Class Notes

Thomas Ely ’64, was appointed to serve as president-elect of the American Osteopathic Association. After retiring as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps, Ely was in private practice in Clarksville, Tennessee and served as the chief medical officer for the Gateway Medical Center.

Paula Lenz, ’74, was recently inducted into the College of Humanities & Social Sciences Wall of Honor.  After a 40-year career in business followed by retirement, Lenz authored “Driving Into Infinity: Living With My Brother’s Spirit.” She is a conference speaker and is featured on numerous podcasts and YouTube interviews.

Lindsay E. Siriko ’76, a former HPD senior police officer, Texas Top Cop MPO, presented his book “Thai Law Review” to Paitool Pratumpan, chairman of the Chulalongkorn University Library in Bangkok, Thailand.

Rhonda Ellisor ’87, has been named director of SHSU’s Small Business Development Center. She joins the center after serving in the Office of University Advancement for 13 years as director for major gifts and recently development representative for the newly formed SHSU Center for Entrepreneurship.

Dixie Shaw-Tillmon ’97 (MA) was recognized with a Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award by the University of Texas Board of Regents. Now in her 17th year of lecturing at UTSA, she says her motivation for teaching comes from her belief that education will always benefit the students. 

B.J. McMichael ’98, and his wife Holly are transforming second grade reading levels through Arise2Read. The nonprofit program pairs adult volunteers with students struggling with reading in a one-on-one environment. In 2018, they launched Arise2Read in their hometown of Huntsville, Texas with only 47 volunteers. Today, the program has over 200 volunteers, spread across Huntsville ISD’s four elementary schools.

Sonya Sanzo ’00 (MA), has been appointed by Lamar CISD as principal of Reading Junior High School. She has more than 26 years of educational experience and previously served as the principal of Wessendorff Middle School.

Deborah Olson ’01 (MA), published the book “The Healing Power of Girlfriends.” Olson is a women’s emotional health specialist and works with Galleria Counseling & Consulting in Houston.

Zach Tarrant ’03, joined Overture Home Care as executive director in Fort Worth. Tarrant will focus on the administrative aspects of company growth and performance, leading daily operation and management of Overture’s headquarters, service areas, as well as future branch offices. Previously, he served as principal of McAnally Intermediate School in Aledo, Texas.

Robert Horton ’09, ’05, ’12 serves as Conroe ISD’s fine arts coordinator. The district has been nationally recognized as one of the best communities for music education for the eighth consecutive year by the National Association of Music Merchants. Horton has been involved with CISD since 1992, when he started as a teacher. In 2015, he was named fine arts coordinator and has continued to develop the program.

Lance Miles ’17, accepted a position with the Texas Rangers organization where he will take over managerial duties for one of the teams in the Rangers’ Latin America operation.

Katelyn Bruno ’10, ’11 runs a laboratory as an instructor of medicine and research associate at the Mayo Clinic Cardiovascular Medicine Department in Florida. She also works as an adjunct faculty instructor at the University of North Florida in the Department of Biology.

Sarah Cook ’17, is the new director of curriculum, instruction and accountability for the Brenham school district. She has served there since 2004 as an instructional aide, sixth-grade science teacher, CSI teacher and most recently content specialist for science and social studies.

Jordi Viscarri ’19 has been all over the Texas theatre scene since graduation. He performed in the regional premiere of “The View Upstairs” at Uptown Players in Dallas, was part of the company of “A Pocketful of Rhymes” at Unity Theatre in Brenham, and was a singer in the developmental workshop of “Pulsate” at Rec Room in Houston. He is currently in the ensemble of “Evita” at Lyric Stage in Dallas.

Yasmyn Sumiyoshi ’19 joined the cast for TUTS production of “A Chorus Line!” at Houston’s Hobby Center. Yasmyn also traveled to Winston-Salem, NC for the Performing Arts Project where she was an artistic intern. 

Bearkat Family Featured Nationally

Alumni and father-son duo, Bill (’76) and Brett (’07) Slomchinski were recently highlighted in a national video. Texas Farm Credit’s “One Mission Many Voices” contest invited Farm Credit branches to submit original videos conveying the campaign theme. The winners, from Pleasanton, TX, produced a video featuring the Slomchinskis and their family farm in Poteet. For their winning feature, the Slomchinskis were offered $10,000 to be donated to the organizations of their choosing. They gave $5,000 to Sam Houston State University, $2,500 to the Atascosa County Livestock Show and $2,500 the Pleasanton Young Farmers.

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