Class Notes

July 2016

Dan A. Sims

B.S. ’95, M.Ed. ’01, Ed.D. ’16

Dan A. Sims (B.S. ’95, M.Ed. ’01, Ed.D. ’16) was recently named Associate Superintendent of Schools (9-12) for Atlanta Public Schools. In this role, he will provide direct instructional support and operational oversight of principals and their schools.

Bejanae Kareem

M.Ed '06

Bejanae Kareem (M.Ed  ’06) program coordinator in the College of Education & Human Development’s Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education, recently accepted a position with WestEd, a nonprofit research, development and service agency working with education and other communities to improve education and other important outcomes for children, youth and adults.

June 2016

Hugh Brown

Hugh Brown, Principal/Trust Officer, Pendleton Square Trust, MBA 1994
MBA '94

Hugh Brown (MBA ’94) was recently hired as Principal/Trust Officer for Pendleton Square Trust and Family Office in Chattanooga, Tenn.  Brown joins Pendleton Square following a 20-year career in corporate and commercial banking. He has worked with dozens of family-owned businesses, often during times of significant transition such as acquisitions, organic growth and divestiture. Brown also sits on the board of the Chambliss Center for Children, where he serves on the Executive Committee as Assistant Treasurer. He also is a member of the McCallie School Alumni Council.

Dan Forrester

Dan Forrester
B.B.A. '05

Dan Forrester (B.B.A. ’05) has been named a partner with The LaRocco Companies, Insurance Brokers and Consultants in Norcross, Ga. The company has more than 250 years of experience in employee benefits and risk management insurance.

James F. Conneely

Ph.D. '92

Dr. James F. Conneely (Ph.D. ’92) was recently appointed as President at the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA). UMA is comprised of two campuses and eight extension centers throughout the state of Maine enrolling 6,200 students.

Lynn Hesse

Lynn Hesse's Interview at 1690 AM Radio, Voice of the Arts
B.S. '96

Lynn Hesse, (B.S. ’96) the first place winner in the 2015 Oak Tree Press Writing Contest, Cop Tales, is launching her award-winning debut novel, “Well of Rage,” at the 2016 Decatur Book Festival. The novel is based on her law enforcement experience and is about how the “isms” separate us.

Janelle McCoy

Executive Director for the Oregon Bach Festival, Janelle McCoy
B.Mu. '96

Janelle McCoy (B.Mu. ’96), distinguished mezzo-soprano and longtime orchestra and choral manager, opens the season as the new executive director of the Oregon Bach Festival, the University of Oregon’s internationally recognized classical music celebration. McCoy, who comes to Eugene from The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, becomes just the fourth executive director in the organization’s history. She joined Artistic Director Matthew Halls in January as a key member of the leadership team, tasked with continuing the legacy of the Grammy Award-winning festival, as the festival opens it’s 47th season on Thursday.

Ben Miller

Ben Miller, Partner in the Transfer Pricing practice at Bennett Thrasher LLP
M.A. '08, Ph.D. '08

Bennett Thrasher LLP is pleased to announce the promotion of Ben Miller (M.A. ’08, Ph.D. ’08)to partner. Miller leads the firm’s Transfer Pricing practice. He has extensive experience preparing economic analyses that evaluate the pricing of intercompany transactions involving tangible goods, intangible property, services and loans. He teams with clients in a wide range of industries to design, implement, maintain and defend pricing policies that comply with transfer pricing rules and achieve strategic business objectives.

Loraine McMurray DiSalvo

Loraine McMurray DiSalvo
B.A. '94

Loraine McMurray DiSalvo (B.A. 94) was selected for inclusion in the 2016 Georgia Super Lawyers list. This is an honor given to only the top 5 percent of attorneys in the state, and selection is based on an intensive process which includes peer review, information provided by candidates, and an in house research program. This is Loraine’s 4th consecutive year on this list. In addition, her firm, Morgan & DiSalvo, P.C. was recently listed again by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Tier 1 Best Law Firms in the practice area of Trusts & Estates.

Bruce Ailion

M.S.R.E. '80, J.D. '90

Bruce Ailion (M.S.R.E. ’80, J.D. ’90), managing member of ATL Investors Commercial Acquisitions V, LLC, is pleased to the completion of $7.5 million equity fund and the opening of the $10 million ATL Investors Commercial Acquisitions VI, LLC focusing on the acquisition of commercial properties in metro Atlanta.

J. Faith Peppers

M.A. '93
B.A. '85

J. Faith Peppers (B.A. ’85, M.A. ’93), director of public affairs for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, received the 2016 Professional Award from the Association for Communication Excellence. The professional award is the organization’s highest award and recognizes excellence, professionalism and achievement over time. Peppers was honored for her national leadership to elevate the role of agricultural communicators to further the land-grant university mission and to promote the land-grant system’s success to stakeholders nationwide.

Jestin Johnson

B.A. '03

Jestin Johnson (B.A. ’03), who most recently spent nearly two years as city manager in Bisbee, Ariz., located 90 miles southeast of Tucson, has been named the new assistant manager of Athens-Clarke County. He started his public service career as a policy analyst in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget in Georgia.

Kelly Neel

Kelly Neel, Marketing Coordinator, SK Commercial Realty
B.A. '15

Kelly Neel (B.A. ’15) has been named marketing coordinator for SK Commercial Realty in Atlanta, Ga. Neel will lead the company’s communications and marketing initiatives through strategic development, planning and implementation. Neel’s expertise in marketing communications includes positions with Harry Norman Realtors and BigSky. She most recently served as an account director at StudentBridge where she assisted colleges and universities ranging from Ivy League, large state institutions, small liberal arts and community colleges in their recruitment and marketing efforts.

Dr. Donna Breault

Ph.D. '00

Dr. Donna Breault (Ph.D.’00) has been named dean for the Dwight Schar College of Education at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. Dr. Breault previously worked at Missouri State University, where she served as director of Program Review and Analytics. She earned a Ph.D. from Georgia State University in curriculum and instruction in 2000.

Connie Watjen

B.B.A. '97

Georgia Highlands College has named Connie Watjen (B.B.A. ’97) the new campus dean of its Paulding and Douglasville sites. Watjen, who joined Georgia Highlands in 2008, previously worked for AT&T, Coca-Cola and as an entrepreneur and freelance writer. Watjen moved from a part-time GHC instructor of English to a full-time instructor of English in 2009, and in the following year progressed to becoming an instructor of Learning Support English.

May 2016

Lance Von Vogt

M.S. ‘02

Lance Von Vogt (M.S. ’02) has been named Athletic Director for William Jessup University, the Sacramento, Calif. area’s only residential four-year private university. Von Vogt takes over leadership of a rapidly growing athletic program that will expand to 13 NAIA Division I sports for the 2016-17 season.

Barbara Victome

M.S.W. '02

Barbara Victome (M.S.W. ’02) is currently the co-founder and Executive Director of Haki Yetu “Our Rights” in Swahili, a nonprofit, human rights organization which provides services to immigrants and refugees in New York City. She also serves as an Advisor and Lecturer for the Columbia University School of Social Work’s Advising Department, working with master’s of social work candidates.

Masudi Stolard

MBA '13

Masudi Stolard (MBA ’13) has recently published a new book, “An Introduction to Entrepreneurship.” This book is written for those who are ready to take the first step in launching their business. In addition, Stolard is currently a doctor of business administration student specializing in business intelligence.

Karen Carl

B.S. '86

Karen Carl (B.S. ’86), principal of Free Home Elementary School in Cherokee County, has been named the 2016 Georgia Distinguished Principal. The prestigious recognition is awarded to one principal in each of theGeorgia Association of Elementary School Principals’ regional districts, and winners are selected by their peers based on exemplary educational leadership.

Laura Paton

B.A. '00

Laura Paton (B.A. ’00), an attorney, with Carlock, Copeland & Stair LLC, recently completed the South Carolina Bar’s Circuit Court Mediation Certification Training and Advanced Negotiation Workshop. Paton is now certified to mediate cases in the civil courts of South Carolina.

Maria Cecilia Griggs

M.P.H. '09

After working for two years as a cardiac nurse in Charlotte, N.C., Maria Cecilia Griggs (M.P.H. ’09) will be starting as a case manager in the heart transplant and ventricular assist devices program at Carolinas Medical Center-Main in June.

Rachael Wendlandt

M.P.H. '14

Rachael Wendlandt (MPH’14), analyst at Abt Associates, published an article titled “Gender-based violence and HIV risk among African-American women: a qualitative study” in the Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services.

Christian Deichert

LTC Deichert with his wife, Kelly, and daughter, Carey.
J.D. '00

Christian Deichert (J.D. ’00) was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army on April 29. LTC Deichert is currently serving as the Brigade Judge Advocate for the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, at Fort Bliss, Texas. He has been on active duty as a Judge Advocate for more than 15 years, serving in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, and around the United States. This summer, he will assume duties as the Command Judge Advocate for the installation legal office at Fort Eustis, Va.

April 2016

Jennifer Muto Brock

Jennifer Muto Brock
M.A. '97

Jen Brock (M.A. ’97) has been named director of communications and marketing for the Walker School in Marietta, Ga. Brock will lead the school’s communications and marketing initiatives through strategic development, planning and implementation. Brock’s expertise in marketing communications includes positions with Northside Hospital, Georgia State and Piedmont Heart Institute, as well as extensive communications consulting for a number of education and nonprofit clients. She has served as the Director of Communications and Marketing at the College of Pharmacy at Mercer University since 2014.

Victor Williams

B.A. '15

Victor Williams (B.A. ’15) recently joined the WLOX News Team in Biloxi, Miss., after working at WBBJ Eyewitness News in Jackson, Tenn. While at Georgia State, Williams was news anchor and reporter for the award-winning college news station, GSTV News. He also interned for WSB-TV News in Atlanta.