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2016-2017 College of Education Distinguished Alumni Awards honor 10 for their achievements

  |   Kathryn Kao   |   Permalink   |   Alumni,   Kudos,   Schools and Administrators,   Service and Community,   Spotlight

Athens, Ga. – Ten graduates and a supporter of the University of Georgia's College of Education were recognized for their career achievements and community leadership at the College's 12th annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner held on March 31 at the UGA Hotel and Conference Center.

Congratulations to this year's award winners: Dionne Cross Francis, Philip Young, Cindy Quinlan, Sheila Kahrs, Ruth Langevin, Lois Shortt, Mary Marlino, Gale Nemec, Franklin Shumake and Stan Carpenter.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Honoring graduates of the College who are 40 or younger at the time of the nomination and have made outstanding contributions to the profession.

Dionne Cross Francis

Dr. Dionne Cross Francis works to inform the design and implementation of teacher professional development initiatives both nationally and internationally as an associate professor of mathematics education at Indiana University.

She is focused on investigating the relationships among psychological constructs and how they influence teachers' instructional decision-making when teaching mathematics. As the director of the university's Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration, Cross Francis serves as the principal investigator on several grants focused on career readiness for first generation, underrepresented students and improving instructional quality within Indiana schools.

Cross Francis, who earned her doctoral degree in educational psychology from the College of Education, is also focused on building partnerships with a range of organizations to expand educational opportunities for Indiana citizens and to help meet the needs of the state's expanding workforce. She has presented her work at numerous local, national, and international conferences and has published her work in top journals in the field, including Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Teacher College Record, and Teaching and Teacher Education.

Cross Francis believes that understanding the teacher-specific factors that motivate teacher actions as they plan and instruct is important for designing professional development that will lead to meaningful change. As a result, she has successfully designed and implemented multiple curricula to promote equitable mathematics instruction.

Philip Young

Philip Young was named the assistant director of sports medicine and head football athletic trainer at Kennesaw State University in 2014. In this position, he oversees the injury prevention, evaluation, and management of the Kennesaw State football program, as well as student-athlete injury rehabilitation.

Prior to serving at Kennesaw State, Young worked as the senior assistant athletic trainer for the University of Georgia's football team where he was in charge of daily operations including preventative care, treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries for student-athletes. During this time, he also maintained medical records and supervised graduate and undergraduate students.

In 2008, Young received a bachelor's degree in exercise and sports science and athletic training from the College of Education. As an undergraduate, Young served as a student athletic trainer, assisting with the university's baseball, football, and track and field programs. He also spent the summer of 2007 working as a training camp intern with the Atlanta Falcons.

While pursuing his master's degree, Young was a graduate assistant athletic trainer for two years at the University of Connecticut for the college's football, track and field, and golf teams. While there, he assisted with the development of surgical rehabilitation programs and was responsible for game and practice field supervision. Young currently resides in Acworth, Georgia, with his wife Jamie and daughter Jayden.

Outstanding Educator Award

Honoring individuals in K-12 or higher education who have made a significant impact on their students, school, school district, and beyond.

Cindy Quinlan

Cindy Quinlan is a marketing education teacher at Brookwood High School in Gwinnett County, where she teaches entrepreneurship and work-based learning. Her success with growing the marketing program over the last 13 years was recognized when she was named Brookwood High School Teacher of the Year in 2012. With this growth, her department added a second marketing teacher, which has allowed Quinlan to focus on her true passion—entrepreneurship education.

With this opportunity, she developed Brookwood High School's Integrated Entrepreneurship Program, which has quickly become a model for teaching career and technical education. In this three-year program, students are required to launch a real business, while simultaneously earning their core language arts credit. Through an entrepreneurship alliance with her local city, each student-business is provided with a specially issued business license, local mentorship, and a chance to earn investment capital by pitching their business to a judging panel. In the past four years, over 20 viable student-businesses were launched and nearly $10,000 of investment funding was awarded.

Quinlan, who earned both her master's and specialist's degree from the College of Education, also teaches for a non-profit organization called REAL LEDGE, whose mission is to advance and promote change to create economic development opportunities through entrepreneurship education. In 2015, she was selected to be a lead instructor for a weeklong institute in Honduras to build local entrepreneurship education opportunities for secondary and postsecondary teachers in a developing country.

To honor her contributions and success, Quinlan was recently awarded the Freedoms Foundation's Leavey Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education. Additionally, she was named the 2015-2016 Association of Career and Technical Education National Teacher of the Year for her creative transformation of the learning process.

Sheila Kahrs

Born and raised in New York, Sheila O'Shea Kahrs is the current associate director for the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals, an organization that improves education by supporting secondary education administrative leaders. Prior to earning her master's degree in music from Catholic University in Washington D.C., Kahrs served as the department chairperson and choral music teacher at a large high school on Long Island.

Soon afterwards, she was appointed assistant dean of students and director of music at St. John's University in New York and served until 1987. Later that year, she moved to Athens to pursue her doctorate degree in curriculum and supervision at the College of Education.

Kahrs understands the power of bringing the entire community together to engage in and appreciate the arts. From 1994 to 1996, Kahrs created a choral program in Oconee County and, with the help of the local community and Oconee County High School, she produced and directed the "The Messiah," at the Oconee County Civic Center.

In 1997, she was appointed assistant principal for instruction at Westside Middle School, a new middle school in Barrow County, and became the principal in 2000. Five years later, Kahrs was asked to open a new middle school in the same county. Under her leadership, Haymon-Morris Middle School was recognized as a National Breakthrough School by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

In 2009, she was named the State of Georgia Middle Level Principal of the Year, and a year later, was named the MetLife/NASSP National Middle Level Principal of the Year. In July 2010, Kahrs was honored by President Obama in the Oval Office for her service to the community as an educator and administrator.

Outstanding Service Award

Honoring individuals who demonstrate outstanding and continued dedication in service or philanthropy to the College of Education.

Ruth Langevin

Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, Ruth Langevin practiced as a registered nurse for 30 years, during which time she developed a passionate concern for serving the needs of people with mental health illnesses. While living in Maryland, Langevin was the president of the Lower Shore Mental Health Association and was later appointed by the governor to the Eastern Shore Hospital Advisory Board, where she advocated for more available services for individuals with mental health issues.

In 1962, her son, Chip, whom she fondly called her favorite son, was born. At five years of age, Chip was diagnosed with a cognitive impairment, and Langevin worked for his inclusion in mainstream classrooms throughout his educational career. As a result, Chip was able to thrive in school, and this pioneering perspective drew attention to the new practice's success.

When her husband retired in 1996, Langevin's family relocated to Greensboro, Georgia, where she was appointed by Governor Zell Miller and again by Governor Roy Barnes to the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities. During her tenure on the committee, public attention was drawn to failures in the system, as well as to the more than 13,000 citizens eligible for services that were not receiving them. After a statewide investigation over several years, numerous reforms were enacted.

Langevin started a college savings fund for Chip when he was born, and added to it little by little over many years, eventually earmarking it for his care after she was gone. When he died, she decided to perpetuate his legacy of joyful engagement with the world and his spirit of independence and dignity, by creating a scholarship in his name. Through decades of advocacy for those with mental health issues, combined with the advocacy for her son, Chip, Langevin has successfully benefited and enhanced the lives of people living with developmental disabilities.

Lois Shortt

Born in Alma, Georgia, Lois Shortt dedicated her life to educating young people, and her passion for service has touched the lives of countless individuals over the years. She served as a pillar of her local community and continued to stay involved with the school system after retiring as a teacher.

In 1946, Shortt received a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Georgia as well as a minor in physical education from the College of Education. During her time at UGA, she was a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, the Women's Athletic Association, and the Red & Black. After graduation, Shortt spent a year teaching English and science at Bacon County High School before moving to Habersham County where she was actively involved in the literacy program.

In 1947, she married Bill Shortt, and together, they traveled the world over a span of 45 years, visiting every continent and 87 countries. Even after retiring as a teacher, Shortt continued to serve her community as a Girl Scout leader, teaching her troop how to be effective leaders, while also teaching a free, senior citizens' exercise class through her church. Additionally, she resumed her role as a mentor through the school system by assisting a different student every year, assisting them with their reading and writing skills.

Shortt was an avid bridge player and played twice a week before passing away last fall, leaving behind a legacy of selfless service and support. She and Bill established a fellowship fund in the College of Education's Department of Kinesiology that will continue to help up to five graduate students each year conduct vital research in the field of kinesiology.

Professional Achievement Award

Honoring individuals in the mid-point of their career who have demonstrated significant achievements in their field.

Mary Marlino

For the past 20 years, Dr. Mary Marlino has been involved in developing community-based educational digital libraries for science education. She is the director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research Library in Boulder, Colorado, and is a strong advocate for open access and new forms of scholarly communication. Under her leadership, NCAR became the first federally funded research and development center to pass an open access mandate. Marlino also initiated a planning process that ensured the library's new services fit the needs of engaged members of the broader NCAR community.

After earning a master's degree in communications from Cornell University, Marlino matriculated into the first doctoral class in educational technology at the College of Education. As a graduate student, she interned for the Association for Educational Communications & Technology and worked closely with dedicated faculty members. Marlino also worked on several projects with Apple, IBM, and the U.S. military, focusing primarily on computer-based education, interactive videodiscs, and CD-ROM technology for teaching and learning.

After graduating from UGA in 1989, Marlino became the first director of educational technology at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. After several years, she became the first female civilian faculty member, teaching English to freshman cadets. While at the Academy, Marlino became actively involved in community service and led the development of the first "classroom of the future," which received national recognition for educational multimedia development efforts.

The Academy is also where she met her husband, Greg Young, and she would later become a stepmother to his two children. One of Marlino's proudest moments is hooding both her husband and daughter at graduation in the same year.

Gale Nemec

Born in Florida, Gale Nemec's divergent interests have propelled her into multiple professional roles—including an award-winning actor and voice talent, author, producer, singer, artist, and teacher. After earning her master's degree in elementary and gifted education from the College of Education, where she was a graduate assistant and a member of Delta Gamma, Nemec began her career in Georgia before moving to Maryland to teach in self-contained classrooms and co-create the state's first gifted program. She would later bring the skills she learned and the experiences she gained as a teacher to her professional life in the entertainment industry.

As CEO of Nemec Productions LLC, Nemec executive-produced and hosted the first national television series about pet care, wildlife, and the environment, which aired on PBS and cable television. She also produced a music CD highlighting musicians from the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

Combining her love of history with her acting, singing, producing, and writing skills, Nemec gathered a talented team to create The Bea & the Bug!, an interactive, multimedia live production focused on American history. This musical show, for which Nemec wrote and produced the title song, along with several other of the show's songs, has been enjoyed by thousands of people.

Additionally, Gale wrote Living with Cats, published by William Morrow, and has written and illustrated several children, holiday and Christian books, all with an educational theme.

Today, Nemec produces international and national Radio Media Tours, television and radio series, commercials, and is working on a feature film and two documentaries. In serving her community, Nemec uses her educational and acting skills to teach pre-K Sunday school, choir, and acting. She also volunteers for the GI Film Festival and other organizations.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Honoring those who hold a distinction in their field and have demonstrated outstanding success in their work. The recipient must be a recognized leader and have made a significant impact in the education community.

Franklin Shumake

Born in the small village where both his parents worked on a cotton mill in Jefferson, Georgia, Franklin Shumake's passion for education and public service has benefited thousands of students across Georgia.

After earning all three of his degrees in education from the University of Georgia, Shumake began his career as a school counselor at Southeast DeKalb High School. To further pursue his passion in education, he became the director of admissions at DeKalb College, now Perimeter College, in Alpharetta. Afterwards, Shumake served as the director of counseling for Fulton County Schools and then the state director of pupil services for the Georgia State Department of Education. Additionally, for 18 years, Shumake worked as the president of Tallulah Falls School, a private school funded by the Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs.

In his next role as deputy state superintendent of schools for Georgia, Shumake visited every county and almost every school in the state, meeting with teachers and administrators for a first-hand look at their unique challenges. After this position, he served as associate school superintendent in Green County, interim school superintendent in Oconee County, a professor of education at Piedmont College, and at the end of his professional career, a professor of education at Gainesville State College.

While at Piedmont College, Shumake devised and implemented a program that brought graduate level courses directly to local educators, allowing more teachers to earn graduate degrees. This program was widely replicated in school systems throughout North Georgia. In addition to his public service in education and the active role he played in his church, Shumake served as a member of the Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Civitan, and Lions Club. His immediate family includes his wife, Hildred, three grown children, six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

Stan Carpenter

In his academic career, Stan Carpenter has advised and taught hundreds of graduate students, founded and revised the curriculum for two nationally known student affairs preparation programs, and authored or co-authored over 100 journal articles, book chapters, and professional reports. He served nearly 19 years as a professor of higher education administration and leadership at Texas A&M University, chairing 43 doctoral graduates, before moving to Texas State University to serve first as a department chair and then in his current position as dean of the College of Education.

A first generation college graduate, Carpenter received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 1979. His research and scholarship focuses on professionalism and professional development in the student affairs profession. His approach to this topic and early models were developed in part with his UGA mentor and College of Education professor, the late Dr. Ted Miller.

Carpenter has made several notable accomplishments in his career, including establishing a firm financial footing for the Association for the Study of Higher Education and founding the Faculty Fellows group for the National Association for Student Personnel Administration. As dean at Texas State, Carpenter has helped the College of Education achieve the missions of an emerging research university. Recently, the College and its faculty won a $15 million grant—the largest in Texas State University history—from NASA for creating an Educator Professional Development Collaborative among minority-serving institutions to help train STEM and pre-service teachers in culturally sensitive ways.

Carpenter is married to Dr. Linda Carpenter, assistant dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Texas-Austin. They have three children and five grandchildren.

© University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602