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2016 July 27 - 05:26 pm

Faculty Lounge

A Summary Listing of Faculty Activities at Colleges Around the Nation

Janet Spersdad, Meeting and Event Management Program director for Madison Area Technical College, (Wisc.) was recently named among the 25 most influential people in the meetings industry for 2016. Sperstad, who has worked at the college since 2002, was among the top educators on the list. She founded and developed the nation's first associate degree in meeting and event management. The degree offers the most meeting planning specific educational credits in the U.S and is aligned to the newly adopted Meeting and Business Event Management Standards. Sperstad has dedicated her career to defining the competencies and career pathways that articulate meeting planning as a design discipline separate and distinct from hospitality, requiring skills in the social sciences, executive leadership and the cognitive sciences.


When Houston Community College (Texas) instructor Christy Sykes picks up her award for being the Houston Educator of the Year by the Texas Chefs Association, her family will barely bat an eye. Sykes has been in love with cooking and food preparation since age eight. Teaching culinary arts to eager students is exactly what her family and colleagues believe she was born to do. Sykes, an 11-year veteran instructor in the HCC Culinary Arts program, was selected by the Houston Chapter of the TCA because of her classroom teaching excellence and her willingness to promote the highest levels of professionalism in the culinary industry to her students. “Christy represents Houston culinary arts educators well,” said Sam Brewster, TCA executive administrator. “Now she will be among seven contestants who will be vying for the statewide title.” Anthony Ruiz, a student in Sykes’ international cuisine class, agrees that Sykes is a top-notch instructor. Ruiz said, “Chef Christy trains us to prepare for careers in the real world, which is good. She’s very talented.” As a child in Syracuse, N.Y., Sykes was in charge of making family meals for a family of five: her parents, her two siblings and herself. She thrived in this challenging role. “It was therapeutic for me to cook,” Sykes recalled. “I loved it.” She went on study culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. Eventually, Sykes graduated magna cum laude from the College of Culinary Arts in Providence in 1999 and moved to Texas, where she worked for various private country clubs in Plano, Sugar Land and Richmond.


Nancy LaBine, director of nursing at Cleveland State Community College, was recently awarded the Tennessee Head Start 2015-16 Community Volunteer of the Year Award by the Family Resource Agency, Inc., Tennessee Early Head Start/Head Start Policy Council. “We don’t expect to receive an award for doing the right thing, but when it happens it really is surprising and humbling,” stated LaBine. “I am honored to have been chosen by my colleagues to receive this award. I appreciate being a part of this council and being involved in the important work they do for the children of Cleveland/Bradley County and beyond.” LaBine has been actively serving the Family Resource Agency, Inc. since 2003 when she learned about the agency’s Harbor Safe House/Family Violence Program through her association with the United Way of Bradley County. She knew immediately that she wanted to be an active part of Harbor Safe House and continues to serve the organization today. In 2004, LaBine was invited to serve on the Head Start/Early Head Start Health Advisory Committee. This committee considers the health and nutrition of all the students in the Head Start programs. She was pleased to accept the invitation and believed that her successful involvement with the Bradley County and Cleveland City Coordinated School Health programs and the Bradley County Healthcare Council would serve her well in the role. In 2013, LaBine was invited to become a member of the Family Resource Agency, Inc. Tennessee Early Head Start/Head Start Policy Council where she became a voting member of the Head Start Agency. As a member of the Policy Council, she has been highly effective in the thoughtful review and decisionmaking required for the agency to stay within federal government regulations. She takes care to understand the issues at hand and is forthcoming with her questions, insight, and reasoning. LaBine recently worked with council members Sherronda Thompson, Head Start director, and Laura Boyd, Family Resource Agency special projects specialist, to complete an in-depth review of a 2016 Early Head Start/Head Start Program Self- Assessment Report. LaBine also participated in the 2016 Self- Assessment report for the Health Advisory Committee with June Montgomery Anderson, the Health/Nutrition/Family Services coordinator.

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