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Six Blinn educators recognized with coveted excellence award

NISOD Excellence Award recognizes educators for outstanding teaching and leadership

March 24, 2016

Six Blinn College educators were recently honored with the 2016 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award in recognition of their dedication to student success.

Elaine Abshire, dual credit programs coordinator; Tasha Burleson-Estrada, speech professor; Sally Olson, math professor; Kevin Patrick, drama professor; Edith Pequeno, academic advisor; and Dana Wood, dental hygiene professor, will be recognized in May at the annual NISOD conference in Austin.

Created in 1978, NISOD is a consortium of community and technical colleges that share a philosophical commitment to support excellence in teaching, learning and leadership. NISOD member institutions receive weekly professional development materials and are eligible to nominate outstanding faculty, staff and administrators for the annual Excellence Awards program.

Recipients were nominated by the heads of their divisions based on their character and integrity, effectiveness as instructors, involvement in student organizations and activities, service to Blinn College and participation in professional organizations and professional development activities.

Abshire has been with Blinn since 2002, when she was hired as a grant accountant. After more than two years in that role, she was named manager of Enrollment Services in August 2004. In 2013, she was named dual credit programs coordinator. Abshire earned her B.B.A. in accounting from Texas State University.

Burleson-Estrada has been teaching since 1994, when she began her career as a lecturer in speech and communication at Sul Ross State University. She has been with Blinn since 2003, serving on the convocation, fine arts lecture, Lifelong Learning and TedxBlinn College committees, the Curriculum Resource Team and as a Service Learning Program assistant. A Fall 2015 graduate of Blinn’s FutureWorks Academy, she earned her bachelor and master’s degrees in speech/communication and history at Sul Ross State.

Olson has been a mathematics instructor at Blinn since 2006. Prior to joining Blinn, she worked at Bryan and Arlington Lamar high schools. She is a member of the Mathematical Association of America and the Texas Community College Teachers Association. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and her Master of Education in teaching at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Patrick oversees the technical needs for five College theatre productions, as well as all meetings and events held in the Dr. W. W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center, each year. He programs, negotiates and coordinates with agents and artists for the Performing Arts Series at the O’Donnell. A sponsor for the U.S. Institute of Technical Theatre and on the board for the USITT Southwest Region Section organization, Delta Psi Omega and The Wesley Foundation, and a member of several Texas Educational Theatre Association committees, Patrick organizes and oversees the technical aspects for several community organizations, including Brenham Children’s Chorus, Brenham Broadway Kids and First United Methodist Church.

Pequeno came to Blinn as a Spanish instructor in 2009, and has served as an academic advisor since 2010. She is a member of the Texas Academic Advising Network and the Texas Library Association, and started the First Generation College Student Organization in 2014. Pequeno holds a bachelor’s degree from Dallas Baptist University, an M.S. in library science from the University of North Texas and an M.A. in Spanish from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Wood came to Blinn as a dental hygiene instructor in 1997 after 14 years of clinical experience. A member of the Texas Dental Hygiene Association, the American Dental Hygiene Association and the Texas Dental Hygiene Educators Association, Wood earned her Associate of Applied Science in dental hygiene from Bee County College and her Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary technology from Texas A&M University. She is both state and nationally certified as a dental hygienist.