Winter 2012 Class News


Dr. Judy Butler Dr. Judy Butler69 has been promoted to the rank of full professor at the University of West Georgia.   Although she has 42 years of experience in the field of education, only 16 of those have been in higher education. She has published over 40 articles and book chapters, presented at international, national, state, and local conferences over 70 times, and has provided service to national, state, local, and university committees and boards. During her tenure at UWG, she has received the Georgia Board of Regents’ Chancellor’s Award to study in South Africa and Zimbabwe. She is a Governor’s Teaching Fellow, was honored by the Georgia Council for the Social Studies as Educator of the Year in 2004, and was chosen by the Student Government Association as Faculty Member of the Year in 2009.

Jack Daugherty ’66 and his sons, Brian and Mike, (Daugherty Property Group) are investing $24 million for the Hilton Garden Inn and Texarkana, Texas, Convention Center on Cowhorn Creek Road, including funds designated from the
city’s hotel/motel tax collections. The convention center will feature a ball room with seating for 1,000 which can be cordoned off into separate rooms for multiple events. An outdoor event area is also planned. The six story Hilton Garden Inn will offer 155 rooms. The site should be opened for business in 15 months.

Jake Looney ’66 will run for election to the Arkansas Court of Appeals in May seeking the District 4 position held by a judge who plans to retire. Looney, who lives in Mena, is judge for the 18th West Judicial Circuit which includes Montgomery and Polk counties. He also served as dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law for eight years and
was a faculty member for 20 years.

Charles Purtle ’68 was recently honored by the Arkansas Forestry Association as its 2011 Communicator of the Year. The award recognizes someone who has done an outstanding job of promoting Forestry in Arkansas. As a tree farmer, Purtle has been instrumental in helping other forest owners learn the value of forest management.

Jenny Wingfield ’69 wrote the screenplays for the 1991 film The Man in the Moon and 2002’s The Outsider. Her debut novel, The Homecoming of Samuel’s Lake, is set on a sprawling farm in southern Arkansas where the Moses family gathers every year. The novel includes faith, honesty, sin, redemption, a miracle or two and a surprise ending.


Eddie Cheatham ’71 is seeking the position of Arkansas State Senator for District 26. The newly drawn district includes Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Drew and parts of Cleveland, Desha and Lincoln counties. Cheatham has 6 years of experience serving in the House of Representatives and is chairman of the House Education Committee. He also serves on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs, Legislative Council, Joint Energy, Joint Education Adequacy and the interim joint Agricultural and Economic Developing Committee. In 2011, he was selected by the Arkansas Municipal League as
a Distinguished Legislator of the Year. He was also appointed by Governor Mike Beebe to serve on the Southern Region Education Board. In 2010, Cheatham received the Arkansas Career and Technical Education Legislator of the Year

David Dodson ’72 was one of the judges for the Grand Prairie Festival of Arts in Stuttgart in September. Dodson is an instructor of photography at the Arkansas Center and will use his professional background to judge the different variety of arts accepted.

Joyce Elliott ‘73 has been appointed as executive director of the Central Little Rock Promise Neighborhood, a group effort to work with children from generally low-income neighborhoods from birth to employment. This effort could include health care, recreation, family services, after school programs and more.

Dr. Jerry Guess ’73, Arkansas’ 2008 superintendent of the year, has been appointed as the Pulaski County Special School District superintendent. Guess has more than 30 years experience in education and was the superintendent of the Camden-Fairview district in Ouachita County for 15 years.

Scott ’76 and Deena (Phillips) Hardin ’83 are the new owners of Miller’s Cafeteria in Magnolia.

Jan Kay (Loe) Hastings ’78 has been named associate dean for development at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy. Hastings has served on the UAMS College of Pharmacy faculty since 1993, most recently as associate professor of pharmacy practice.

Mary Nell (Crisp) Jameson ’70, senior vice-president and loan officer, recently celebrated her 25th anniversary with BancorpSouth in Magnolia. She is a direct endorsement FHA underwriter and has received her license as a resident produce agent to sell life and disability insurance.

Glen Minor ’70 of American Legion Post #232 in White Hall was recently elected as the 2011-2012 State Commander  of the American Legion for the State of Arkansas by the American Legion Department of Arkansas.

Dr. S. Ann (Smith) Wilson ’76, ‘77, associate professor and chair of the Department of General Business at Stephen F. Austin State University, was named 2011 Outstanding Teacher at a meeting of the Association for Business Communication-Southwestern United states.

Benny R. Zachary ’77 recently retired from full time teaching after 33 years, the last 18 years at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. He will continue to teach part-time in the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane
University in New Orleans.


Candy (Smith) Adams ’86, ’91, financial advisor, has become an Ameriprise Platinum Financial Services advisor based on the success of her financial services practice. Adams is one of the approximately 10 percent of the 10,000 Ameriprise financial advisors to achieve this status.

Debbie Arnold ’85, vice president of marketing for BancorpSouth, recently celebrated her 25th anniversary with the bank. In her role with the bank, she coordinates the sales and marketing efforts in Magnolia, El Dorado, Camden,
Hope, Lewisville and DeQueen. Her areas of responsibility have recently expanded to include Little Rock, Hot Springs, Stuttgart, Carlisle, Hazen, Humnoke and Brinkley.

Bill Brasher Jr. ’86, 95 is leaving Magnolia High School for a job at Cabot High School. At Cabot, Brasher will be the assistant cross country and track coach and will teach three history classes.

James Paul Brewer ’80 recently received a plaque from the Columbia County NAACP. Brewer an assistant superintendent of the Longview, Texas, Independent School District, was the keynote speaker at the 2011 baccalaureate
program held at the Donald W. Reynolds Campus and Community Center.

Lois Ann (Reddick) Chambliss ’78, ’90 recently received the Arkansas Southeast Region’s Counselor of the Year Award. Lois is a high school counselor at Watson Chapel High School in Pine Bluff, AR.

Amanda (Butler) Cooley ’86, ’05 was recently honored as one of three educators of the year in Nevada County. Cooley was chosen as the Nevada School Teacher of the Year. Cooley has been teaching for 25 years.

Mike Cox ’85 was hired as head football coach at Hamburg High School.

Rebecca (Cheatham) Hatfield ’87, ’93 retired this year from Magnolia High School after 23 years of service. She has taught at MJHS for two years and MHS for four. Hatfield also taught at McNeil, Stamps, and Lafayette County schools.

Rick Ogden ’81 was recognized as Superintendent of the Year for region VIII in Texas. He is superintendent in Hughes Springs, Texas, and has been in the Hughes Springs School District for 30 years as teacher, coach and principal.

Mitch Seabaugh ‘81, a Georgia state senator, has been named deputy state treasurer for the State of Georgia.

Russ Sherrill ’86 began serving as principal of Springhill Elementary School in July 2011. He has also served as chair of the Saline County Crisis Response Team and as middle school/junior high vice president and co-chair of the Critical Incident/Crisis Response Committee of the Arkansas School Counselor Association.


Stephen Attebery ‘93 has been promoted to counseling services coordinator at Life Touch Hospice. He is now responsible for the coordination of the bereavement, chaplaincy, and social services programs to ensure that the needs of Life Touch Hospice patients and their families are met.

Daniel Clark ’09 and his wife Tiffany have moved to Idabel, Okla. Daniel is the associate pastor and choir director for Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, and Tiffany will work at a school in Broken Bow.

Sterling Claypoole ’94 with Project South was a guest speaker for the Civitan Club in El Dorado. He is senior crisis chaplain for the El Dorado fire and police departments. Claypoole is a native of El Dorado.

Gina Cross ’97 has moved up in her officiating career to the NCAA Division I level in women’s basketball.

Tim Evans ’91 will step in to lead the NJCAA program at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Monty Malone ’93 was the speaker at Respect the Rotation Media Day event, July 19, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn., sponsored by Bayer Crop Science. Malone is an agronomist with Bayer’s HBK Seed Team.

Christian Martin ’95 was named vice president of claims by Integrity Insurance. Martin previously served as director of commercial claims at Allied Insurance Co. in Des Moines, Iowa. He has 16 years of insurance experience.

Jesse L. Radford III ’96 recently published his first book, Clearing the Cloud of Compromise: Upholding the Original Kingdom Standard. The book is faith based and is available on

Kevin Solomon ’99 was promoted to associate dean for student success at Arkansas Tech University. He will oversee retention efforts, Greek life, intramural and recreational sports, student activities and orientation and student life programs within the Office of Student Services. He has been a member of the Arkansas Tech staff since 2005.

Robert Upshaw ’92 was recognized by the members of Rainwater, Holt & Sexton law firm for 17 years of continued hard work and dedication in making a positive difference in students’ lives across the state. He is the director of the Central Arkansas Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Gaye (Harman) ‘93 and Ted Waters ‘93 of Willisville have been named the Nevada County Farm Family of the Year. The family lives and works on a farm that produces hay, chickens, and cows.


Brittney Bennett ’04, ’06 is the new assistant coach at the Georgia College softball program where she will serve  primarily as the pitching coach and will also work with the catchers and outfield. She will also have a role in recruiting and alumni relations.

Chris Davis ’11, former Bobo Shinn art award winner, was commissioned by SIFE to paint a mural on the wall at the tennis court at East Side Park. The mural, which took Davis a month to plan and two months to paint, features bright primary colors and silhouettes of people performing community service. The mural is part of SIFE’s “We heart Magnolia” project, which focuses on community service and improving Magnolia and the quality of life of its citizens.

Ciera Harris ’09 joined Hope Public Schools as a faculty member of Yerger Middle School.

Tomika Reed-Hunter ’03 received an award for Technology Rising Star for helping shape technology for the future at the 16th annual “Women of Color” Magazine STEM conference.

Mary King ’00 is the new circulation manager of the Banner-News. She previously worked in the office supply and advertising departments of the Banner-News.

James Brent Talley ’00 is a candidate for State Representative of District 3. The district now covers most of  Hempstead and Nevada counties. Talley worked for Congressman Mike Ross for several years, running the Prescott office and dealing with agricultural issues across the district.

Jessica Lawson ’06 earned the Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy in Little Rock on May 21, 2011.

Jason Lineberry ’03 of Magnolia was honored with the Pat Thomas Memorial Pharmacy Scholarship, the College of Pharmacy Scholarship and the Rural Pharmacy Practice Student Loan/ Scholarship at the annual student awards ceremony of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy. He is a second year pharmacy student.

Elner (Spears) Makia ’05, creator of Eljoy Designs, was asked to show her designs at various fashion weeks in different cities, including New York and Washington, D.C. She is also the author of Plain Talk for Women: The key to Getting Married and Tips for Staying Married, published in 2004 by the Educational Enhancement Group.

Lauren (Maloch) Mitchell ‘06 earned the Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy in Little Rock on May 21, 2011.

Valerie L. Norris ’07 passed the July 2011 Texas Bar Examination. After a swearing in ceremony on Nov. 14, 2011, in Austin, Valerie became a licensed attorney in the state of Texas.

Dean Oliver ’04 has joined the Summit Bank team as Wealth Management’s newest financial advisor/officer.

Toby Stephens ’98, Masters ‘08  is one of the newest members of the Board of Directors for the Springhill~North Webster Chamber of Commerce. Stephens is currently the executive director for the North Webster Parish Industrial District of Cullen, La.

Skyler Stromsmoe ’08 was signed by the Giants as a non-drafted free agent in 2007. Since then he has played in cities throughout the organization. This year he has manned every position except catcher.

Joshua Talley ’08 completed the Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences degree in the College of Health Sciences at Midwestern University. He has recently been accepted into Midwestern University’s College of Dental Medicine in Downers Grove, Ill.

Jamie Waller ’03 was installed as the 2011-2012 secretary/ treasurer of the Arkansas Bankers Association’s Emerging Leaders Section Council at the annual Emerging Leaders Conference, which was held in Little Rock. Waller is  vice-president of Peoples Bank in Magnolia, where his responsibilities include serving as a loan officer and branch  manager.

Faculty, Staff, & Friends

Sharon Ard (faculty, Music) is one of only six people from Arkansas to receive the Music Teachers National Association Foundation Fellowship Award. Ard will travel to New York in March to be presented with her honor. The Foundation fellowship award is an award given to those who have distinguished themselves as outstanding music teachers and those who have also done a lot of service work within the organization.

Mary Armwood was selected as Southern Arkansas University’s 2011 Honor Professor.

Margaret Downing (Faculty) was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame on February 3, 2012 at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock. Downing is a former SAU women’s basketball coach.

Jason Goodrich (former Police Chief) has been selected by Lamar University as Chief of Police. He began his duties in September 2011. He previously served as captain for the Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he supervised 30
police officers and 20 community service officers.

Tim Tommerup who served from 2000-2004 as program director, instructor and staff athletic trainer at Southern Arkansas University before moving to Transylvania University where he was hired as the school’s first full-time athletic
trainer, has been named head athletic trainer at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash.

Wes Johnson (former staff) was added to the Patriots coaching staff at Dallas Baptist University. Johnson will oversee all aspects of the Patriot pitching staff and assist in recruiting efforts as well.

Please send any class news, weddings, anniversaries, or “Little Muleriders” to


More stories from this issue

Receive the Stater in the mail

If you're an SAU Alum, just update your information to receive the print copy of The Stater twice a year!

Submit updates to the Stater

Do you have an idea for a story for the Stater or Alumni news update? Fill out this online form to submit your update!