Professional Development Week Underway

Professional Development Day
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
PAC Auditorium

8:00   Breakfast

8:30   Welcome Back!

  • Employee Recognition
  • Announcements

9:15   President’s Address

9:45 – 11:30  Keynote Talk:

  • Mr. Roy Juarez Jr.,  Author of Homeless by Choice
  • Student Panel: “Our Students: Their Journey”

11:45 – 1:00  Campus Lunch for All Employees at the Gym

See the entire week’s schedule: Professional Development Week Schedule

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Driving Excellence

Lee College presents at 2019 Blackboard World Conference

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Dr. Laura Lane-Worley, Cassandra Cookson, and Dr. Rashmi Chhetri leading a panel discussion on creating inclusive environments.

Dr. Carolyn Lightfoot, Cassandra Cookson, Dr. Laura Lane-Worley, Paula Lee, and Dr. Rashmi Chhetri represented Lee College at the 2019 Blackboard World Conference held recently in Austin, Texas. The annual conference provides an opportunity for experts in education to share best practices and strategies to create a more efficient campus. Lane-Worley, Cookson, and Chhetri presented in a panel session entitled, “Proactive Perspectives: Planning for a More Inclusive Environment,” which focused on the positive effect of our Instructional Designer, Lee College’s Community of Online Teaching and Learning, Quality Matters, and the integration of Blackboard ALLY.

In October 2019, Monica Martinez will join Chhetri and Lane-Worley to present, “Building Excellence: A Community of Online Teaching & Learning where Quality Matters,” at the Quality Matters Conference in Grapevine, Texas.

This December, Dr. Veronique Tran, along with Lane-Worley and Martinez, will present, “Redefining Faculty Professional Development: An Innovative Cohort Model of Training and Support for Online Teaching,” at the 2019 annual meeting of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in Houston, Texas.

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Celebrating 15 years of friendship, service

group photo of advisory committee

Lynne Foley (front left) is pictured with the Red Hat Society Advisory Committee.

Lee College’s Scarlett YaYa’s chapter of the Red Hat Society celebrated 15 years of philanthropy, fun, and sisterhood on Wed., Aug. 14, during a celebration luncheon. Dedicated to enriching the lives of women, the Society provides a path to reconnect with friends, give back to the community, and promote positive “Hattitues!”

The celebration, hosted by Senior Adult and Travel Program Manager Lynne Foley, included recognition of Director of Operations, Delma Garica, and a “passing of the hat” to Naomi Cooper, who will oversee the Chapter upon Foley’s retirement later this month. Attendees also enjoyed a fashion show, guest speakers, door prizes, party favors, recognition of the Red Hat Advisory Committee, and a delicious lunch with dessert. 

Photo of Delma Garcia and Lynne Foley

Delma Garcia (left) and Lynne Foley.

Photo of Naomi Cooper and Lynne Foley

Lynne Foley (right) “passes the hat” to Naomi Cooper who will now oversee the chapter.

Become a member of the Red Hat Society by registering for any Red Hat event online, or call 281.425.6311.

Watch the Senior Adult and Travel Program video

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Lee College in the community

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Representatives from Lee College Center for Workforce and Community Development, Karina Vera, Meia Taylor, and Tena Nightingale participated in the “Back 2 School” event hosted by BST Casanovas at Barrett Station last week. Over 60 free haircuts were given, and students in need of assistance received free backpacks, supplies and food. The team also shared information with students about available scholarships and tuition assistance. Thank you for everything you do to enrich our community!

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Massage therapy available for employees

Massage therapist, Jayme Lawhon, will offer massage therapy sessions at the main Lee College campus in Baytown starting Monday, Aug. 26, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (the last massage may begin at 2 p.m.), and Friday, Aug. 30 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (the final massage will end by 2 p.m.).  Massages are available in 15, 30, or 60-minute sessions in either a chair or table massage. All massages will be given in the female student locker room of the arena.  The cost is $25 – 15 min, $40 – 30 min, $75 – 60 min. Ten percent of all monies collected will be donated back to Lee College to assist in employee wellness program incentives. To schedule a massage, contact Jason Summers, Wellness Coordinator, with the day, time, length and type of massage you are requesting. Appointments will be filled on a first come, first served basis.  If you have questions, contact Jason Summers,, or 281-425-6439.

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Lynne Foley Retirement Party, Aug. 29

Over the past 30 years, the Senior Adult and Travel Program at Lee College has truly flourished. Our adventures have taken us to different regions of the world where we have made new friends, witnessed breathtaking sights, and created beautiful memories—all because of the hard work and dedication of Program Manager, Lynne Foley. Please join the Center for Workforce and Community Development as we send Mrs. Foley off with a “Ticket to Retirement” on Thursday, August 29. This come-and-go event will run from 3-5 p.m. at the Rundell Hall Conference Center. Light refreshments will be served with Dr. Brown saying a few words at 3:15 p.m. 

For any questions, please contact Naomi Cooper at or at ext. 6241. 

image of ticket

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Lee College Alliance announces 2019 Distinguished Alumni

Former students, supporters and friends gathered on Aug. 6 as Lee College Alliance presented its most prestigious awards given to alumni. This year’s awards were presented in three categories: John Britt ‘57, Distinguished Alumnus; Mary Beth Wendel Woods ‘75, Meritorious Award; and Melanie Stewart ‘08, Outstanding Young Alumnus.

The Distinguished Alumni title is reserved for exceptional alumni, or friends of the College, who have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in their profession, life’s work, or community service.

The guest speaker for the evening was author and Lee College alumnus, Glenn Blake ’76, who shared an excerpt from his latest book, The Old and The Lost.

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Photo of John Britt

Distinguished Alumnus, John Britt ’57

John Britt ‘57, a well-known and beloved professor at Lee College for 53 years, was named Distinguished Alumnus, the highest honor given to alumni by the Lee College Alliance. The award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated a lifetime of distinguished service and extraordinary achievement in their career, profession, life’s work, military service, or cause that brings distinction to the College.

Donna Britt accepted the award on behalf of her late husband who passed away in 2018.

“Lee College presented him with an opportunity,” Britt said of her husband. “And it was here he wanted to make a difference in this community.”

Britt spent his entire career helping students succeed not only at Lee College, but often as a mentor for students after they left to pursue other endeavors. He earned an associate’s degree from Lee College in 1957, and a bachelor’s degree in history from Sam Houston State University in 1959. He began teaching at Lee College in 1964, and in 1966, he and four fellow teachers created the Offender Education Program in which they taught college courses inside local prisons. Britt taught inside prisons for 20 years, and the program is still going strong today with enrollment that exceeds 1,000 students.

In 1974, Britt created and began teaching the interdisciplinary honors American Studies class at Lee College. He also served as the co-managing editor for Touchstone, a journal of undergraduate research published by the Texas State Historical Association and the Center for Texas Studies at Austin.

Photo of Donna Britt speaking.

Donna Britt, accepting the Distinguished Alumnus Award on behalf of her late husband, John Britt.

As part of his honors program effort, he applied for and worked on grants totaling $94,000 to fund scholarships and buy needed equipment. He also played a leading role in the creation of the Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Honors Council, which is a consortium of honors programs among community colleges along the upper Texas coast.

Britt served on the board of directors of the Texas State Historical Association, including the Webb Society, and the Former Texas Rangers Foundation, and on the executive committees of the Chambers County Historical Commission, the Wallisville Heritage Park, the Monica Boyd Literacy Foundation, the Friends of the Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Center, and the National Collegiate Honors Council. He also served as the president of the Great Plains Honors Council.

He received numerous awards, including the 1997 Ima Hogg Historical Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Texas History from the Friends of Winedale, Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. He also received the Leadership in Education Award in 1999 from the Texas State Historical Association.

He and his wife were granted the first David DeBoe award in 1999 for contributions to the National History Day program in Texas from the Texas State Historical Association. In 1996, The American Association for State and Local History awarded Britt with a Certificate of Commendation for the American Studies publication titled, “From Humble Beginnings…,” and in 2000, he earned the Association of Communication College Trustees Western Region Faculty Award.

At Lee College, the Board of Regents created the endowed John Britt Honors Chair in 2007, and renamed the Social Science Building in his honor—John Britt Hall—in 2013.

Meritorious Award

Photo of Beth Woods

Meritorious Award, Mary Beth Wendel Woods ’75

Mary Beth Wendel Woods ’75, president of Peach Marketing Advertising and Communications in Austin, Texas, received the Meritorious Award, which recognizes outstanding alumni for achievements in their life’s work and their service and contributions to the mission and success of Lee College.

Woods attended Lee College in 1974-1975, where she was one of the first students to participate in what would become the Lee College Honors Program under the late John Britt. After she completed 42 hours at Lee College, she then transferred to The University of Texas and earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations, and a Secondary in Education in 1978.

She began her career in Houston as a market research analyst, then a year later assumed an account executive position with an advertising firm in Austin, Texas.

Most recently she has owned her own Marketing and Communications firm, Peach Marketing, for the past 28 years. During her career, she has worked extensively with many well-known clients including M&M Mars, DR Horton Homes, and Texas Workforce Commission, just to name a few.

Woods has 40 years of advertising and marketing experience with local, national and international clients. Since 1991, she has shared her knowledge by mentoring more than 40 college students through paid internships to learn all aspects of advertising and running a business.

Over the years, she has been actively involved in Public Relations Society of America; Jr. Achievement Board of Directors, Bronze Leadership Award; Austin Advertising Federation; National Association of Senior Living Industry; Austin Alliance of Advertising Principals; Caritas; Women in Communications, Inc.; Mobile Loaves and Fishes; KLRU Public Broadcasting; Austin Chamber of Commerce; and Toastmasters International.

She has been married to Joe Woods for over 40 years, and they have three grown and married children, and five grandchildren.

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

Photo of Melanie Stewart

Outstanding Young Alumnus, Melanie Stewart ’08

Melanie Stewart ’08, CRNA, DNP, APRN, received the Outstanding Young Alumnus award, which recognizes graduates age 39 or younger who have made significant achievements in their careers, life’s work, or cause.

Stewart received both an Associate of Liberal Arts and Associate of Nursing from Lee College. During that time, she achieved an overall grade point average of 4.0, and was the valedictorian of the nursing class of 2008.

At the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, she received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2010, earning a 4.0 grade point average, and then completed a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesia in 2018, conducting research about reducing medication errors.

Stewart is certified in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and she worked for seven years as a registered nurse in the Intensive Care Units at area hospitals. She currently works in locum tenens positions throughout rural Texas.

Stewart is a member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetics, Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetics, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, and Sigma Theta Tau.

About Lee College Alliance

The association for former students and friends of Lee College began in 2006 under the name, “Former-Lee,” and was renamed Lee College Alliance in 2013. Since then, the organization has expanded to more than 360 members, and the network of alumni and friends continues to grow. The goal of the Lee College Alliance is to build a spirit of school pride and provide alumni with opportunities for social networking, personal enrichment, community involvement and life-long learning. Lee College Alliance plans to recognize future noteworthy alumni and friends by selecting Distinguished Alumni award winners on an annual basis. Click here to nominate an individual for a future award.

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Students engage in STEM activities at Lee College camp

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Students experienced a wide variety of engineering projects and tasks at STEM camp.

Future innovators had a chance to sharpen their technical and creative abilities this summer at the Lee College Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) camp. Students from area high schools spent a week on campus engineering, experimenting and coding with experts from ExxonMobil, Lamar University, and Lee College.

Hands-on activities taught students critical thinking skills and how to work as a team to solve complicated problems. They also learned about the daily operations of a chemical plant, challenges in engineering, instrumentation basics, AutoCAD, and robotics.

Prentiss McGary, machinery engineer at ExxonMobil, is the lead industry coordinator for STEM camp. He believes the weeklong event has the potential to make a lifelong impact on students.

“I was their age once,” said McGary. “Having someone mentor me and show me the opportunities that were available pushed me to pursue my career in engineering.”

“It’s been great working with Lee College at STEM camp; you can tell there’s a lot of energy,” he said. “These students have been able to use creativity to work in a team environment. That is extremely important in any field.”

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Students learning about physics from Lee College professor, Tom O’Kuna.

Lee College offers more than 30 STEM-related degrees and certificates to prepare students for a variety of in-demand careers. The grant-funded STEM Center was established on the Lee College main campus in 2013. Since then, Lee College has hosted six annual STEM camps to boost awareness of the types of careers available in these fields.






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A Reputation Earned, Deserved

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Dr. Dennis Brown, Lee College President

As individuals, we pride ourselves on our reputation. Similarly, companies strive to acquire a good reputation through hard work, a customer focus, offering a good product or service, treating their employees well, and being a good corporate citizen to their community. Reputations are earned, not granted. Reputations are not guaranteed. Reputations take time to build, but the wrong action or decision can have an immediate and long-lasting consequence on that reputation. Reputations are fragile, and must never be taken for granted. Reputations must be constantly worked, shaped, enhanced, polished and improved on. As individuals, without a reputation we have little to fall back on to convince others that we are trustworthy, caring and someone who they would want to stay connected with. For companies, their reputation is their image. A strong reputation, a strong image.  A mediocre reputation, well, you know.

Lee College, for example, has built a reputation in 85 years of serving students and our communities. Each of our employees, faculty, staff and administrators, also have built reputations through their commitment to the College and service to our students. Those reputations are not taken lightly. They are meaningful and powerful. They tell a story about the individual and about Lee College. We are proud of our employees’ reputations just like we are proud of the College’s reputation.

As you have noticed in the articles that I have written over the past few months, Lee College has many partners. Their reputations affect the College, and Lee College’s reputation affects them. One of those partners, who has been a part of Lee College dating back to the early 1900s, when they were known as Humble Oil, is ExxonMobil. Over the years you have heard me talk about the valuable relationship that ExxonMobil and Lee College have, not only through their financial support of our institution, but also the role ExxonMobil employees play in serving on our many technical program advisory committees, the opportunity for our students to complete internships in their facilities, the guest speakers who come to our classes and give “real world” talks to our students about the dynamic and booming petrochemical industry, and the opportunity to provide training to incumbent workers through short-term advanced training courses.

What ExxonMobil means to Baytown and our surrounding communities is immeasurable. They are good corporate citizens, and like us, they value the relationships they have with members of the communities.  As an employer, they set the gold standard for wages, benefits and doing the right thing for their most important asset…their employees. You cannot be in a community for over 100 years, and not have created a legacy of goodwill and caring for those that are also a part of that community.

As I conclude my time at Lee College in January 2020, I will look back and recall the many friends and partners that I have had the pleasure of knowing and being involved with. I have met many plant managers and other employees that have left an indelible impact on me, and most importantly, on Lee College. ExxonMobil is a great story. That story needs to be told. Today is one of those chapters of the story, with many more to come. Lee College and this community are blessed to have such a great corporate partner like ExxonMobil, There is much more to come. Stay tuned!

Dr. Dennis Brown
Lee College

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Lee College executive assistant honored by ACCT

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Leslie Gallagher, Executive Assistant to the President, Lee College

Congratulations to Leslie Gallagher, Executive Assistant to the President, Lee College, who was recently awarded the 2019 Western Regional Professional Board Staff Member Award by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). She will receive the award during the 50th ACCT Leadership Congress and Awards Gala in San Francisco this October.

The ACCT annually recognizes one professional board staff member in each of its five regions for their tremendous contributions to community colleges. As the winner of the regional award, Leslie is now in the running for the national-level Association of Professional Board Staff Member Award to be selected and announced in October.

Leslie came to Lee College in May 2012, and started her current position in January 2013. She said she enjoys the diversity of her job and that each day is unique.

“I love working with the president and his leadership team, the students, the Board, and the various constituents that we serve,” she said. “My greatest satisfaction is seeing the huge difference that education makes in someone’s life.”

The ACCT is a non-profit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern over 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond.

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