population: 1200) in Chesterfield County. Atkinson is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program at VCU. He has completed all coursework and is currently working on his dissertation (working title is “Instructional Leadership and the Secondary Assistant Principal”).

Elissa Brown, Ph.D. 2001, who served as Director of the Center for Gifted Education from 2002-2007 was recently promoted to the position of Middle/High Council Director for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, where she works on initiating state reforms efforts that affect all middle and high schools across the state. Currently, she is working on a collaborative effort between the NC Community College System, NCDPI, and SAS (an international leader in business analytics software) to create a statewide framework for drop-out prevention and drop-out recovery. While there are many schools and school divisions implementing various drop-out programs, there is not a coherent, systemic statewide model. North Carolina hopes to pilot this new model beginning the 2009-2010 academic year.

John Butt, MEd ’08, is the Coordinator for Student Organization Development at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Shannon Chance, LEED AP certification, Accredited Professional in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

Seth Finck, MEd ’08, began his new job as “Shaper of Youth” at Drexel University in February 2009.

Jennifer E. Hayes, M.Ed. ’2004, is the Executive Officer, Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management/Program Manager, Executive Master in Science Communications at the Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Switzerland.

Kimberly Holmes, May ’09 MEd, will be attending the University of Maryland College Park in the fall to pursue a PhD in Education Policy, Higher Education and International Education (EDHI).

Amy McDermaid Hughes, M.Ed. ‘03, is now a Senior Recruiter/Research Associate for national and state-level school-based studies in K-12 education for ICF Macro.

Patrick Kellog, M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration 1992, reports that after 15 years in higher education fundraising (including eight at William and Mary and two as the Director of Development for the SOE) he founded his own nonprofit fundraising consulting firm in Williamsburg.  PDK Fundraising has recently opened a new office in Newtown: 4805 Courthouse Road, Ste # 202, Williamsburg, Virginia 23188,, 1-866-828-1156, 757-259-2030 (TEL), 757-870-8106 (CELL).

Veronica A. Kouassi is the Assistant Director of Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology in Petersburg.  She began her position August, 2006.  She received her Administration and Gifted Education certifications from W&M in 2006.

Amy Greenough Lane, Phd ’03, is the Interim Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations
University Advancement at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Mandy Fordham Leensvaart has been named Principal of Saddle Ranch Elementary in Denver, Colorado.

Chip Phillips, doctoral candidate, became an Assistant Dean of Students at UNC-Wilmington in January 2009.

Patricia Moore Shaffer, a current EPPL/K-12 Administration student, joined the staff of the Educational Policy Institute in July 2008 and was promoted to the position of Vice President, Research & Development, in October. Her current research projects include the development of an evaluation framework for the Teaching with Primary Sources teacher professional development program at the Library of Congress. Shaffer is serving as co-investigator on a study of current practices and challenges in evaluating teacher professional development initiatives in school districts in the State of Alabama. This study is funded by the U.S. Department of Education through the Regional Educational Laboratory – Southeast at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

Martha Smith Sharpe, EdD, was promoted to Vice Provost for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, Old Dominion University; Marty also serves as the Public Member of Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Health Information Management and as the Chair of the Quality Improvement committee.

Pamela D. Tucker, Ed.D '97 and Ed.S. '96, received the UVA Curry School of Education Faculty of the Year Award for her "remarkable dedication to both teaching and leadership". Tucker presently teaches four of the school's 10 core certification courses required by the state of Virginia for aspiring principals.

Chris Turpin, doctoral candidate, was promoted to Vice-President of Human Resources at the Virginia Eye Institute, Richmond as of January 2009.

Kat Wiseman, MEd ’09, has just started her new position as Assistant Director of Development for the School of Communications and Theater, Temple University.

Lisa Jo Vernon-Dotson, Ph.D, received the 2009 Creative Teaching Award from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. The award is one of the highest honors that can be received for teaching at Duquesne, voted on by peers across the campus, to recognize faculty members who have implemented innovative ways of teaching and have assessed the impact on student learning. Vernon-Dotson received the award in recognition of her Behavior Disorders course and her dedication to the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Publications and Presentations

Ronald E. Atkinson, Jr., M.Ed. 1995, recently published a scholarly paper entitled “Equity or Adequacy? The Answer Is Unclear, but Technology May Help Bridge the Gap” in the 2007 Yearbook, released in October 2008, of the South Atlantic Philosophy of Education Society. Additionally, this past October Atkinson was invited to present at the 2008 Annual Conference of the South Atlantic Philosophy of Education Society that was held in Blacksburg, VA. His paper was entitled “The Effects of Cyberbullying on Society: The Dark Side of Building Bridges with Technology.” Further, he was selected to serve on the program committee for the 2009 conference that will be held at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Ben Bolger

  • Antecedents and Aspirations, Commencement Address at Muskegon Community College in Muskegon, Michigan, May, 2009. 

Shannon Chance

  • (2009). Proposal for using a studio formant to enhance institutional advancement. International Journal of Educational Advancement. Palgrave MacMillan.
  • (2009) Iterative approaches to planning and strategizing: Learning from the architectural studio model. The value of design:  Design is at the core of what we teach and practice. Washington DC: Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.
  • Chance, S., & Williams, B. (2009). Assessing university strategic plans: A tool for consideration. Educational Planning: The Journal of the International Society for Educational Planning, (18) 1.
  • Holistic approaches to sustainability: Promoting health through design, presented at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture’s first annual sustainability conference, “Sustainability and the Environment: The Original Green.”

Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D. '05, has co-written a book (with Diego Patino) titled Cycle Snatcher: The Case of the Missing Bicycle which will be published by Prufrock Press in 2010.

Brian Peters

  • Franz, N., Garst, B., Baughman, S., Smith, C., & Peters, B. (forthcoming) “Catalyzing transformation: Conditions in Extension educational environments that promote change.” Journal of Extension (
  • Garst, B., Franz, N., Baughman, S., Smith, C., & Peters, B. (2009). “Growing Without Limitations: Transformation Among Young Adult Camp Staff.” Journal of Youth Development, 4 (1) Article 0401FA002.

Drew Stelljes, PhD ‘07

  • (2008). Service-learning and community engagement: Cognitive developmental long-term social concern. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press.

Cristin Toutsi, MEd ‘08

  • Toutsi, C. & Novak, R. (2009). Public institution and university system financial conditions survey. Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.

And a group effort:

  • Fisler, J., Alexander Agati, H., Chance, S., Donahue, A., Donahue, G., Eickhoff, E., Gastler, S., Lowder, J. & Foubert, J. (in press). Keeping (or Losing) the Faith: Reflections on Spiritual Struggles and Their Resolutions by College Seniors. College Student Affairs Journal, 27(2).

Engagements, Weddings, and Babies

Beth Blanks, MEd ‘96 and Chris West welcomed their new baby boy, Jackson Charles Blanks West, into their Kettering, OH home in October. Beth works part-time for the Dean's Office, College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Dayton and Chris is assigned to Wright Air Force Base.

Mary Fletcher, MEd ’06 is engaged to be married to Christoph Rothmayr in the spring of 2010.  Mary is a coordinator for an international Master's Program at the Technische Universität München (Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany).

Kat Wiseman, MEd ’09 and Matthew Stachel ('03 W&M; '09 UVA J.D. married on March 1st at the Wren Chapel.