Sixteen Jones College faculty and staff members were recently honored for their accomplishments in the workplace over the previous year. The Employee Appreciation Awards began in 2004 with funds contributed by retired JCJC president Dr. Ronald Whitehead and the college’s Foundation, Inc.  

Finalists were selected and interviewed by the Faculty and Staff Recognition Program’s selection committee. In compliance with the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19, honored faculty and staff gathered on the patio of the president’s house, while all other employees watched the announcement via live stream.

“We wanted to honor and appreciate all of our employees who have worked especially hard this last year as we managed numerous changes, instead of canceling the Employee Appreciation Event,” said Joel Cain, VP of Advancement and Athletics and Dean of Students. “There are so many employees who deserve recognition, but we had to narrow it down to a smaller group to give big rewards. Hopefully, we will be able to return to our normal celebration with an afternoon of food, fellowship and thanking employees for their service to the college, soon.”

Three individual awards were bestowed upon vital members of the Jones family. The Leadership Award for Administrative Excellence was established five years ago to honor a mid-level administrator whose commitment to the profession stands out amongst their peers. Amanda McLeod was selected as the recipient of the 2019 Leadership Award for Administrative Excellence. 

The 2005 JC graduate is currently serving as the assistant vice president for enrollment management. The Ellisville native earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Mississippi College and her Master of Social Work from the University of Southern Mississippi. She has been employed at Jones for six years and works with the academic counselors, admissions and recruiting personnel.

“Amanda has demonstrated daily, her commitment to her profession and the college. She really stands out and does a fantastic job in managing people,” Jones College President Dr. Jesse Smith said as he awarded McLeod a $500 check and plaque.

JC and its cafeteria management company SODEXO honored Andy “Chia” Wu with the SODEXO Employee Award of Excellence. Wu has been with Sodexo for eight years as the executive chef. He has owned his own restaurant and has been the chef at Canebrake Country Club in Hattiesburg. He received a $500 cash prize as the SODEXHO Employee of the Year. 

English instructor Rochelle Dahmer was selected to receive the Barbara and Gary Sauls Award for Excellence in Teaching Humanities. The Humanities Division faculty member exemplifies intellectual integrity in the classroom, and has encouraged independent analytical thinking skills, loves humanitarian pursuits and fosters a positive rapport with students. This award was initiated by JCJC alumni Mr. and Mrs. Gary W. “Buddy” and Barbara Sauls. Their daughter Tracy was a 1990 JCJC graduate. Mr. Sauls was a former JCJC Board of Trustees member and Barbara Sauls is currently on the JCJC Foundation’s Advisory Board.  Dahmer was awarded a $500 cash prize and an acrylic plaque.

Additionally, twelve individuals from three categories of employees, faculty members, office staff and administrative support, and employees working in, maintenance, housekeeping, campus grounds and campus police were each awarded certificates of achievement. Faculty finalists each received a cash prize of $250 and the overall winner received an additional $750 and an acrylic plaque. Each staff employee finalist was awarded a cash prize of $125 and the overall winner received an extra $500 and an acrylic plaque.

The finalists for the faculty awards were associate degree nursing instructor Lauren Bell; health, physical education and recreation instructor Katie Herrington; fine arts instructor and assistant director of bands Dr. Lindsey Keay; engineering and design technology-CAD instructor Karen Kirk; and foreign language instructor Dana Knight. Herrington was chosen for the overall JC Faculty of the Year Award. She has been coaching and teaching for a total of 32 years at Jones.

Hope Taylor of student affairs was selected as the Employee of the Year for the Office Staff and Administrative Support division. The Seminary native moved to Ellisville when she began her education at Jones College. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Technology from USM in 2019 while also working at Jones. Taylor began her career at JC almost five years ago as the One Card Assistant before becoming the Student Success Center’s administrative assistant and manager of Tutoring Services. As an admissions counselor, Taylor said she enjoys helping students find their pathway to success.

In the maintenance, housekeeping, campus grounds and campus police departments division, 

Doug Messemore from the grounds department took the top spot as Employee of the Year. 

Also, during the Jones College Faculty Appreciation virtual program, The JCJC Faculty/Staff Association awarded Lucy Flowers with the Officer of the Year Award.

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