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Sping 2008

UT Tyler Students enjoy events during Homecoming '07.
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UT Tyler Homecoming 2008
October 10-11

Rick Rayford (B.B.A. 1976) has been named chief executive officer of Brookshire Grocery Co. Rayford will oversee all areas of the company, including retail, distribution, administration and manufacturing. A 35- year employee, Rayford joined the company as a warehouseman and served in many capacities before being promoted to director of distribution in 1988. Since then, he has served as vice president-distribution, senior vice president-distribution, executive vice president-distribution/manufacturing and executive vice president-corporate development. He also serves as president of the East Texas Food Bank’s board of directors and has been involved in the United Way and other nonprofit organizations. Rayford and his wife, Bonnie, have two daughters and three grandchildren.

Norton Rusty Nowlin (B.A. 1980, M.A. 1992) is working as a paralegal for Decision Team – 4 of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington D.C. Nowlin also has completed one year of law school at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Calif., and a post-baccalaureate ABA approved advanced paralegal certification at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood,Wash.

Darlene Marshall (B.S. 1981, M.Ed. 1988) has been appointed director of elementary education for Tyler Independent School District. In her new leadership role, she will oversee the operations of elementary schools and supervise elementary school principals. Marshall began her career in 1981 as a teacher at TISD’s Andy Woods Elementary School. She continued to build her career in education in Alief for 15 years, serving as assistant principal and principal at several elementary schools.

Stephen P. Rydzak,M.D. (B.S. 1982) entered The University of Texas at San Antonio Health Science Center School of Medicine in 1985 and received his medical degree in 1989. He has been practicing medicine in Tyler for about 17 years and has established a reputation as a leader in the Smith County Medical Society. His specialties are internal medicine and hyperbaric medicine. In 2006, Dr. Rydzak was named one of the first of three Distinguished Alumni for UT Tyler.

Stacey Sullivan (B.A. 1985, M.Ed. 1998), director of curriculum/communications at Henderson Independent School District, was chosen as Region VII Principal of the Year. Sullivan, who served as high school principal prior to being promoted in 2007, will next be considered for the Texas Principal of the Year award. Under her leadership, Texas Monthly magazine selected Henderson High School for its 2006 list of “Best Public Schools inTexas.” In 2005, she was named Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Journalism Educators, which is made up of advisers of student publications. She was the first HHS administrator to receive the honor. Sullivan also has been recognized with Gold Performance acknowledgements for the accountability ratings of high schools. She was selected for the Texas Business and Education Coalition/Just for Kids Honor Roll and served as a mentor in the program. Her research results on “The Gifted Underachiever” were published in Tempo, a journal for educators and parents.

Clare Nelson Davis (B.B.A. 1989), vice president of client services for the Dallasbased MLink Technologies, an agency specializing in interactive marketing and custom e-learning programs, co-authored an article that was featured in a national publication for technical communication. “Designing Successful E-Learning Courses’’ by Davis and co-worker Melissa Haughton was the cover story for the June 2007 issue of Intercom, a magazine for the Society for Technical Communication.’’ Davis has 15 years experience designing performance solutions.

Deborah A. Tinsley (B.S.N. 1993), owner of Exceptional Home Care in Tyler, received the 2007 Outstanding Incubator Graduate Award from the National Business Incubation Association. She received the award in the manufacturing and service category. Tinsley also was named Business Person of the Year 2006 by the Dallas/Fort Worth District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The city of Tyler honored her by proclaiming a day in November 2005 as the Deborah A. Tinsley Caring For Exceptional Children Day. Tinsley’s previous employment positions include assistant administrator with Jordan Health Services; director of nurses and director of compliance/nursing, Grace Visiting Nurses; charge nurse, Watson Wise Dialysis Center; and emergency room admit clerk, East Texas Medical Center.

Jason T. Williams (B.B.A. 1994) decided it was time for a career change after practicing law and accounting for several years. Williams and business partner Ken Faught co-founded Pole Position Raceway Inc., which operates indoor racetracks for electric go-karting. They opened their first track in 2005 in Corona, Calif., in a 5,000-square foot building. The company’s Oklahoma City location – at 83,000 square feet – opened in 2006 in a former store. For Williams, it was a homecoming of sorts. He was born in Hugo, Okla., and grew up in Tulsa before earning his accounting degree at UT Tyler. Williams received his law degree at California Western School of Law in San Diego.

Ruby J. Brewer (B.S.N. 1996, M.S.N./M.B.A. 2003) has been appointed vice president of the Good Shepherd Health System, where she has worked for 18 years. As vice president she will oversee care management and quality, chaplaincy, education, outpatient therapies, social work, trauma and the new Wellness Center. She is the recipient of the 2006 Innovation in Case Management Service Award.

Keith Peterson (B.S. 1999), former member of UT Tyler’s award winning debate team, has served as speechwriter for Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Peterson also has authored and presented numerous articles in the National Communication Association and American Communication Association. As a published author, Peterson presented research at the International Debate Educators Association conference in Budapest, Hungary, and was the lead editor and co-author of the Official Public Debate Textbook (Pearson Publishing).

Joel Adams (B.B.A. 2000), who serves as vice president and Raymond James financial adviser for Southside Bank Investment Services, has been named to the Raymond James 2008 Executive Council. Executive Council honors are presented only to those financial advisers who have demonstrated an extremely high level of commitment to clients through personal service and integrity. Adams has been in the financial services industry for more than 11 years.

Rita S. Mehta (M.S.2001) was mentioned for her research in an article featured by National Public Radio. Mehta is a post-doctoral researcher in the section of evolution and ecology at the University of California-Davis. She is studying the evolution of diversity in eel feeding behavior.

Jeremy S. Wysocki (B.S. 2002) graduated cum laude from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2004 and completed a master of taxation degree from Southern MethodistUniversity in 2005. In lawschool, Wysocki received the CALI Award in Trial Advocacy and participated in the Texas Tech Low Income Tax Clinic, where he assisted families in resolving disputes with the Internal Revenue Service. Wysocki practices in the areas of general corporate and business law, mergers and acquisitions, taxation and estate planning. He is licensed to practice law in both Colorado and Texas.

Michael D.Wysocki (B.A. 2003) graduated with top honors from Texas Tech University School of Law in May 2006. He was articles editor for the Texas Tech Law Review and was published in Volume 38. Wysocki was a member of Phi Delta Phi, won numerous Board of Barristers competitions and was named an honorary member of the Board of Barristers for his achievements. He won CALI and American Jurisprudence awards for his course performance in Torts, Legal Practice and Commercial Law. In his spare time, Wysocki restores 1964-66 Ford Mustangs.

Danah Zirpoli (B.S.2003) is a new prosecutor in the office of District Attorney Wally Hatch in Swisher County. Zirpoli graduated from Texas Tech University School of Law. Her husband, Robert, is an engineering student at Texas Tech.

Basima Naser (B.A. 2004) is living her dream as a junior high school teacher in Japan. Naser gained employment with the Yachiyo Board of Education through the Tyler Sister Cities Program in 2007. She teaches seventh- through ninth-grade English at Takatsu Junior High School.

Brian D. Woodson (B.B.A. 2005) is a Wal- Mart Supercenter department supervisor. He resides in Longview with his wife, RaShawn, a medical assistant at Longview Regional.

Gordon T. Roberts (B.S. 2005) has been employed with Southside Bank for four years. After graduating from UT Tyler, Roberts became assistant branch manager of the Southside Bank near Lake Palestine and then quickly moved into the position of branch manager. He is a member of the Lake Palestine Chamber of Commerce. Roberts and his wife,Winter, reside in Tyler and recently became parents of a baby girl.

Will Walker (M.A. 2005) was named Outstanding Doctoral Student in kinesiology pedagogy in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He also was awarded the Donald R. Miller Memorial Endowed Scholarship. He is in his second year of doctoral studies. Walker is the son of Nancy and Tommy Walker of Avinger and is a 1999 graduate of Avinger High School. He is married to Ruthie Walker.

Jessie Prestridge (M.S. 2005) has been named assistant executive director of the Literacy Council of Tyler. Prestridge began working with the Literacy Council in 2001 as a GED instructor in the youth division, a program targeting at-risk teens. In January 2002 she was promoted to program supervisor. Prestridge also has worked with area justice of the peace courts to reduce truancy. She has served in the Youth Advisory Group of the Workforce Development Board since 2004.

Adrienne Graham (B.S.2006), former editor of the Patriot Talon student newspaper, served as editor in chief of the Frankston Citizen for a year after attaining her bachelor of science degree in journalism. She then went on to the Tyler Morning Telegraph, where she serves as city government reporter. The Tyler resident also is a photographer. She is a Longview native and 2001 graduate of Pine Tree High School.

John Brannon Gary (B.S. 2006) began doctoral studies in inorganic chemistry at the University of Michigan after graduating summa cum laude from UT Tyler with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. His current research, under the supervision of Dr. Marc J. A. Johnson, involves computational and synthetic organometallic metathesis catalysis for the formation of carbon-carbon multiple bonds. He was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Gary plans to work in chemical research after completing his doctorate.

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