Connections: fall 2020

Don L. and Lois Shores celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary July 28, 2020. They are lifelong residents of Cave Springs, Arkansas, and former owners of Shores Hardware and Propane Gas where they worked side by side for more than 50 years. He was a member of Har­ding’s board of trustees from 1976-2019, and she is a member of Women for Harding. They are members of Cave Springs Church of Christ. They have four children, Don (’74), Brenda (’76), Cherryl Bassing (’78) and Gary (’79); 11 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.


Lana DeLong Davis has written and illustrated a book about her life titled Inside the White Picket Fence; A Story of the Providence of God. She lives in Crossville, Tennessee, with her husband, J.C. (’70)


Gail Welker Miller retired from York College after 35 years where she was an associate professor of biology. Her husband, L. Ray (’73), retired from York College where he was professor of chemistry, academic dean and division chair of the natural science department. The couple were the first recipients of the York College Distinguished Achievement in Academics Award. They live in York, Nebraska, attend East Hill Church of Christ, and have two children and four grandchildren.


Peggy Matson became a board member of the Arkansas PBS Foundation in May 2020. She is director of the Arkansas State Board of Collection Agencies and holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.


Larry Franke retired as reference librarian in the history and genealogy department at St. Louis, Missouri, County Library. He helped patrons with their genealogical and historical research, taught genealogy classes, and gave presentations at local and national conferences. He also managed the periodical collection, wrote articles for and proofread PastPosts, the monthly e-newsletter, oversaw donations to the National Genealogical Society’s Book Loan Collections, and wrote book notes for publication in NGS Magazine. Before working at the library, he taught English as a second language to refugees and immigrants. 


Robin Bales Kirk is a member of the board of directors of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge at Sanibel Island, Florida. Her passion for nature and getting children to read resulted in volunteering for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, where she worked with school groups. Later, she served as a seasonal park ranger and self-published children’s nature books that encouraged children to read and
get outside. 


Jeffrey A. Baughn has been appointed senior vice president of finance and technology at Lipscomb University. In his new role, he leads the business operations, finance and information technology functions. For more than 30 years, he has served in various leadership roles in the financial services industry at IBM, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Andersen Consulting. Most recently he, along with his two sons, established a family-owned and operated business, Atlanta Motor Gallery, which is focused on delivering a superior customer experience. He and his wife, Leah Barker (’86), have three children; Justin, Christian (’17), and Grace Koehler. 


Kim Hudson married Kyle Beaty on May 2, 2020, 39 years after meeting at Harding. The couple resides in Harrisonburg, Virginia. 


Cary Gilbert is enjoying his second career as a restaurateur in Munich, Germany, after retiring from a career with Yahoo Inc. in Los Angeles. His restaurant, MUN, serves traditional sushi and Korean cuisine. He visits Asia several times a year to bring back new culinary ideas. 

Susan Sweany Wright is assistant superintendent of instruction at Glen Rose Independent School District in Texas. She and her husband, Bobby, have a daughter.


Darrell Amy has written a new book, Revenue Growth Engine: How to Align Sales and Marketing to Accelerate Growth. He has been nominated to the Forbes Business Council. 


Shawn William Hart graduated with a Doctor of Ministry from George Fox University in Oregon.

Karla Massey serves as the new principal of Caldwell Elementary in the McKinney, Texas ISD. She has accumulated 27 years of experience in education with 15 as a campus administrator. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from Amberton University. She and her husband, Mark (’94), live in Plano, Texas.

Barbara Evans Townsend completed her post-professional occupational therapy doctoral degree from Creighton University on May 16, 2020.

Doug Tracy, general manager and chief executive officer of Cuivre River Electric Cooperative in Troy, Missouri, was recently elected to a three-year term on the board of directors of Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. He began his career in the electric co-op family with Illinois Valley Electric Cooperative (now Cornbelt Electric) in Princeton, Illinois. Before joining CREC, the largest electric co-op in Missouri and a Touchstone Energy member since 2003, he served as a senior member services representative for National Information Solutions Cooperative. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Lindenwood University. He has completed numerous National Rural Electric Cooperative courses, including the Managers and Supervisors Conference Supervisor Certification and the Strategy Execution Master Class by the Palladium Group. He and his wife, Carol Reeves (’94), live in O’Fallon, Missouri.  


Trevor Black was promoted to president and CEO of Farmers and Merchants Bank in Caldwell, Ohio, where he was serving as executive vice president. He previously was assistant vice president of PNC Bank of Cambridge, Ohio. He and his wife, Jennifer Neuhart (’94), live in Senecaville, Ohio, and have four children, Sydney, Easton, Boston and Cami. 

Jeff Goodson has been elected president of the Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association. He previously served as vice president and as secretary/treasurer for the organization. He has worked in the Clarksville City Attorney’s office since 2012, where he is deputy city attorney. He previously worked in private practice in Nashville. He received his Juris Doctor law degree in 2004 from the University of Memphis.

Shannon Simmons owns Shepherd’s Touch Counseling, and his wife, Tracy Harvey, is a homemaker. They have 12 children. 


Phillip Jones is agent, owner and broker for Arkansas Mountain Real Estate in Clinton. He is active with the Clinton Area Rotary Club, Clinton Chamber of Commerce, president of the Clinton Booster Club, and president of the Greers Ferry Lake Board of Realtors. 


Learon Dalby has been promoted to manager of business development at Today’s Power Inc., a renewable energy company of Little Rock-based Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. He joined the company in 2019 as project foreman and communications/data coordinator. He also is sales coordinator and successfully closed several solar projects in the school, education and public entity sector. In his new role, he manages growth in the company’s retail sector and oversees sales and business development and also leads a team of retail project managers, system designers, proposal developers and the communication team. He and his wife, Stephanie Lucas (’94), live in North Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Mark Hall has been named head football coach at Sycamore High School. He comes from Rossview High School in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he was assistant football coach and assistant athletic director. He is married to Karen Derryberry (’97).

Lauryn Rydl Turner is chief of staff and chief operating officer for USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for gymnastics, which selects and trains the U.S. gymnastics teams for the Olympics and World Championships. She and her husband, Chris, live in Zionsville, Indiana, with their two children, Price and Rylee. 


Jim Brauer has joined Syntrinsic as director of consulting. He previously worked with TIAA. He and his wife, Gretchen, live in Denver.


Patricia Williams teaches second grade in Lynwood, California. She has a multi-subject teaching credential from California State University Dominguez Hills and administration credential from National University. 


Indie Pereira received a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University in May 2020. She was awarded the J.D. Owen Prize for accomplishments in the New Testament. 

Susan Polk married Jon Hardy on Sept. 17, 2019. She is an attorney. They live in Hot Springs, Arkansas.


Christopher and Heather Courson announce the birth of a son, Chase James, April 20, 2020. They reside in Wesley Chapel, Florida.

Ryan Lee has been named director of One Kingdom, a global missions and disaster relief organization based out of White’s Ferry Road Church
of Christ in West Monroe, Louisiana. One Kingdom’s mission is to empower and equip local leaders to share the gospel to every nation in every language. He and his wife, Miranda Vincent (’02), have two sons. 

Kenny Simpson is the new head football coach at Searcy High School. He previously coached at Southside Batesville, where he guided the Southerners to four consecutive playoff appearances. He and his wife, Jamey Jones (’01), have three children. 


Catherine Butler earned a master’s in biological sciences from Arkansas State University. She is an instructor of science at Crowley’s Ridge College.

Joshua (’11) and Amanda White Miller announce the birth of a daughter, Lacy Ann, July 27, 2020. They live in Searcy with their four other children, Seth, Hannah, Audra and Elaina.


Ashley Floyd Comiskey has been named quality director at Baptist Health Paducah. Her nursing experience includes neuro intensive care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, intensive care at Stanford University Hospital, and post-anesthesia care at University of Vermont. After returning to west Kentucky, she became the physician educator for Baptist Health’s Accountable Care Organization and Clinical Integration Network. In 2017, she joined Clinical Documentation Integrity as the supervisor for the Paducah facility. In 2019, she was recognized by the Association of Clinical Documentation Integrity Specialists as Rookie of the Year and was a recipient of the Nursing Excellence in Patient Safety award from Baptist Health Paducah. She has a master’s degree in nursing from Western Governors University. 

Josh and Heather Payne announce the birth of a son, Silas Macon, April 16, 2020. They reside in Lake Providence, Louisiana.


Robert Conn earned his Ph.D. in classical civilizations from the University of Florida in December 2019. He is a founding faculty member of Thaden School in Bentonville, Arkansas, and was appointed academic chair of the world language department beginning in the 2020-21 academic year. His wife, Lauren Younger (’04), is a senior manager at Walmart Inc. They have two children, Quinn and Cora.

Cade Smith has been named director of intercollegiate athletics at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has been at UAH since 2013 when he joined the Chargers as an assistant coach, and he took over the reins as head volleyball coach in 2016. During his head coaching tenure, UAH volleyball has posted the most season wins since 2001 (2019) and most conference wins in school history. They also have been an NCAA tournament qualifier (2019), GSC tournament qualifier multiple years (2017, 2018, 2019), and GSC tournament semifinalist (2018, 2019). In recognition of his efforts, he was selected chair of the Gulf South Conference Volleyball Coaches Committee, an American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Voter, AVCA Mentor, Regional Advisory Committee member for South Region Volleyball, and AVCA Head Coaches Committee member. He earned his master’s in 2006, certifications in educational leadership in 2011 and 2012, and a doctorate in education in 2015 from Harding. He also holds a master’s in human resource management from UAH, which he earned in 2018.

Justin (’14) and Mary Ellen Legg White announce the birth of a son, Warren Parker, April 25, 2020. Justin is an inventory auditor for Electrolux, and Mary Ellen is a speech language pathologist. They have two other sons, Jameson and Nolan.  


David Pietzman has been named principal of Greenbriar East Elementary School in Virginia, where he served as an assistant principal beginning in July 2019. Previously, he was the assistant principal at Mosby Woods Elementary School from 2014-19. He holds a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards endorsement and the administration and supervision endorsement from the University of Virginia. He and his wife, Meredith Myhan (’08), have two daughters. 


Mark (’06) and Tara Steward Jones announce the birth of a daughter, Isla Juliet, March 13, 2020. They have two other daughters, Ellie and Emme Kate and live in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Anthony and Jackie Tharp Sofio announce the birth of a son, Declan Graham, June 30, 2019. Anthony is a software developer at Blueprint Technologies. They have three other children, Ian, Reagan and Kellan, and live in Edmond, Oklahoma.


Heather Browning married Lt. Cmdr. Eric Wallace on March 14, 2020, at the U.S. Naval Academy. The couple lives in Washington, D.C., where Heather serves as managing director of philanthropy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. 

Leslie A. Marshall (PA) has joined the multidisciplinary Ozarks Medical Center in their dermatology clinic. She previously worked for Cleaver Dermatology in Kirksville, Missouri, where she also served as faculty for the Northeast Regional Dermatology residency program. She earned her medical degree from A.T. Still University in Kirksville. She and her husband have four children. 

David Walker works as a physician recruiter at Merritt Hawkins. He recently created “Iron Horse Podcast,” with former NFL pro Brandon Carr, which is aimed at athlete development and an audience of athletes, coaches and parents. He and his wife, Laura Merritt (’09), have two sons, Beckham and Chamberlain. 


Brandi Bailey Moody shares her passion for fitness and fashion through her blog, BlondeCoffeeMom. Her husband, Ryan, owns a furniture store in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas, and also runs a shipping container company, Arkansas Containers LLC. They have three daughters, Lyla, June and Adeline, and attend North Heights Church of Christ.

Leslie Pierce is the inaugural Texas A&M-San Antonio women’s soccer coach. Her past experience includes success as a professional in the Women’s Premier League in London and as a high school and college coach in various club programs and as head coach at Faulkner University. She has received a “D” level license from the United States Soccer Federation, as well as an NSCAA Futsal Level 1 Diploma and Coerver Team Coach Certification.  


Harrison Cobb completed fellowship training in pediatric cardiology with University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. He joined Arkansas Children’s Hospital Northwest in Springdale as a pediatric cardiologist in July 2020. He is married to Linzi Lawson (’09), and they have a son, Lawson Lee. 

Austin and Molly Ellis Davidson announce the birth of a daughter, Dollie Nell, Jan. 11, 2020. The couple live in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Austin is in private practice. They have another daughter, Nola. 

Alyssa Hall is expanding her role as a full-time certified school counselor after also serving as assistant athletic director at Brentwood Academy. She holds an M.S. in school and clinical counseling and an Ed.S. in professional counseling from Harding. She and her husband, Wesley (’07), have two children. 

Sara Shaban Hendrixson received her Ph.D. in journalism from University of Missouri. She is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Seattle Pacific University. 

Brice and Jacey Priestly announce the birth of a daughter, Martha Kate, May 4, 2020. Brice is a finance manager at Southern Methodist University, and Jacey is a preschool teacher. They live in Dallas. 


Collin and Katherine Fittz Harwell announce the birth of a son, Aidan Oliver, Oct. 26, 2019. They also have a daughter, Ella Ruth. 


Austin Brown works at Riceland Farms Inc. as manager of sustainability. He played soccer for three seasons in the Premier Development League/USL. He then served as an assistant women’s soccer coach at the University of Mobile for three years. 

Jeremy J. Cohen earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in May from New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University. He is in a residency specializing in family medicine at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Area Health Education Center in Jonesboro. 

Chase D. Haynes was one of only 30 CPAs honored by the American Institute of CPAs as a member of the Leadership Academy’s 12th graduating class. He is an audit manager at the Little Rock, Arkansas, office of Landmark CPA and has more than eight years of public accounting and auditing experience. He earned his Certified Public Accountant license in 2015 and his certified Fraud Examiner certification in 2020. He is a member of the AICPA and the Arkansas Society of CPAs. He and his wife, Rachel Martin, have a son. 

B.J. Johnson was chosen as District Teacher of the Year in Anadarko, Oklahoma, where she teaches second grade.


Kayla Howard is a speech language pathologist in Lubbock, Texas.

Kiffany Pride (Ed.D.) has been named by Arkansas Education Secretary Johnny Key as the new assistant commissioner for learning services in the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. She was previously director of curriculum and assessment for the state Department of Education. 

Kolby Tackett was named head football coach for Oviedo (Florida) High School in June. He led Mount Dora Christian football to its most successful three-year run in school history. His wife, Victoria Partee, is a marketing and sales strategy manager at Walt Disney Co.


Ben Buterbaugh earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine May 2, 2020, from Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg. He is in a residency specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina. His wife, Shelby Smith (’15), earned her master’s degree in education from East Carolina University in 2018 and is a math teacher at Pactolus School. 

Jared Cleveland (Ed.D.) became superintendent of the Springdale School District July 1, 2020. He was formerly the district’s deputy superintendent for personnel and support services. He earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Harding in 2003. His wife, Cristi, is a media specialist at Young Elementary School. They have three children. 

Weston Jameson has joined the Arkansas State University women’s basketball staff as an assistant coach after five seasons in the same position at Harding. He and his wife, Lauren Harrison, have two daughters.


Ryan Palenske earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in May from New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University. He is in a residency specializing in emergency medicine at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. 

Samuel Stringfellow earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in May from New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University. He is in a residency specializing in family medicine at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Area Health Education Center in Jonesboro. 


Dillon Coplin earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in May from New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University. He is in a residency specializing in anesthesiology at Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa, Florida. 

Corbett Hall earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in May from New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University. He is in a residency in family medicine at Camp Lejeune Navy Medical Hospital in Jacksonville, North Carolina. 

Debbie Godinez-Flores Seabers graduated in May 2020 with her master’s in social work from University of Texas San Antonio. She is married to Thomas. 


Joe Bernard Keys has written a book with his son Ted, titled,The Last Men on the Last Battles of World War II. He is the author of 12 other books. 


Mason Banger is the assistant men’s golf coach at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He was three-time All-Great American Conference selection and 2018 PING All-Central Region honoree at Harding. 

Cheyenne Brown was named assistant women’s basketball coach at Jacksonville (Texas) College.

Bronson Crabtree won the $150 Family award for his film, “Pieces of History: Kent Westbrook,” featuring the American Indian artifact collection of his grandfather Dr. Kent Westbrook in the Isolation Imagination Film Contest. 


Alexis Haney is kitchen and bath design assistant with the Kitchen and Bath Design Center at West Side Lumber in Macomb, Illinois.

Categories: Connections.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *