Class Notes

February 2016

Carlos Ruano

Dr. Carlos Ruano
M.S. '92

Carlos Ruano (M.S. ’92) is now working in Trinidad and Tobago as an international education expert in collaboration with Caribbean and North American institutions. This is his sixth post overseas. Ruano will oversee 17 island states as part of his duties in the eastern Caribbean.

Philip Gnilka

Ph.D. ’10

Philip Gnilka (Ph.D. ’10) is one of three recipients of the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) 2016 Research Award. The award is given annually to recognize “high-quality, original research conducted by an ACA member (or an ACA member and other colleagues working in collaboration) in areas of interest to the counseling profession and the divisions or organizational affiliates of ACA,” according to the association’s website. As one of this year’s award recipients, Gnilka will be honored during the American Counseling Association’s Conference and Expo in Montréal, Canada, this April.

Angelia R. Henderson

Cover of The Strength of My Soul
B.A. '85

Angelia Henderson (B.A. ’85) recently became an Amazon Best Seller co-author of the anthology “The Strength of My Soul: Stories of Sisterhood, Triumph and Inspiration” published by The Jamison Group. In the book, 27 women from a variety of races, classes, and backgrounds share their greatest joys and their greatest pains, their moments of victory and their moments of deep despair.

John Poulos

John Poulus, Executive Vice President, Managing Director of Tenant Representation, SK Commercial Realty
B.B.A. '83

John Poulos (B.B.A. ’83) has joined SK Commercial Realty as Executive Vice President, Managing Director of Tenant Representation. Poulos brings  more than 23 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry. Prior to joining SK Commercial Realty, Poulos served as managing director for Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s Atlanta office. Poulos is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors, and Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation. He resides in Sandy Springs with his wife and two children.


Odie Donald

B.A. '03, MBA '12

Odie Donald (B.A. ’03, MBA ’12) was recently appointed as Executive Director over the Washington D.C. Workforce Investment Council by Mayor Muriel Bowser. In this role he oversees the more than $100 million in federal and local funds invested into the workforce system.

Dr. Susan Henderson

M.P.H. '10

Dr. Susan Henderson (M.P.H.’10) is co-author on paper about tuberculosis in Peace Corps Volunteers recently published in the Journal of Travel Medicine. Henderson is chief of epidemiology and surveillance for the U.S. Peace Corps in Washington D.C.

Jessica Reece Fagan

Jessica Reece Fagan HHR
J.D. '06

Jessica Reece Fagan (J.D. ’06) has been named a partner with Hedgepeth, Heredia & Rieder, a family law firm in Cobb County. Fagan practices exclusively in the area of family law. She is a member of the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association, the Family Law Section of the Atlanta Bar Association and a member of the Young Lawyers Division of the Georgia Bar Association. She is also active with the DeKalb Bar Association and DeKalb Bar Foundation.

Thomas S. Hogan II

B.S. '92

Thomas S. Hogan II (B.S. ’92) has been named Senior Vice President of Embassy National Bank in Lawrenceville, Ga., Hogan will create and lead its new residential mortgage division. Hogan joins Embassy National Bank with more than 18 years of experience, including similar positions with Georgia Primary Bank and The Buckhead Community Bank. He has also served as president of Buckhead Financial, a financial services company, and was project manager in developing programs in entrepreneurship, small business management and human resources for the Interactive College of Technology. Since 2008, Hogan has been a member of the city council for the City of Chamblee, with emphasis on budgeting, economic development, branding, financial analysis and enhancing constituent service.

January 2016

Jay Nebel

B.S. '96

Jay Nebel (B.S. ’96) was recently named as the new principal at Sweetwater Middle School in Gwinnett County. Nebel previously served as the assistant principal at Creekland Middle School.

Erin Hahn

M.Ed. '98

Erin Hahn (M.Ed. ’98) was recently named as the new principal at B.B. Harris Elementary School in Gwinnett County. Hahn previously worked as Title I Coordinator for school improvement in the district, and data administrator at Summerour Middle School and sixth grade assistant principal at Summerour. Hahn is also currently a doctoral student at Georgia State

Serena Henry

Serena Henry
B.A. '93

Serena E. Henry (B.A. ’93) has been named managing broker of Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage intown office. The youngest firm to make the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 10 Residential Organizations in 2015, Atlanta Communities has five locations in Atlanta and the northern metropolitan area. It has increased its agent roster by 10 percent this year and currently has 675 metro Atlanta real estate professionals. Henry will assist in growing the company with experienced and budding full-time agents.

Jenna Walker

M. Tax. '10

Jenna Walker (M. Tax. ’10) has been promoted to partner at Bennett Thrasher LLP, Atlanta’s eighth largest accounting firm. Walker, also a CPA, has 14 years of public accounting experience focused in real estate and inbound international taxation. She has worked extensively with foreign individuals and entities investing in the United States through various structures. Additionally, Walker has worked closely with many hotel owners operating under globally recognized brands.

Cheryl Johnson

M.A. '11

Cheryl Johnson (M.A. ’11) technical officer, department of HIV, for the World Health Organization, was named a 2016 “30 under 30” in healthcare by Forbes Magazine. The list notes entrepreneurs who are making great strides in the healthcare system. Johnson also holds a graduate certificate in public health from Georgia State.

December 2015

Dan DeLamater

Photo provided by Wingate Downs
B.B.A. '90

Dan DeLamater (B.B.A. ’09) was recently elected as the 10th president of Southern Mutual Insurance Company. Founded in 1847 by an Act of the Georgia Legislature, Southern Mutual distributes personal and commercial insurance products through independent insurance agents in Georgia and South Carolina. DeLamater began as underwriting manager at Southern Mutual in 2000 and was elected as vice president in 2002. He succeeds Allen Green who is retiring after 29 years as president.

Tom M. J. Wingate V.

Tom M. J. Wingate V., Headteacher
M.Ed. '96

Tom M. J. Wingate V. (M.Ed. ’96) is in the process of founding two British international schools in Mexico City called “The Wingate School.” One site, for junior years, is in an urban district, and opens in August 2016; another larger site will open just a year later. The latter is planned to serve Kindergarten through the high school.

Michael Arjona

M.A. '05

The Walker School, an independent pre-k to 12th grade school in Cobb County, has named Michael Arjona (M.A. ’05) as the new principal of its Upper School. Arjona will begin his duties July 1, 2016. Arjona, an alumnus of The Walker School, has been a teacher and administrator there for 13 years. He has taught history and social studies, and has been responsible for the coordination and alignment of the school’s curriculum from preschool through 12th grade.

Rubina F. Malik

B.S. '90

Rubina F. Malik (B.S. ’90), who currently teaches in the business administration department at Morehouse College, recently earned her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia with an emphasis Human Resources Organizational Development.

Scott Allen

M.P.A. '12

Scott Allen (M.P.A. ’12) was recognized by the Obama Administration recognized in late November with the 2015 GreenGov Presidential Awards, which are part of a March 19 executive order President Barack Obama issued in setting targets for federal agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Allen was honored with the award as part of his work with the Federal Highway Administration’s Tennessee division in Nashville.

Jestin Johnson

40 under 40
B.A. '03

Jestin Johnson (B.A. ’03) city manager for Bisbee, Ariz., was recently named to the 40 under 40 list by the Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber. The list recognizes young leaders who are making an impact in the community with their professional and charitable work.

Bonnie Buol Rusczcyk

2015 Most Power Women in Accounting
MBA '01

Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk (MBA ’01), president of professional services marketing firm bbr marketing, has been honored by other accounting professionals at industry conference. Along with 25 other women, Ruszczyk was recognized as one of 2015’s Most Powerful Women in Accounting by CPA Practice Advisor at The Sleeter Group’s 2015 Accounting Solutions Conference in Las Vegas. Each year, accounting industry news source CPA Practice Advisor ( recognizes women from throughout the accounting world who have made a significant impact on the profession. The selection process begins with nominations submitted online by members of the accounting community, with the final winners selected by the advisory board and editorial staff of the publication. 

Alex Membrillo

Alex Membrillo - CEO of Cardinal Web Solutions
B.B.A. '08

Alex Membrillo (B.B.A. ’08) is the Founder & CEO of Cardinal Web Solutions, a digital strategy agency based in Atlanta, Ga. Membrillo was named the 2015 Digital Marketer of the Year by Technology Association of Georgia on Nov. 17 at Cobb Energy Center. Membrillo was recognized for his innovative approach to Human-to-Human technology marketing and Cardinal Web Solutions’ rapid growth in the industry. This includes Membrillo’s demonstration of providing the best understanding of his market and customers, as well as showing a new and fresh approach to creative solutions. Membrillo’s work as CEO of Cardinal Web Solutions recently earned him the honor of being selected as a Top 20 Entrepreneur of metro Atlanta by TiE Atlanta. Membrillo has been featured in leading national publications including The Business Journals, Entrepreneur, Mashabl, and The Wall Street Journal.

November 2015

Sethanne Howard

Sethanne Howard
Ph.D. '89

Dr. Sethanne Howad (Ph.D. ’89) recently became the first woman appointed as chief of the Nautical Almanac Office at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C.

Pauline Henry and Valerie Jones

(B.S.E. ’95), (M.Ed. ’03)

President Barack Obama named Pauline Henry (B.S.E. ’95) and Valerie Jones (M.Ed. ’03) as recipients of this year’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching — the nation’s highest honor for teachers of mathematics and science. The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics or science (including computer science) teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the U.S.

Carletta S. Hurt

Carletta S. Hurt, DC School Counselor of the Year
M.Ed, 2002; Ed.S, 2004

Carletta S. Hurt (M.Ed ’01, Ed.S ’04) was named the 2016 Washington D.C. School Counselor of the Year (SCOY) by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). In January 2016, Hurt along with other SCOY finalists will visit with Michelle Obama at the White House and attend a gala for her formal recognition. During her time at GSU, she was a Graduate Research Assistant with Project Healthy Grandparents and volunteered with Hands on Atlanta. Hurt is a School Counselor at a public charter school in Washington, D.C. where she serves on the leadership team. She is the President-Elect of the D.C. School Counselor Association and represented the organization at the 3rd annual White House Convening on Strengthening School Counseling and College Advising. Previously, Hurt worked as a teacher in Decatur City Schools and a counselor in Fulton County Schools.

Trisha Connor

B.S.Ed. '98, M.Ed. '02

Trisha Connor (B.S.Ed. ’98, M.Ed. ’02) was named the Teacher of the Year in Gwinnett County (Ga.). Connor teaches science, technology, engineering and math at Harbins Elementary School in Dacula, Ga.