Outstanding Full-Time and Adjunct Faculty Award

Each year one full-time faculty and one adjunct faculty member at Jackson College is selected to receive an Outstanding Faculty Award. The recipients are chosen on the qualities of excellence in teaching techniques, maintaining superlative rapport with students, use of innovative and interesting approaches; and complete sense of dedication consistent with the finest traditions of Jackson College.

Nominations are due by March 6, 2020

  • Name of the faculty member you are nominating * Required
  • Nominee Criteria

    Please provide a detailed description of why you feel your nominee should be considered for the J. Ward Preston Outstanding Faculty Award for Full Time or JC Part Time Faculty in each of the areas below.
  • Submitted by * Required

Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Recipients

  • 2020 – Tom McMillen Oakley

    Tom McMillen-Oakley


    “I love my students, and I love being a teacher. I am so sad to be away from them now, as many of them thrive in the studio setting. Online is awesome, but it’s not the same,” he said. “It’s been a journey these past few years taking on the role of chair, but I have a great department that is supportive and a lot of fun to work with. I truly couldn’t have done this without them and all the help I get from Kris P.,  Heather W., Karen H. and Char F. I am both honored and humbled at the same time.”

  • 2019 – Larry Choate

    Larry Choate

    Larry Choate


    Assistant Professor Larry Choate works hard to stay current in his teaching. Choate teaches computer networking and cybersecurity courses, fields that require him to continue taking classes, do online training and readings to master these fast-changing fields. Using a hands-on approach in the classroom, he offers students a problem or challenge and then they work together to solve it. He has guided students in Collegiate Cyber Defense Competitions, with teams performing well against both four-year and two-year colleges.

  • 2018 – Kristi Laird

    Kristi Laird


    Kristi Laird

    Kristi Laird has brought mathematics to life for students at Jackson College for 31 years. Working with students each day is a privilege for Laird, who enjoys finding new ways to approach her subject and help students experience success. “No matter what else I do at the college, the time I spend in the classroom working directly with my students is my favorite!” she said.

    For several years, she co-chaired the Achieving the Dream program, helping to implement supplemental instruction in math and shortening the developmental math sequences. Teaching in the Prison Education Initiative, seeing students start to believe in themselves and their future possibilities is very rewarding. She appreciates her colleagues in the math department and their efforts to continuously improve curriculum and pedagogy. She has served on many committees over the years, including Assessment, Curriculum, Foundation Studies, Academic Council and Department Chairs.

  • 2017 – Diana Agy



    Diana Agy

    Professor Diana Agy began teaching at Jackson College in 2006 and has taught all writing, literature and humanities courses. She created the Writing Fellows program, an advanced writing initiative. In 2017, she was named the Maher Endowed Chair for Regional History, recognizing her leadership of history projects that help students develop their research skills and learn about our local community.

  • 2016 – Kristin Spencer



    Dr. Kristin Spencer

    Dr. Kristin Spencer, professor and program director, came to Jackson College in 2010 to teach and coordinate the medical assistant program. She also chairs the allied health department. In addition to teaching, she has created several programs, including health administration/insurance specialist, allied health general studies, medical office support, phlebotomy tech, EKG tech and Electronic Health Records specialist.

  • 2015 – Ted Miller



    Ted Miller

    Professor Ted Miller has taught for the College since 2002, after teaching in Japan for 14 years. He teaches several reading and freshman seminar courses, helping students better prepare for their college experience. He also chairs the Foundation Studies Department and has been active in developing the pathways initiative. Ted is a very active member of our Jackson community.

  • 2014 – Amelia Gamel



    Amelia Gamel

    Assistant Professor Amy Leighton Gamel began teaching part-time as an adjunct in 2001 and became full-time in 2010. She teaches college reading courses, and improving students’ reading ability is a focus of efforts. Amy has presented workshops to fellow faculty on reading across the curriculum. She is a published author, writing about how to develop college readers and retaining first-generation students.

  • 2013 – Colleen Chadderton



    Colleen Chadderton

    Professor Colleen Chadderton joined the nursing faculty in 1982 and taught for 32 years before retiring in 2014. She taught in the Practical Nurse Certificate program, the Transition Bridge program and the Associate in Applied Science-Nursing program at the College. In the community, she was affiliated with Head Start for more than 20 years, helping to provide physicals to children.

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Recipients

  • 2020 – Vincent Maltese


    Vincent Maltese


    “When I was told that I had won the award I was surprised and humbled. Surprised since I was expecting a typical Zoom meeting with mathematics faculty, and humbled since I have met so very many outstanding adjunct faculty members during my time at Jackson College. The two things I enjoy most about my job are making a positive difference in the lives of students and working as an integral part of an outstanding faculty, staff and administration.”

  • 2019 – Morton Cohn

    Morton Cohn


    Teaching gives adjunct instructor Morton Cohn the opportunity to feel useful and to make a difference in students’ lives. An adjunct instructor for 10 years, he teaches primarily composition and literature courses but has also taught humanities, first-year seminar, political science and history. He appreciates the opportunity to reach students who, for perhaps very good reasons, were hard to reach. He continues to work to reach and relate to today’s students. He enjoys his time in the classroom and the opportunity to continue helping students.

  • 2018 – Jean Davis

    Jean Davis


    Jean Davis

    Jean Davis has taught in the medical assistant program since 2014. She enjoys helping students develop the skills needed to succeed, to develop confidence in their skills and enter the medical field. Seeing students become successful healthcare professional in the community, become Certified Medical Assistants, and even return to the classroom after graduation to tell current students all the hard work is worth it, makes the job very meaningful. She also receives the 2018 Trends in Occupational Studies Adjunct Outstanding Educator Award.

  • 2017 – Greg Meschke



    Greg Meschke

    Instructor Greg Meschke has taught English and communications classes at Jackson College for 32 years. Though he’s been teaching three decades, his students continue to teach and inspire him. During his experience at the College, he’s taught under three presidents and with many faculty, all progressing the institution forward. New campus locations and new facilities continue to make each day exciting, but he says the bottom line is about what happens in class.

  • 2016 – Cynthia Valentine



    Cynthia Valentine

    Cynthia Valentine began teaching music classes at Jackson College in 2013. She has been a public school teacher and traveled as a jazz singer, recording three CDs. After completing her bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate at The Ohio State University, she taught for 10 years in the public schools. Cynthia teaches Understanding Music and History of American Popular Music, and she makes her classes fun through activities like Jazz Jeopardy so students leave with a new appreciation for styles of music.

  • 2015 – Mary Jo Kennedy



    Mary Jo Kennedy

    Mary Jo Kennedy spent 30 years as a police officer, and began teaching as an adjunct instructor in 2007. She teaches police administration, introduction to criminal justice, introduction to corrections, and crime and delinquency. She has helped to coordinate corrections training and also serves as student conduct officer. In the classroom, she enjoys seeing students learn and helping them see the world in a different light. She has written many references for students and celebrates each time one is hired.

  • 2014 – Gedy Love



    Gedy Love

    Instructor Gedy Love began her career teaching middle school students, and in her retirement is teaching college students. She has taught a variety of courses, including technical communications, developmental psychology, introduction to psychology, education and early childhood, math, basic writing courses, stress management and wellness. Knowing what students really need and can benefit from, even if it goes beyond the textbook lesson, is important. She has also served as a college dean and chief academic officer.

  • 2013 – Patti Benson



    Patti Benson

    Patti Benson began teaching business courses at Jackson College in 2000. Like the path of many of students, Patti once found herself in a job where she wasn’t happy, retail management, and decided to go back to college to do something about it. As an instructor, she taught a variety of business courses – leadership, management, human relations in business, contemporary business and more. She loves watching students achieve their goals.