Heritage: Fall 2021

An alumni poses with his partner outdoors.

Class Notes

C.J. Hagler ’50, at 94-years-old, is one of the first agricultural teachers to be inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas, a first-year statewide organization. Hagler became an agriculture science teacher and FFA advisor at Linden-Kildare Consolidated ISD in 1969.

Susan Moore-Fontenot ’77, was honored on Juneteenth as the first African American and longest serving member of the Lee College Board of Regents. She was recently appointed to serve on the Community College Association of Texas Trustee Board to fill an at-large position representing the 50 community colleges in Texas. She retired from public education as director of human resources at Goose Creek Consolidated ISD in 2014 with 38 years of active service.

Bill Avera ’78, was appointed to the Texas School Safety Center Board by Governor Greg Abbott. As chief of police and emergency manager with Jacksonville ISD, he has served in law enforcement for over 40 years, with 17 years focused on school-based policing.

Craig Edwards ’81, ’82, was recognized by the American Association of Agricultural Education for his contributions to agricultural education. A professor at Oklahoma State University, Edwards’ teaching career spans 39 years. He has led impactful, grant funded projects, mentored international students and has taught hundreds of students the global connectedness of agriculture.

Cheryl DaBera ’82, received a Distinguished Alumni honor from Brenham ISD. DaBera served as an elementary school principal and federal programs monitor in Burton ISD from ’05-’13. During her career, she trained teachers and participated in campus and district decision making, effectiveness and compliance, early intervention programs and crisis intervention.

Dwight D. Mathis ’86, with more than 30 years of service with the Texas Department of Public Safety, has been promoted to deputy director of law enforcement operations. He will oversee the Criminal Investigations Division, Texas Highway Patrol, Texas Rangers, Aviation Operations Division and six regional directors.

Debra Crooms ’85, has been named Marshall ISD’s new assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment after six years at Region 8 Education Service Center. She previously served as a teacher and administrator in Marshall ISD from 1985-2015.

Gregory Townsend ’85, is a retired health service administrator with Jefferson County Department of Health in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leaders and a former fellow with Human Impact Partner’s Public Health Equity Cohort. He obtained a master’s in public and private management from Birmingham Southern College. Recently, he joined virtualacademy.com as an online instructor on the topic of implicit bias. His course gives officers tools to help recognize, reduce and prevent their own implicit biases.

Eric Pedersen and Heather (Nyman) Pedersen ’96, met at SHSU and married in ‘98. They currently reside in the Seattle, Washington area and have two children. Eric was recently promoted to the rank of Captain (O-6) in the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps. His military service has included two tours of duty as a prosecutor, tours as legal advisor for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and two Combatant Commands. Heather was recently named ‘Best Teacher’ in North Kitsap County. In ‘21, she decided to step out of the classroom teacher role and become an instructional coach. She now works with teachers to implement strategies on closing opportunity gaps for underserved populations.

Adam Henke ’97, was appointed to principal of Mt. Peak Elementary in Midlothian, Texas. With 21 years of public education experience, he joined Midlothian ISD in 2016 as an assistant principal.

Courtney (Klawinski) Dyer ’99, ’05, Lincoln Elementary School principal in Montgomery ISD, has been selected as the district’s director of community services. In this role, Dyer cultivates and promotes positive partnerships between families, educators and the community. She oversees and coordinates services with campus counselors and leads the district’s mentor program.

Jennifer (Jorgensen) Dillard ’00, has been named to the Texas Bandmasters Association Board of Directors. Serving as director of bands at Knox Junior High School in The Woodlands, the Knox bands have received consecutive sweepstakes ratings at UIL contests and earned the distinction as “Best in Class” at regional concert festivals.

Rick Reeves ’00, has served as director of purchasing and warehouse with Conroe ISD since 2013.

Alicia Reeves ’02, ’05, accepted the position of school support officer in Tomball ISD. She served for 19 years as an educator in Conroe ISD, including 13 years as principal of Deretchin Elementary in The Woodlands, Texas.

Sharon Samuel ’05, has been named managing director of Houston’s Ensemble Theatre, the oldest and largest professional African American theatre in the Southwest. A certified public accountant, she began her career in public accounting with Ernst & Young and later rose through the ranks of CenterPoint Energy.

Tim Penney ’08, has co-founded a new distillery in Austin, Texas named Fierce Whiskers Distillery. With over 15 years of experience running large-scale projects from concept and funding to deployment, Penney handles the distillery’s operations, technology and company finances.

Suzanna Hernandez Bachman ’11, ’14, received her master’s degree in higher education leadership and recently became the director of advising for Temple College.

Chase Giddings ’12, ’20, was named Spring ISD’s first African American high school director of bands at Dekaney High School. Giddings most recently served as the associate director of bands. While still in college studying music education at SHSU, he did his student teaching at Dekaney and at Bammel Middle School.

Stephen Green ’14, a Caney Creek High School journalism teacher, has been selected to receive the Pathfinder Award from the Texas Association of Journalism Educators. This award honors teachers who show enthusiasm for scholastic journalism.

Marisa Saenz ’18, is a general assignment news reporter for WKYC News in Cleveland, Ohio. She previously spent two years in El Paso, Texas, where she started her broadcast career at KFOX14 TV and CBS4 Local.

Joshua Garcia ’20, has been busy with a number of acting projects in the Houston area. He was seen this summer in a digital film adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” He also recently filmed a Big Star Honda Spanish-language commercial and performed in a musical for Main Street Theater.