Three Holmes Community College instructors will be honored at the prestigious Lamplighters Conference Oct. 6-7 in Brookhaven. Gwen Graham, English instructor on the Grenada Campus; NaTunya Johnson, district department chair of the Business and Office Technology (BOT) Department and BOT instructor on the Ridgeland Campus, and Heather Jones, chemistry instructor and head cheerleading coach on the Goodman Campus will attend the three-day professional development conference hosted by Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Graham, who has worked at the college for 20 years, was named Holmes Community College's Humanities Teacher of the Year in 2015. During her time at Holmes, she has worked as a librarian and as an English instructor, teaching English Composition II, World Literature, Creative Writing, and all other English courses. Graham holds a B.A. in English from Delta State University and a M.A. in English from Mississippi State University, where she served as a teaching assistant as a graduate student.
Prior to her employment at Holmes, Graham taught at Delta State, State Technical Institute at Memphis (now Southwest Tennessee Community College), and also in the Dallas, Texas, community college system. She has always known that teaching, and specifically teaching English, is her calling in life. When Graham is not teaching, she enjoys bridge, participating in her two book clubs, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Chip, have two children; Scott Graham and Whitney Woods, and one granddaughter, Mary Gwen Woods.
Johnson, who was recently named to the Mississippi Business Journal's (MBJ) 50 Leading Business Women in Mississippi Class of 2016, was also chosen as the 2016 Community/Junior College Business Educator of the Year.
Johnson received her bachelor of business administration and marketing from Mississippi State University and her MBA from Delta State University. As an Educational Specialist in curriculum and instruction, she currently develops curricula for Holmes' Medical Office Technology, Medical Billing and Coding, and Business Management Technology programs. Johnson also serves as the District Department Chair and Instructor for the Business Technology Department and as a cosponsor for Phi Beta Lambda business society on the Ridgeland campus.
Prior to teaching on the collegiate level, Johnson was a corporate trainer for 12 years at the State of Mississippi Employees' Health Plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi. She is a member of the Mississippi Business Educators Association, American Academy of Professional Coders, American Health Information Management Association, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Links, Inc., Jack and Jill of America, Inc., and Anderson United Methodist Church. She resides in Ridgeland with her husband, Michael, and their daughter, Nadya.
Jones, who has taught at Holmes for eight years and served as head cheerleading coach for six, is actively involved on campus. She is Departmental Physical Science Correspondent, Chemistry Articulation Representative, one of the Departmental SI Chairs, a member of the Homecoming Committee, a HolmesPlus advisor, and a faculty tutor for MOSAIC.
Jones has served as a judge for both district and state science fairs, attended numerous chemistry/science-related seminars and conferences and served on multiple interview committees for a variety of campus organizations.
As Holmes' cheerleading coach, Jones has led the squad as they competed at UCA College Nationals for the past three years. She has also served as a presenter for a coaches' conference, a judge for tryouts and competitions, and served as a motivational speaker for high school cheer camps. Each year, Jones organizes and conducts two mini-cheer camps for elementary children in Holmes' district area.
Additionally, she leads the Holmes cheerleading squad in volunteering with a number of community service ventures, including but not limited to: visiting children at Blair E. Batson children's hospital, assisting with the Mississippi Blues Marathon Children's Run, reading to elementary students at schools in the district, implementing the Womanless Beauty Pageant to raise money for cancer research, and more.
A Holmes alumna, Jones was a Bulldog cheerleader, a Hall of Fame inductee, as well as active in multiple other campus organizations. Upon graduation, she earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry from Delta State University.
Jones and her husband, Matt, reside in Benton with their two children: Pierce, 6, and Jon Wiley, 4. They are active members of Parkview Church of God, where she is on the Children's Council, a member of the choir, and serves as drama coordinator. Jones is a member of the Junior Auxiliary of Yazoo City.
Sponsored annually by the Mississippi Community College Academic Deans Association, the Lamplighters Conference gives instructors the opportunity to enjoy networking and fellowship with other instructors from around the state. The honorees were selected based on their excellence in instruction and a commitment to learning and teaching.