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Staff Bios

Peter Higgins

Mr. Peter Higgins has been the Director of Student Success at Gordon State College since August 2008. He was born in Boston, MA, went to high school in North Carolina, earned an MA in American Literature at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis), and did graduate work at the University of Tennessee. In addition to his duties as Director of Student Success, Mr. Higgins also teaches FIRE and STAR at Gordon and remains the Faculty Fellow in Residence for academic year 2018 - 2019.


Valerie Calhoun

Ms. Valerie Calhoun earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music Literature and a Masters of Music in Music Literature from the University of Georgia. She has taught music classes and music appreciation classes at Gordon for many years. She also served as Interim Admissions Director in 2017. Ms. Calhoun joined the Student Success Center as an Academic Success Lecturer and Advisor in August 2018. She teaches the Freshmen Introduction to Reasoning Essentials (FIRE) course for first-year students in addition to being a faculty advisor. Ms. Calhoun is also currently working with a class of First Generation College students.


Sue Gilpin

 Ms. Sue Gilpin is Gordon State College's Testing Center Coordinator. Sue has worked at Gordon State College since 2003, moving to the Student Success Center in 2009 and to the Testing Center in 2013. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Gordon State College in 2016.


Tonya Moore

Dr. Tonya Moore has worked with Gordon State College since January 2009. She began as the Gordon @ Fort Valley Program Coordinator until May of 2012. She currently serves as a Professional Academic Advisor within the Student Success Center, Non-Traditional Student Advisor/Coordinator and the advisor for the recently established GSC Toastmasters International Club. Tonya Moore also serves as a professor within the Business and Social Sciences Department. A Michigan native, she earned her Bachelor's Degree from Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN and her Master's Degree from Bellarmine University, Louisville, Kentucky. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral Degree from The University of Southern Mississippi in Human Capital Development.


Sonya Okoli

Dr. Sonya Okoli is a native of Charleston S.C and a former Community College Academic Dean. With this, she has a wealth of experiences in college readiness, first-generation, minority student outreach and P-16 grant funding development in programmatic initiatives for at-risk student success. As a proud graduate of Fisk University (Nashville, Tn.) where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Dr. Okoli experienced many of the same barriers and challenges students face today; not just getting into college but crossing the finish line. Due to the institutional support she received as an undergraduate student she was able to go on to pursue not just a master’s degree but a Doctorate in Urban Education at Clark Atlanta University and Post-Doctoral Research Training in Multicultural & Diversity Studies from The University of Georgia. Thus her strong commitment to advocacy and paying it forward by exposing aspiring college graduates to similar tools and resources needed to empower them to believe they already have what it takes to experience the attainment of a college degree too.


Wanda Stuckey

Dr. Wanda Stuckey is a former high school English teacher who now now serves as an Academic Advisor in the Student Success Center. She has a B.A., M.Ed., and Ed.S. in English and English Education from Columbus State University, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Northcentral University. Additionally, Wanda has National Teaching Certification through NBPTS and a Certificate in Information Technology through Macon State College (now Middle Georgia State University). Wanda first came to Gordon's Humanities division in 2007 before moving to the Student Success Center in 2011.


James Woodruff

Mr. James Woodruff earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Lander University in Psychology and a Masters of Education degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of South Carolina. Mr. Woodruff has over ten years of experience in higher education. Before joining Gordon in 2015, Mr. Woodruff worked as the Academic Advising, Counseling, and Retention advisor at Georgia State University at Perimeter. Mr. Woodruff teaches the Freshmen Introduction to Reasoning Essentials (FIRE) course for first-year students and serves as the Athletic Academic Advising Advisor to NJCAA Division I college athletics, and primary academic advisor to Learning Support and the African-American Male Initiative (AAMI). In 2016, Mr. Woodruff received a certificate of completion from The Global Community for Academic Advising, also known as NACADA, for his participation in a course designed to improve academic success and eligibility certification for student-athletes.