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Gadsden State vice president announces teaching, staff excellence awards

Gadsden, Ala. — Dr. Tera Simmons, vice president of Gadsden State Community College, recently announced the winners of the Exceptional Achievement in Teaching Awards and the Staff Excellence in Service Awards.

“It is a privilege to recognize these outstanding employees at Gadsden State,” she said. “I was so impressed as I read their bios and letters of recommendation for the employees receiving the prestigious awards. These individuals go above and beyond the call of duty to make a difference in students’ lives.”

The Exceptional Achievement in Teaching Award is the highest honor bestowed on the faculty at Gadsden State. Each of the four awards given recognizes career achievements in teaching with emphasis on concrete accomplishments and proven results.

The Brenda Crowe Exceptional Achievement in Teaching Award is named for the former dean of institutional advancement and community Services. The winner is Laura Wilson, a history instructor on the Wallace Drive Campus.

In 2015, Wilson was hired as an adjunct history instructor at Gadsden State before earning a full-time position in 2017. She serves on the Gadsden State Curriculum Committee, the COVID Technology Support Team and the Dual Enrollment Support Team. She was also the designated coordinator of lessons relating to the 2020 Census. She has designed custom American History courses for adjunct dual enrollment instructors, and she implemented an open education resource model for American History 201 and 202.

Wilson is a graduate of Jacksonville State University, the Gadsden State Faculty Development Institute and the Alabama Community College System Instructional Leadership Academy.

The Pierce C. Cain Exceptional Achievement in Teaching Award is given to a member of the academic faculty and is named for the founding president of what is now the Ayers Campus. This year’s recipient is John Sudduth, an accounting instructor on the Ayers and East Broad campuses.

Sudduth started working at Gadsden State in 2018 and quickly became an active member of the faculty. He is the advisor of the Aspiring Accountants Association and is responsible for maintaining engagement on the Accounting Advisory Committee. He has served on the Program Review Committee, the Faculty Affairs Committee, the ASPIRE Committee, the Student Disciplinary Committee and the Cardinal Foundation’s Special Events Committee. He is a graduate of the ACCS Instructional Leadership Academy.

A graduate of JSU and the University of South Alabama, Sudduth is a member of a number of national honor societies, including Psi Chi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Beta Gamma Sigma, Gamma Sigma Alpha, Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi.

The Staff Excellence in Service Award is being bestowed on two individuals and recognizes their ability to perform their responsibilities in a proficient and capable manner and their commitment to their co-workers and Gadsden State students. Winners of the Staff Excellence in Service Award are Valerie Roberts and Beth Enders.

Roberts began her career at Gadsden State in 2017 as the clerk in Career Services as well as assistant to the associate dean of Enrollment and Retention. She is currently the tutorial coordinator for Student Support Services and serves as an orientation instructor and ACT Prep instructor.

At Gadsden State, she has served on the Student Discipline Committee and the Events Committee. She was responsible for converting SSS tutoring to fully online at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, which enabled tutoring to continue during the shutdown without interruption. In the community, she has volunteered with the United Way of Etowah County and Sleep in Heavenly Peace. She is the founder and director of Operation Christmas Hero, and she serves as the director of Student Ministries for Summit Church.

Roberts has degrees from Southeastern University, JSU and Snead State Community College, and she has earned Certified Educator credentials in math, science, reading and English from ACT.

Enders was hired as a purchasing agent at Gadsden State in 2007. Two years later, she became the administrative assistant in Admissions and Records before being promoted to assistant to the dean of Academic Programs and Services in 2018.

She has served on the Skills Training approval Committee, Events Committee and the DegreeWorks Team. She is currently the secretary for the Gadsden State Support Personnel Association, an organization for which she also served as the president and vice president.  In the community, Enders has volunteered for the United Way of Etowah County, Habitat for Humanity, Clean Home Alabama and CommUNITY Thanksgiving. She most recently was awarded an Excellence in Education Award for Support Personnel by The Chamber of Gadsden/Etowah.

Enders has degrees from Pasco-Hernando Community College, Gadsden State Community College, Athens State College and Faulkner University. She is also a graduate of the Gadsden State Leadership Development Institute.

Each of the award recipients receives $1,000 in discretionary funds within the appropriate department or division budget for the academic year to be used for equipment, professional development or teaching supplies.

Beth Enders with President Kathy Murphy

Valerie Roberts with President Kathy Murphy

John Sudduth with President Kathy Murphy

Laura Wilson with President Kathy Murphy