Six Blinn College District faculty and staff recognized with excellence awards

Recipients honored at NISOD’s International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence in Austin

June 28, 2019

Six Blinn College District faculty and staff members were presented with 2019 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Awards in recognition of their service to Blinn students.

English Professor Becky Almany, Blinn-Bryan Campus Library Director Janice Lapaglia, Speech Professor Tracy Sommerlatte Matthies, Social Sciences Division Operations Coordinator Dagmar Poteet, Psychology Instructor Roberta Sheffield, and Government Instructor Wade Shol recently received medallions to commemorate their achievements at a celebratory dinner during NIOSD’s International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence in Austin, Texas.

NISOD is a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges. First presented in 1989, NISOD’s Excellence Awards recognize educators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment and contribution to their students and colleagues.

“These individuals reflect Blinn’s commitment to its students and the communities it serves,” said Dr. Mary Hensley, Chancellor of the Blinn College District. “Their recognition showcases a passion for teaching excellence and a dedication to making Blinn one of the most highly regarded community colleges in the state.”

Departmental supervisors initiated nominations based on character and integrity, effectiveness as instructors, involvement in student organizations and activities, service to Blinn, and participation in professional organizations and professional development activities. Final recipient selections were made by Blinn’s Professional Development Funding Committee, which also supplied winners with an internal grant to attend the NISOD conference.

Blinn’s 2019 Excellence Award recipients highlight the dynamic programs and resources available to students that help the school’s academic transfer rate rank No. 1 in Texas. One common thread that connects the winners is their engagement with and esteem for Blinn students.

Becky AlmanyAlmany joined the Blinn faculty in 2007 as a part-time instructor teaching developmental English courses and became a full-time instructor for the English department in 2008. She received her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1992 and her Master of Arts in English from Lamar University in 2001.

“My greatest joy is helping my students become better, more confident writers and communicators,” Almany said.

janice LapagliaLapaglia marks 20 years with Blinn this year. In 1999, she joined the College as a Library Technical Assistant. Lapaglia earned her Associate of Arts and Associate of Science from Blinn in 2005 before earning her Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas A&M University in 2007. She completed her Master of Library Science from Texas Woman’s University in 2009 and has served as Director of the Blinn-Bryan Campus Library since 2013.

“Expanding and sharing the library’s resources and services is my passion,” said Lapaglia. “I’m blessed to work with staff who share this passion and faculty who appreciate innovation as we work together to ensure student success at Blinn.”

Tracy MatthiesMatthies became a faculty member of Blinn’s Communication Studies Program in 2004. She is a Blinn alumna, earning her Associate in Science in 2001. In 2002, she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication, followed by her Master of Arts in Speech Communication in 2004, both from Texas A&M University.

“Helping students make connections between concepts, their lives, and each other is powerful and rewarding,” said Matthies. “In communication classes, I help students build skills for their life-long benefit. Teaching is a gift I’ve been given and I am honored to receive this award.”

Dagmar PoteetPoteet joined Blinn as an Administrative Assistant in Academic Advising at the Brenham Campus in 2011. In November 2015, she became the Divisions Operations Coordinator for Social Sciences. Poteet holds an Associate of Applied Science from South Plains College and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas Tech University.

“Being nominated and recognized for a NISOD Excellence Award by the Division of Social Sciences was a surprise and honor,” said Poteet. “I wouldn’t trade my work with Blinn students for the world.”

Roberta SheffieldSheffield has been a faculty member for Blinn’s Psychology Program since 2014. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas A&M University in 1996 and her Master of Arts in Psychology from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 1999. Sheffield also is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and has experience providing mental health services for children and adults in the Brazos Valley.

“I’m passionate about connecting with my students and making a difference in their educational goals,” said Sheffield. “Teaching at Blinn is extremely rewarding and I feel a great sense of professional pride when students recommend my class to their peers.”

Wade ScholShol began teaching at Blinn in 2013 and serves as a member of the government faculty, teaching at both the Brenham and Bryan campuses. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the State University of New York, Albany in 1992. In 1998, Shol completed his Master of Arts in International Studies from the Claremont Graduate School and earned his Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Reading in 2006. Shol is a 12-year active duty veteran of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.+

“Teaching is a calling,” said Shol. “My phone rang, I answered, and I am still on the line.”

To learn more about Blinn’s programs, dedicated faculty, and innovative administrators, visit www.blinn.edu.

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With an enrollment of 19,581 students, Blinn ranks among the nation’s leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for affordable educational excellence.