Troy University recognizes the achievements of alumni, congratulates those who have gotten married or engaged and remembers those we have lost.
This month’s roundup of alumni news and achievements includes retired Air Force Lt. Col. Dean Failor (’83,’95) who was recently inducted into the Ohio Hall of Fame, Michael E. Thomas (’91) who received the 2017 Music Educator of the Year Award from the Georgia Music Education Association and Maj. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy III (‘97), a 34-year Marine veteran who was recently nominated for the position of military deputy for readiness to the under-secretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
Kim M. Johns (‘79) has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the First National Bank of Northwest Florida. Johns has been with First National for five years, currently serving as chief operating officer and chief credit officer, and has been in banking for 30 years.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Dean Failor (’83, ‘95) was recently inducted to the Ohio Hall of Fame in Monroeville, Ohio. Failor’s 20-year military career included flying combat missions over North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Following his retirement from the military, Failor worked as a civilian contractor F-16 flight simulator instructor at Moody Air Force Base and later began a 14-year career as senior Air Force ROTC instructor at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia.
Terri Walker (‘83) has been named director of career counseling at the Mercer University School of Medicine.
Cynthia K. Inniss (’85), a Christian-themed writer, has published her 6th book, “Dancing with the Red Thread.” A native of Rome, Georgia, Inniss is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a former civil servant.
Michael T. Lee (‘88), regional president of Ameris Bank in Valdosta, Georgia, has been elected to serve a two-year term on the Georgia Bankers Association’s Board of Directors. Lee began his banking career in 1991 and joined Ameris in 2011. Lee actively serves in his community and is a past chairman of the Greater Valdosta United Way and Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Foundation South Board of Trustees and is a member and past co-chair of the South Georgia Military Affairs Council.
Jennifer Scherzinger (‘88) recently joined Advantage Realty in Andalusia. She previously managed apartment property, owned Floorz Plus and served as a decorator at Harold’s Furniture.
Reginald Eggleston (‘91) will lead reform of Montgomery Public Schools as the school system’s chief executive officer. He formerly served as assistant superintendent for Mobile County Public Schools and has worked in education for 24 years.
Michael E. Thomas (’91) was recently honored as the Georgia Music Education Association’s 2017 Music Educator of the Year. The award recognizes outstanding merit in teaching and administration by music educators whose service to students, the community and the profession is exemplary. Thomas is band director at Valdosta High School. He is a member of the Southeastern United States Honor Band and Clinic Board of Directors. Thomas is a member of Phi Beta Mu International School Bandmaster Fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Fraternity for College Bandsmen, National Association for Music Education, the Georgia Music Educators Association and the Georgia Association of Educators.
Frank Etheridge (‘92) recently began work as administrator for Long County, Georgia. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Etheridge’s previous experience includes county manager in Randolph and Marion counties, city manager in LaFayette, city administrator in Pembroke, planning manager in Jackson County, building and planning director in Habersham County and county administrator in Twiggs County.
Shelton Goode (‘93) has been named executive director of diversity and inclusion by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). Goode previously served as director of diversity and inclusion at Oshkosh Corp. and holds more than 20 years of experience in the field. He has received national recognition for his work, including the 2012 Trailblazer award by the National Association of African Americans in Human Recourses and the 2013 Lifetime Achievement award by the Technology Association of Georgia. In 2016, he was named one of the “Top 50 Most Influential African Americans in Wisconsin” by Madison 365.
Brig. Gen. Tracey Beck Siems (’93) was honored by the Circleville (Ohio) High School Alumni Association at its 8th annual Achievement Hall of Fame Ceremony. General Siems left active military service in 1996, but she served a stint in the Illinois Air National Guard from 1996 to 2003. In 2003, she joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve where she continues to serve to this day. Her current reserve duty assignment is mobilization assistant to the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for Budget, Washington, D.C., in which she provides direction and guidance on policies, programs and plans encompassing Air Force-wide financial management innovation and transformation activities. General Siems has been awarded the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit award, the Air Force Outstanding Unit award, the Air Force Organizational Excellence award, the National Defense Service Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
Frank Straughn, Jr. (‘93) has retired from his position as business office manager for Eufaula and Clayton offices of Alabama Power Co. after 52 years of service.
Jeff Adams (‘97) and Chris Mundy recently opened Columbiana Tractor, LLC. After graduating from the Montgomery Campus, Adams gained extensive experience as an automobile dealership owner. Columbiana Tractor brings LS Tractor, implements and a selection of used tractors to Shelby County and the surrounding community.
Maj. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy III (‘97), a 34-year Marine veteran, was recently nominated for the position of military deputy for readiness to the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, who serves Defense Secretary James Mattis. The position would include promotion to the rank of lieutenant general. Gen. Clardy currently serves as deputy director for force management, application and support.
Kecia Culp (’00) has been named director of human resources at Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan. Culp has 18 years of human resources experience, including her most recent position as benefits manager at SAMC. She is certified as a professional in human resources (PHR) and a Society for Human Resource Management-certified professional (SHRM-CP).
Col. John L. Dorrian (‘00), who recently retired after 25 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, has joined The Citadel as the new vice president for communications and marketing. Dorrian most recently served as spokesperson for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, which is a military effort to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria by a coalition of more than 50 countries. In that role, Dorrian was principal military spokesperson as well as advisor to the task force commander and senior staff with regard to public affairs and communication matters. While deployed in this role, he conducted more than 400 national and international news media engagements.
Bryant Johnson (‘00), head basketball coach at Montgomery’s Robert E. Lee High School, was recently named All-Metro Area Coach of the Year. Johnson led the Generals to a 28-4 season, falling one win shy of a school record. He has a 221-124 record in 12 seasons as Lee’s head coach and is 245-165 overall in his 15-year coaching career. During his time at TROY, Johnson played guard on the Trojans basketball team that advanced to the Division II national title game in 1993.
Denise McCray (’02, ‘05) has been named as the new principal of Schofield Middle School in Aiken County, South Carolina. McCray previously served as academic dean at Dorothy Height Elementary in Columbus, Georgia. Her career in education began in 1991 as a teacher at Western Heights Elementary School in Eufaula. She has also taught at Phenix City Intermediate School, Chukker Creek Elementary and served as assistant principal at Lake Murray Elementary School.
Brandi Evans (’03, ‘09) was recently named to the Alabama Department of Education Superintendent’s Teacher Cabinet. Evans teaches fourth grade Alabama history and sixth grade English at WS Harlan Elementary School in Lockhart, Alabama.
Mia Pace (‘04) of Julian Mitchell Math and Science Elementary has been named 2017 Teacher of the Year by the Charleston County School District in South Carolina. Pace is a computer lab instructor and has been with the school district for five years.
Peige Josey (‘05) has been named dean of administrative services and director of the Greenville Campus of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College. Josey worked in the college’s human resources office for 14 years, including 10 years as director. She most recently served three years an interim director of human resources with the Alabama Community College System.
Felicia Thompson (’06, ’11) has been named the new principal at Allen Elementary School by the Muscogee County School Board in Georiga. Thompson has been an educator for 15 years—14 of which have been in the Muscogee County school system, including her most recent appointment, assistant principal at South Columbus Elementary School.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Matthew S. Cantore (‘07) recently earned a first prize Gen. George C. Kennedy Writing award at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He earned a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies as a distinguished graduate from the college. He holds a master’s degree in international relations from TROY. His next assignment will be as airpower strategist, checkmate division, directorate of air, space and cyber operations, headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
Elizabeth Williford Stough (’07, ‘08) has joined the staff of South Alabama Electric Cooperative as manager of finance and accounting. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a Master of Business Administration from TROY. Stough, who previously served as a manager at Jackson Thornton & Co., is a certified public accountant and a member of the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants, as well as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She and her husband, Trent, have a son, Logan.
Russell Klinner (‘09) has been named executive director-elect of Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega.
Becky Sawyer (‘12) has been promoted to senior vice president of human resources for Sentara Healthcare. She previously served as vice president of human resources for Sentara hospitals in Hampton Roads, South Boston and Elizabeth City, plus Support Services, Sentara Medical Group, Sentara Enterprises, Sentara Life Care and Optima Health. Sawyer is a resident of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from TROY.
Taqua Thrasher (’12) was recently named the new deputy director of management information services for Rockdale County, Georgia. He has more than 10 years of IT experience and several certifications focused on Microsoft, virtualization, security and service delivery. Originally from Athens, Georgia, Thrasher received his Master of Public Administration from TROY and currently resides in Hampton with his wife and two children.
Adam Gilreath (’14) graduated third in his class from the University of Oxford, receiving a master’s degree in cognitive and evolutionary anthropology. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in anthropology at Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, where his research investigates the role of perceived threat in intergroup conflicts. His research into the drivers of terrorism is funded by the United States Air Force.
Tyler Kelley (‘14) has been named head football coach of Verbena High School. He previously served as an assistant coach at Billingsley High School.
Ashlee Robinson (’14, ‘17) was recently named band director at Chilton County High School.
Destinie Smith (’14, ’16) has been named head women’s basketball coach at Snead State Community College. She spent the past year working in the Muscogee County School District in Georgia and previously served as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Chattahoochee Valley Community College.
Kizzi Trawick Walker (‘14) has been named head coach of the Baldwin High School girls’ basketball program in Milledgeville, Georgia.
Jake Tucker (’15), a former Troy University golfer, recently notched his first win as a professional, taking the Wiregrass Construction/Visit Dothan Pro-Am on the Emerald Coast Golf Tour by one stroke.
Princess Cockerham (’16) recently won the Titans of Talent Karaoke competition, receiving a cash prize and the opportunity to record a live studio album. She holds a master’s degree in special education from TROY and works as a teacher.
Jessica Parker (‘16) was recently named merchants and marketing director for the Dothan Downtown Redevelopment Authority.
Hayden Wilson (‘16) has been named head volleyball coach at Pike Liberal Arts.
Jordyn Elston (’17) has joined the staff of WSFA 12 News as a general assignment reporter. Elston, a summa cum laude graduate, received the Southeastern Journalism Conference’s Best Hard News Reporter award in 2017 and Best Television Anchor award in 2016 as a student with TrojanVision News.
Melisan Sullivan (’17) has been named the new Red Level High School band director.
Weddings and Engagements
Troy University congratulates the following alumni who have married or become engaged:
Mary Kathleen Benton (’16) to Tyler Drake Stump (’16)
Kathleen Jule Henson (’12) to Cody Dale Daughtry (’12)
Anna Lane Johnson (‘10) to Joseph Michael Caldwell (’00, ‘15)
Abbey Fallin McKeller (‘09) to Edwin Hays Wright, Jr.
Haley Elizabeth McNeal (‘15) to Clayborne Carter Herring
Lacey Nicole Phillips (‘11) to Benjamin Perry Maxwell (‘12)
Ashley Robertson (’12) to Nick Fox
Sophia Day Young to Michael Brent Kiser (’08, ‘14)
Troy University mourns the loss of the following alumni and friends:
Troy University Alumni
Nathaniel Wayne Barba (‘15)
Geraldine Boothe (’57)
Timothy Galloway (’84, ‘95)
Benjamin Lee Knight (‘13)
Wade Douglas McLendon, Sr. (‘67)
Annie Louise Parish (‘61)
John Wayne Ragland (’67)
Troy University Friends
Dr. Bernard Avant