April 1, 2015

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas will honor three of its alumni at commencement exercises Friday, May 8 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

Award recipients Marsha Jones, Charolette Tidwell and Jenna White will also be honored at a reception on campus Thursday, May 7.

The awards honor alumni of the college for exceptional professional and personal achievements and extraordinary distinction in their fields.

Tom Smith, dean of the College of Education and Health Professions, and the Alumni Awards Committee of the Dean’s Advisory Council made the selections.

“It’s a privilege to be able to hold up these three alumni as representatives of the college because of their contributions to improve the lives of others through their work and volunteer service,” Smith said. “Our college is characterized by helping professions, and these three are wonderful examples of the caring and commitment our alumni demonstrate in those professions.”

Outstanding alumni award in education

Marsha Jones, who earned a doctorate in education in 1987, is the retired associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction of the Springdale School District, where she developed programming for more than 20,000 preschool, elementary and secondary students in 29 schools.

Jones was integral to the success of many programs, including the $25 million Race to the Top Grant. Springdale was one of five districts in the United States to receive federal funds from this competitive national award in 2013.

She demonstrated her commitment to education by staying involved throughout the region and state, as well as through service on the boards of several community-based organizations. Jones was named Outstanding Administrator of the Year by the Arkansas Music Educators’ Association, the Arkansas Arts Educators Association and the Arkansas Association of Curriculum and Instruction Administrators.

Outstanding alumni award in Health and human service

Charolette Tidwell, who earned a master’s degree in education in 1981, enjoyed a career in acute-care nursing, where she specialized in critical care, long-term care and medical/surgical nursing. She practiced at Sparks Regional Medical Center for 24 years and then worked for Beverly Enterprises Inc.

Tidwell co-founded Antioch Consolidated Association for Youth & Family Inc. with her late husband and now directs the organization. It is the largest hunger-relief agency in Fort Smith.

She serves on numerous boards and received the Noble Cause Award and Good Deeds Award in Fort Smith. She was named a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of America and a Distinguished Alumna of Lincoln High School. Her personal commitment to alleviate food security in the River Valley has been featured on national television.

Outstanding young alumni award

Jenna White, who earned a master’s degree in education in 2012, is a physical education teacher in her eighth year at Orion Elementary School on Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska

White has received the Alaska Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year award and the prestigious national Milken Educator Award. She has served as a member of the Standards Based Assessment committee, has both presented and taught a credit course on standard implementation and has presented at the SHAPE Alaska conference on connecting Common Core state standards to physical education.

She has also served as a host to student teachers, a mentor to a new physical education teacher and is a member of the Elementary P.E. Advisory Committee for the Anchorage School District.and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


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