First Cohort of Highlander Leadership Academy Selected

Members of the first cohort of the Highlander Leadership Academy recently met for the first of six sessions designed to help the participants develop leadership skills to strengthen their current roles and help prepare them for future leadership positions.

“The Highlander Leadership Academy will provide a forum for faculty and staff to partner together and advance the Highlander Ethos concept,” said Gordon State College President Kirk A. Nooks. “The first session surpassed my expectations for how the first cohort would take shape. The energy was contagious, and our students will be the beneficiary of our efforts.”

Members of the inaugural class represent both faculty and staff and include Dr. Kiana Battle, Assistant Professor of Sociology; Dr. Tonya Coleman, Director of Residence Life; Dr. Chad Davies, Professor of Physics; Jody DeFore, Assistant Vice President for Financial Services; Alicia Dorton, Director of Counseling; Dr. Sonya Gaither, Library Director and Professor of Library Science; Britt Lifsey, Director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness;

Sharon Lloyd, Director of Student Activities; Dr. Tonya Moore, Career Services Director; Tony Pearson, Associate Professor of Theatre; Dr. Steve Raynie, Professor of English and Director of College Readiness; Dr. Lynn Rumfelt, Associate Professor of Biology;  Laura Shadrick, Academic Affairs Operations Manager; Dr. Patricia Stewart, Department Head for BSN and Associate Professor of Nursing; Ryran Traylor, Lecturer of Health Information Management and Minority Advising Coordinator; and James Woodruff, Student Success Advisor/Lecturer

During the first session, participants met with facilitators, Dr. Mary Lynn Realff and Dr. Renita Washington, both from Georgia Tech who led the Academy participants through an afternoon of exploring their strengths.  More importantly, participants learned how their own individual strengths are complemented by the strengths of others, and how that synergy is necessary to fully realize the Highlander ethos.    

“One of the most exiting aspects of the Highlander Leadership Academy is the wide diversity of this first cohort of participants, as they represent leadership across multiple divisions of the college,” said Provost Jeffery Knighton. “This is an exciting time in Gordon State’s history, and these leaders will play an important role in writing that history.”

The Highlander Ethos is the fundamental spirit of Gordon State College that places our students, and their experiences, at the heart of everything. In order to foster this ethos, the Highlander Leadership Academy was established to inform the beliefs, customs and practices of the entire institution.