Greetings from Columbia, SC ! I hope that everyone in the Class of 1990 is doing well and staying safe ! I just finished the most unusual year of teaching that you could ever imagine. I spent all of this year teaching in “dual modalities.” Other districts and / or states used different terminology to describe it. Basically, I have anywhere from 3 to 6 students in the classroom with me along with another 12 or so that participated in class online. All of our parents had the choice of how their children would participate in class, and they had the opportunity to change their mind every 5 to 6 weeks. Therefore, we didn’t have some of the drama and confusion that other places had. For that , I am grateful ! I am also thankful that I got so many responses to my request for news from people from several classes. Please feel free to send me news / information at any time. I will make sure that it gets to the appropriate people for publication.
Melissa (Missy) Maude, my fellow Snotty Snail family member from the Class of 1988, sent me a message that made me a little jealous. Melissa shared that she just retired, and that she is spending a good bit of time playing tennis, golf, and full body ping pong ( Pickleball). I would love to see some videos of full body ping pong! While Missy says that she gives retirement a 5 Star Rating, she is also doing some ad hoc coaching for people looking for better jobs / new careers. I would bet that she is pretty busy with that considering how many people lost jobs in the last year. Her son , William , will be a junior at Utah State so the family will take some trips to the national parks in that area along with several other road trips this summer.
Jenni Field ,from the Class of 1988 , is a recipe developer and food photographer for her own business, Pastry Chef Online . Prior to that, she worked as a pastry chef after attending culinary school. Jenni also taught special education for 16 years. I love the following line from Jenni’s website , “I will teach you the “whys” behind the “hows” of cooking and baking. Once you learn those fundamentals, you’ll be more relaxed and more creative in the kitchen.” I am not sure that knowing the “whys” behind the “hows” will help me become a better cook. However, I can tell you that the pictures on the website look incredible! Jenni also shared that Jeff Riehm, also Class of 1988, is a senior IT engineer for Enviva Biomass and loves his job. Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment is that Jenni and Jeff are the parents of 8 cats, and they foster other cats when needed. That sounds like a 24 / 7 job !
Alexandria Gossett Shifflet, Class of 1990, is living in Georgia where she teaches Audio, Video, Tech & Film for Gwinnett County Public Schools. Alex is preparing to start her 20th year of teaching! Her husband, Todd, is the CEO of Georgia Highlands Medical Clinics. Their daughter ,Grace, goes to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg Florida, and their son ,Whitman, goes to Georgia State.
Amy Ross, Class of 1990, is working for Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments as the Performance and Compliance Manager for the area’s WIOA program. Amy was kind enough to share that WIOA is a federally funded program that (among other things) helps pay for occupational skills training for people with low income and/or other barriers to employment or self-sufficient wages. Amy lives in Wilmington, NC. However, as things start to return to some sense of normalcy, she will resume traveling to the SC Works Office along the coast several times a month. Amy also shared that her son ,Kai, just completed his sophomore year at Coker University! Congratulations, Kai!
Mark Waldrop, Class of 1990, works in Columbia. He has three girls that are still in school. Mark stays in touch with Jeff Vick , and says that Jeff is doing well. I know that there have to be other Coker grads or attendees that you keep in touch with. If so, please do like Mark, and send us a quick update. It doesn’ have to be a detailed account of everything that is going on with the person. Just let us know how they are doing.
Michael Gabbard ,who would have been in the Class of 1990, has been working as a kitchen and bath designer at Home Depot since 2012. Michael and his partner , David met and married in Florida. After making Florida their home for almost 30 years, they moved to Hilton Head in 2017. Michael says that he and David spend most of their ‘free time’ gardening and wrangling 2 very active but aging dogs, 1 zen-like cat, and 1 lovable terror deceptively called a “kitten”. Maybe you could reach out to Jenni and Jeff for some assistance with the cat and kitten.
David Matthews, Class of 1991, works at The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics as their IT Director. He has a daughter that is a junior at Anderson University majoring in Digital Media. David is excited to have his four step grandchildren in Hartsville now. When he is not busy with family , David makes giant soap bubbles. Check out That Hartsville Bubble Guy when you get a chance!
Heather Breen-Snow, Class of 1992, lives in the Washington DC metro area. She has worked for the county mental health department for the past 15 years. Heather currently supervises a team of Jail & Forensic Diversion clinicians trying to help people get treatment and resources to prevent incarceration & recidivism. Heather also manages a residential facility for people with serious mental illness. She will be developing a private practice soon, but that will have to wait until after her daughter gets married this fall. Best wishes for a successful launch of your private practice, Heather! Keep us posted.
Dale and Julie (Plyler) Leatherwood , both from the Class of 1992, live in the Orlando area, and are the parents of two great boys who are both in college locally. Dale is in higher education in an executive role, and also co-founded and co-owns ClearDegree, an education concierge service helping working adults find a college degree program. Julie works for a Title company and keeps things running smoothly in the middle of the crazy Florida real estate market.
Heather McConnell Buckelew was excited to share that she has been accepted into the MPA program at Villanova. Heather wants to expand her knowledge after making a career change to local government. Greater involvement in local government is a need in most communities. We look forward to hearing about all the great ways that Heather has an impact on strengthening local governments!