Guilford Technical Community College Faculty, Staff Members Honored During Annual Convocation Ceremony

Published on: August 30, 2021
Dr. Anthony Clarke at the 2021 GTCC Convocation.

JAMESTOWN, N.C. (August 30, 2021) – Several Guilford Technical Community College faculty and staff members were honored at the recent Convocation held at the college.

Excellence in Teaching Awards, the President’s Awards and the Gladys S. Sears Endowed Teaching Chair were presented during the assembly.

Five Excellence in Teaching Awards were announced during the convocation honoring faculty members who went above and beyond during 2020-2021.

Those winners included Linda Johnson, program director of the Early Childhood Education Program, L.J. Rush, instructor, Culinary & Hospitality Management, Astrid Todd, instructor, Information Systems Security, Kristen Sipe, Early Childhood Education adjunct, and Dan Hanna, forklift operator instructor, occupational training.

  • Johnson, a GTCC faculty member for 11 years, successfully led the Early Childhood Education program through a reaccreditation visit by the group’s national organization. Her task was made especially difficult because of Covid-19. She has also been instrumental in working across divisions to implement the first state-approved transfer program for students wanting to major in education and transfer to a four-year institution.


  • Rush, a nationally respected culinarian, oversaw a two-year process to upgrade vital equipment within the culinary technology department to meet county standards to deliver necessary learning objectives to students. He also stepped-up numerous times during his more than 20-year-career at GTCC to handle the entire academic program within the department when there was no program director in place.


  • Todd led a seamless restructuring of their department’s classes from hands on, face-to-face to virtual classes while maintaining a high-level of student interaction. She consistently went the extra mile to help students by scheduling extra office hours, opening the computer lab extra hours, providing internship and parttime work opportunities, and discussing current events and new industry trends during class.


  • Sipe worked diligently to meet the needs of students, keeping them actively engaged in online and traditional classroom settings, referring students to campus services, and providing individual tutoring sessions to ensure student success. She also represented herself, the program, and the college in an admirable way as a participant in the Faculty in Training program.


  • Hanna consistently drew praise from students and peers for his innovative ways of using a mixture of textbook, engaging lectures, videos, and hands-on experience to teach an essential skill in today’s workforce and industry. He finds a way to treat every class, weekday or weekend, like it is his first and always attends to the needs of every student.

GTCC President Dr. Anthony Clarke presented eight President’s Awards for Outstanding Service-Innovation during the recent convocation.

The President’s Award recognizes GTCC employees that have shown exemplary performance in several areas including innovation and creativity, expertise and professional development, leadership, professionalism, and dedication.

The winners of the 2020-2021 President’s Awards were: Angela Carter, assistant vice president, business and finance and controller, Kristin Dotson, director, institutional support, and special projects, Debbie Fondow, director of instructional support service and special projects, Nell Miller, senior human resources, Ron Morris, instructor, automotive systems technology, Patricia Drummond, assistant professor of visual art, Berri Cross, director of student life, and Sybil Newman, Titan Link Coordinator.

  • While working to replace a senior accountant who retired, Carter racked up countless 40-plus hour weeks in 2020-2021 while keeping her department on course, searching for a new senior accountant and assisting with the transition and training of new senior leadership. She assisted Clarke with budget proposals for 2021-2022 while working to train two new vice presidents and two relatively new associate vice presidents as well as training the recently hired senior accountant.


  • Over the past year Dotson coordinated continuity of business for her areas of responsibility during the global pandemic, stay-at-home orders, and mandatory precautions. She worked with the finance and financial aid staff to analyze options for spending millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds. She also worked with curriculum staff to ensure successful transfer of the schedule for summer 2020 all online. She served as a liaison between business and finance areas and ITS to help prioritize needs and expedite recovery efforts following the 2020 cyber incident.


  • Fondow was key to the college’s continued ability to provide quality instruction and services to GTCC students during the Covid-19 pandemic and recovery from the cyber-attack. With great diligence, she figured a way to get class schedules totally rebuilt after the shutdown. She also was a key component to determining how CTE courses return to an in-person model as soon as possible.


  • Because practically all of the human resource department’s work revolves around working with electronic files, the cyber-attack hit the department especially hard. But with Miller’s leadership and resourcefulness, the department was able to soldier on. She was able to identify business continuity process that involved finding alternative sources of data to keep core functions moving along.


  • Morris led the Automotive Systems Technology Program through the extensive and complicated Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) recertification during the past year. He also assisted with recent student certification testing through ASE. Also, during the past school year Morris took the lead in working with and preparing automotive students for SkillsUSA competition. When the pandemic hit last year, he established online learning for all students in all classes within the department.


  • Drummond took charge of the newly adopted AFA Visual Art degree program and worked diligently to expand ART courses offered from seven to 23 and hiring more fulltime faculty based on enrollment. She also made sure students stayed on track to graduate and transfer successfully to partner universities.


  • As student life director, Cross managed to ensure events were organized and executed in safe and interactive ways despite of Covid. She organized the selection of the GTCC SGA members as well as student ambassador members. She also was able to safely and successful plan and oversee both the 2020 and 2021 commencement exercises.


  • As the leader of Titan Link, Newman was faced with many challenges during the pandemic and rose to the occasion each time. She quickly realized that the move to online classes would have a negative impact to GTCC’s most vulnerable students who didn’t have access to needed technology. Working with the college foundation and ITS, she secured Chomebooks, laptops, and hotspots for students. She also developed lists of community resources for students, faculty, and staff. She has kept GTCC first in the state for disbursement of Finish Line Grants, which help students who are close to completion overcome any unforeseen financial obstacles that may prevent them from graduating.

Patricia Drummond, a visual arts instructor in the Creative and Performing Arts Department, was awarded the Gladys S. Sears Endowed Teaching Chair, which is presented annually to a member of the Business, Creative and Performing Arts Division to encourage the development and use of innovative technology or instructional practices.

Drummond will create and facilitate a Cultivating Creativity and Community Workshop Series during the 2021-2022 school year The series will be a collaboration between GTCC faculty, students and visual arts alumni.

Drummond aims to build a program which allows professional development to spread through the visual arts faculty, students, and alumni, while strengthening the existing bonds and building new connections within and outside of GTCC.

About Guilford Technical Community College: Guilford Technical Community College is the fourth largest of 58 institutions in the North Carolina Community College System. GTCC serves nearly 28,000 students annually from five campuses and a Small Business Center. Learn more at





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