NISOD Award Winners

NISOD’s Excellence Awards recognize men and women each year who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment and contribution to their students and colleagues. NISOD is the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development, a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges.

In 1989, in connection with a University of Texas at Austin national study of teaching excellence, NISOD hosted its first ceremony honoring NISOD Excellence Award recipients. The annual event has since become the largest gathering that recognizes the contributions and achievements of community and technical college faculty, administrators and staff.

“Student success is a focus and priority for all of us at Yavapai College, and it’s wonderful to be able to recognize faculty and staff who exemplify this focus in their day-to-day activities,” Dr. Penny Wills, Yavapai College president said. “It sends a good message to students and potential students, as well.”

“Recognizing those individuals who have contributed to student success and their colleges’ mission is something we look forward to doing each year,” said Dr. Edward J. Leach, NISOD’s executive director. “The extraordinary work of these men and women includes not only what they do for their students and colleagues, but what they do for the communities in which they live and work. We’re honored to be able to play a part in celebrating their achievements.”

Excellence Award recipients will be celebrated during NISOD’s annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence in Austin, Texas later this year. During the Excellence Awards Dinner and Celebration, held in conjunction with NISOD’s annual conference, each Excellence Award recipient receives a specially cast, pewter medallion hung on a burnt-orange ribbon.


Created in 1978, NISOD is a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at community and technical colleges. NISOD supports its member colleges by providing professional development resources and learning experiences, including practitioner publications, webinars, the annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence, the NISOD Excellence Awards, and more. For more information about NISOD, visit

2014-15 NISOD Excellence Award Recipients

Molly Beauchman

Molly Beachman
Mathematics Professor

Molly Beauchman, PhD., has been a full time faculty member at Yavapai College for 8 years; 2004-2008, and 2010-present. Prior to this appointment, Molly earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education from Northern Arizona University (NAU) and spent 12 years teaching mathematics full time at Sinagua High School and part time at Coconino County Community College in Flagstaff, AZ. During this time, she also earned a Master of the Arts Degree in Mathematics Education from NAU. After teaching high school mathematics, Molly spent three years in Corvallis, Oregon earning a PhD in Mathematics Education from Oregon State University while teaching various courses and supervising student teachers in the Science and Mathematics Education Department. For two years, 2008-2010, Molly was an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at NAU in the NAUTeach program, teaching courses, supervising student teachers and receiving a grant from the Arizona Department of Education to develop a Mathematics of Finance professional development series for secondary teachers in northern Arizona. At Yavapai College, Molly teaches mathematics, works with new faculty members as a peer reviewer, and serves on several committees including chairing the Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Committee that has revised the program assessment process for the institution. Molly works with Dual Enrollment mathematics teachers in Yavapai County as a liason and representative on the Dual Enrollment Advisory Board. The Dual Enrollment mathematics program currently involves 17 teachers, 45 sections of mathematics and helps approximately 1,000 students earn college credit in mathematics that they can transfer to a postsecondary institution while still in high school. Other educational activities over the past four years include; working with the Arizona Department of Education on college and career ready mathematics standards and assessment, working with the Public Broadcast System (PBS) Educational Outreach program to develop a “Real Life Math” video series for middle school students to learn about how mathematics is used in different careers, grading Advanced Placement Calculus tests for the College Board, and pursuing professional development activities such as Quality Matters workshops to improve the design of her online courses. When there is time to relax, she spends time with her husband outdoors hiking and enjoying Northern Arizona, traveling to visit extended family or relaxing on the Oregon coast.

Leanne Lawhead

Le Anne Lawhead
Early Childhood Education Professor

Le Anne Lawhead, M Ed., has been a full-time faculty member at Yavapai College since 2004. Prior to this appointment, Le Anne spent seventeen years with Prescott Unified School District. Those years were comprised of teaching everything from preschoolers and their families, kindergartners, first graders and music students of all ages. Le Anne received both her bachelors and master’s degree from Northern Arizona University and continued her education in early childhood through the New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development and Arizona State University. Along with the responsibilities of working with Early Childhood Education students, Le Anne also manages a program that recruits and retains professionals into the Early Childhood Field through scholarship opportunities, and another grant that educates families to promote early literacy development in young children. To date, this early literacy grant has impacted over 1500 families in our county. Additionally, Le Anne serves as a faculty adviser for the Yavapai College student chapter of NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children), and has recently been appointed as Vice President of Professional Development for the AZ AEYC (The Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children). When not promoting the importance of Early Childhood, Le Anne is an active musician in the Prescott area. Le Anne plays flute and piccolo in both the Prescott Pops Symphony and Prescott Chamber Orchestra. While being incredibly grateful for this lifetime of career opportunities, Le Anne is most thankful for her supportive husband, and two wonderful children, now ages, 21 and 18.

Billie Norris

Billie Norris
Instructional and Student Services

Billie Norris began her career at Yavapai College in 1999, working in the Campus Life Office. She thoroughly enjoyed her role as “Campus Mom” as she holds a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from The Ohio State University. After 5 years in that role, Billie moved on to become the Assistant to the Dean for Student Services and then on to become the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Instruction and Student Development, a position she has held since 2006. Billie was nominated for the NISOD award by all the College Deans as she is an essential team member of the instruction and student services team at Yavapai College, worth more than double her weight in platinum. Wrote one dean in her nomination of Billie, “Billie keeps a calm presence while understanding there are difficult situations and conversations going on around her environment. Billie has established relationships and rapport with the individuals that directly report to her supervisor. Billie works determinedly to get the task completed and follows through on issues.” Said others, “Billie has the ability to anticipate what is needed in order to facilitate others’ success in their work.” “Billie is an example of a cheerful servant who is willing and available to assist in any way. She has made my transition to YC even smoother with her expertise, knowledge and demeanor.” “Billie is organized and seems to be the go to person on almost any issue where additional information is needed. If she doesn’t know it, she typically finds out and gets back to you the same day.” “Billie is unfailingly helpful, tactful, knowledgeable, considerate, and very hard-working. I cannot imagine what the view looks like from her desk nor can I imagine what our dean jobs would be like without her!” With her knowledge of College history, community context, processes, and policies, Billie manages to navigate and smooth the way for others on routine activities (budget, schedule, professional growth, travel, etc.) as well as provide skillful support and background guidance on important College projects and initiatives (accreditation, student success, strategic enrollment management, etc.). As her nomination suggests, Billie is highly respected by faculty, staff members, and administrators. She is always looking for ways to improve her own work and to support and assist others. Billie works long hours, but her family, pets, and garden keep her world well-rounded.

Past NISOD Award Winners

 Past NISOD Award Winners
Year Name Division Title
2013/2014 Justin BreretonJustin Brereton Agribusiness Instructor
2013/2014 Dr. Suzanne WaldenbergerSuzanne Waldenberger Humanities/General Education Coordinator Instructor
2013/2014 Tania SheldahlTania Sheldahl Academic and Career Advising,
Testing Services and High School Relations
2012/2013 Lauren McCreaLauren McCrea Visual Performing and
Liberal Arts
2012/2013 Gino RomeoGino Romeo Chemistry Instructor
2011/2012 Alan LohrAlan Lohr Gunsmithing Instructor
2010/2011 Denise WoolseyDenise Woolsey Communications Instructor
2010/2011 Matt PearcyMatt Pearcy Biology Instructor
2010/2011 Rick PetersRick Peters Mining Instructor
2009/2010 Stacey HiltonStacey Hilton TeLS/Summer and
Winter Institutes
2009/2010 photo unavailableKen Schoch EMS and Paramedic Program Director
2009/2010 Brent RobertsBrent Roberts Math/Honors Program Instructor
2008/2009 photo unavailableGennie Fuemmeier
EDU/Reading Instructor
2008/2009 Larry FrolichLarry Frolich Anatomy/Physiology Instructor
2008/2009 Ernie HernandezErnie Hernandez Automotive Instructor
2007/2008 Al GarbagnatiAl Garbagnati Psychology/Sociology Instructor
2007/2008 Paul EwingPaul Ewing Liberal Studies Instructor
2007/2008 Vickey LaMotteVickey LaMotte Family Enrichment Ctr. Director
2006/2007 photo unavailableJim Bushman
Public Services Program Director
2006/2007 David GraserDavid Graser Math Instructor