Central Arizona College Recognizes Wall of Success Inductees
By Angela Askey, Director of Marketing
Central Arizona College welcomed eight new members to the Wall of Success on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 at the Don P. Pence Center for Visual & Performing Arts.
The Central Arizona College Wall of Success is designed to recognize outstanding alumni for their personal and professional accomplishments. Many factors go into selecting Wall of Success members, including but not limited to volunteerism in the community; professional, local, regional, national or international recognition; and accomplishment in their field of expertise.
The first group of honorees was inducted into the Wall of Success during the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Signal Peak Campus on November 14, 2009. The event has been held annually since that time and more than 90 alums have been recognized for their notable accomplishments. Photos of each class are displayed on a permanent wall for public viewing in the Pence Center.
Wall of Success honorees were greeted with a reception hosted by CAC's Culinary Arts program. The CAC Jazz Band Ensemble, directed by Rick Moore provided entertainment.
Before inductees were recognized, M. Lando Voyles, Pinal County Attorney, presented a $7,100 check from the RICO Community Outreach Funds to the CAC Foundation in support of Promise for the Future and the College for Kids program at the Aravaipa Campus.
Rick Gibson, President of the CAC Alumni Advisory Board and Pinal County Community College District Governing Board member introduced the 2015 Wall of Success inductees: Catherine ‘Kitty' Carlisle; Cynthia S. Collings; Kara Kramer Cooper; Kristine ‘KK' Kincaid; Captain Ruben D. Leos; Jenny Lopez McLellan; Patricia Tarango; and Robert E. Tarleton, Sr. who represented his son, inductee Robert E. Tarleton, Jr.
Catherine ‘Kitty' Carlisle, Business Owner - the Grammatical Activist
‘Kitty' Carlisle of Apache Junction, AZ began her college career at CAC as a newly single mom. She obtained an Associate of Business in May 2006 and pursued further education at Northern Arizona University, earning her Bachelor's degree in May 2009 and a Master of Arts in English in May 2011.
While at CAC, Kitty was involved in the W.I.N.D. program and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She was recognized as a member of the All-USA Academic Team, was on the Dean's List multiple times, and in 2013 was named an Exemplary Woman Leader of Pinal County.
Kitty was not only a student, but also an employee of CAC. She served as a Bookstore/Business Office Associate at the Superstition Mountain Campus from 2001-2008. As an employee, she volunteered for the Classified Employees Association.
In 2012, Kitty started her own business, The Grammatical Activist. She is a versatile writer and veteran copy editor of web content, dissertations, theses, and manuscripts. Over the past 13 years, she has had multiple articles published in several local and state-wide newspapers and a local magazine. She has also taught writing to high school students through S.T.E.P., a non-profit organization created to enable socioeconomically challenged students to be the first in their families to attend college.
Kitty is very active in her community and throughout the state. She is a volunteer for the Community Alliance Against Family Abuse (CAAFA), Career Connectors, and Arizona State Parks, among other organizations. She has also dedicated her time to helping others at Arbor Rose Adult Day Care, Head Start Preschool, Leader's Nursing Home, and Bailey's Nursing Home.
Cynthia S. Collings, Professor of Computer Information Systems
Cynthia Collings graduated with honors from CAC in 1987 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Science. She continued her education at the University of Phoenix, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business/Information Systems in 1997 and in 1999, a Master's of Science in Computer Information Systems.
Since her graduation from the College, Cynthia has worked for CAC in various capacities. She began her teaching career in 1986 as Instructional Assistant and a part-time faculty member. She later served as the Developmental Education Specialist. For the past 15 years, she has provided positive learning experiences to students as a Professor of Computer Information Systems.
In addition to her classroom leadership, Cynthia served as a Phi Beta Lambda Adviser for 11 years and was a member of the FBLA-PBL National Board of Directors for 3 years.
In 2013 Cynthia received the George Fridell Award for Teaching Excellence. She was named the PBL Outstanding Local Adviser six of the 11 years she served as an adviser.
Cynthia is involved in her community as a previous member of the Zonta Club of Casa Grande Valley where she participated in various community service projects such as the Casa Grande Fly-in, Habitat for Humanity and Home of Hope. Her involvement extends into various funding activities with proceeds supporting local charities, Promise for the Future and other national and world wide women's causes.
Kara Kramer Cooper, Co-Publisher, Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc.
Kara Kramer Cooper is a long-time resident of Casa Grande. Her parents purchased the Casa Grande Dispatch in 1962 when they moved their young family from Illinois after selling their newspaper interests there.
From 1975-1977 Kara attended CAC and took various journalism and business classes. She then attended the University of Arizona and received a degree in journalism.
For more than 40 years, Kara has worked for the newspaper owned by her parents, Ruth A. and Donovan M. Kramer Sr. She held many roles with the company including news reporter, advertising sales and advertising director. After her father's passing in 2009, Kara was named co-publisher of Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc. with her brother Donovan.
Kara is a member of the Casa Grande Industrial Development Authority, local Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, her church and O'Odham Tash/Casa Grande Cowboy and Indian Days committee. She has served on the Casa Grande Downtown Association, Casa Grande Main Street and the retail committee of the Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce.
Kara and her family have been instrumental in facilitating the future of the newspaper profession through her support of journalism scholarships for students at UA.
She and her husband Steve have a daughter, Zoe.
Kristine Kincaid, Head Basketball Coach, Phoenix College
Kristine Kincaid earned an Associate of Science degree in 1989 from CAC and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from Northern Arizona University in 1998.
While at CAC, Kristine played women's basketball under Coach Lin Laursen, winning a NJCAA National Championship as a sophomore. She followed up her two-year national title with an NAIA National Championship at Northern Montana State University.
Kristine received recognition from Sports Illustrated-Faces in the Crowd as the only female to have achieved two national titles while being named the Most Valuable Player of each national tournament.
In 1996, Kristine retuned to CAC to serve as Laursen's assistant coach. Together they earned yet another national championship.
Kristine's success at CAC led her to the University of California-Riverside where she coached for one year, followed by five years at the University of Nevada in Reno.
After taking time off to work in the private sector, Kristine was hired by Phoenix College in 2009 as an associate head coach and became the women's head basketball coach in 2010. Since then she has led the Bears to a pair of Region 1 playoff appearances and achieved the NJCAA-Region I ACCAC Championship in 2015. All five of her Bears' teams have been named NJCAA Academic All-American teams and in 2014 and 2015, the team was named Academic Team of the Year.
Among numerous other awards, Kristine was named NJCAA-District A Coach of the Year in 2015. She is also an inductee of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Hall of Fame and Northern Montana State University Hall of Fame.
Kristine's pride and joy is her 13 year old daughter, Gabbi.
Ruben D. Leos, Pinal County Sheriff's Office Patrol Bureau Captain
Ruben D. Leos graduated from high school in 1984 and immediately entered the United States Marine Corps as a Non Commission Officer. He served as a Squad Leader in the Infantry Battalion from 1984-1988.
After his military discharge, Ruben joined the Connecticut Department of Corrections where he worked as a Corrections Officer for five years. In 1994 he accepted a Patrol Deputy position with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office. During the past 20 years he accelerated through the ranks and is currently the Patrol Bureau Captain.
Captain Leos completed an Associate of Applied Science in 2003 from CAC. He also achieved a Bachelor of Arts from Bellevue University in 2011 and in 2013 graduated from the Northwestern School of Police and Command.
During his time with the Marine Corps and as a law enforcement officer, Captain Leos has received an extensive number of awards and recognitions that exemplify his accomplishments.
Captain Leos supports Home of Hope, Eloy Little League, and Casa Grande Pony League. He volunteers his time as an advisor to Pinal County Explorer Post 1875 and as a committee member for the San Tan substance abuse coalition, Juvenile Detention Alternatives initiative and Pinal County Peace Officers Memorial.
Jenny Lopez McLellan, Director of Operations/Corporate Compliance Officer at Arizona Behavioral Health Corporation
Jenny Lopez McLellan graduated from Casa Grande Union High School in 1978. A first generation college student, it was a given that she would attend CAC to begin her college coursework. She attended CAC on a "Top 10" scholarship and graduated in 1980 with an Associate of Arts Degree in Business Administration. She continued her education at Arizona State University, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in 1982.
After gaining 20 years of employment experience and a third try for a Master's Degree, Jenny accomplished her goal and received a Master of Arts Degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix in 2004. Jenny's future educational goal is to earn a Ph.D. in Organizational Management.
Jenny's various employment experiences have allowed her to increase her knowledge and utilize her education and bilingual skills. For the past 15 years, she has advanced her career at Arizona Behavioral Health Corporation from Office Manager to Operations Manager and was recently promoted to Director of Operations/Corporate Compliance Officer.
"The education I received at CAC began my pursuit of higher learning and I still continue to increase my knowledge through training and classes every opportunity I get," stated Jenny. "I truly believe in giving back to the community and making our world a better place, even in some of the smallest ways."
Jenny volunteers her time with the Arizona Animal Welfare League, Annual Arizona Veteran's Stand-down, The Potter's House Substance Abuse Center and as a junior achievement instructor. Additionally, she is involved with the Mental Health Awareness Coalition of Maricopa County, Arizona Coalition for Tomorrow Kids Health Fair, Soroptimist International-Mesa Sunset Chapter and numerous other organizations.
Patricia Tarango, Bureau Chief of Health Systems Development for the Division of Public Health Prevention Services, Arizona Department of Health Services
Born and raised in the small farming community of Stanfield, AZ, Patricia Tarango began her college career at CAC, earning an Associate of Arts degree. She continued on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Arizona State University (ASU) and Master of Science in Health Care Administration from the University of St. Francis, Jolliet, IL. She also holds leadership certificates from ASU's W.P. Carey College of Business and ASU's Valle del Sol, Hispanic Leadership Institute.
Patricia's work experience includes administration and day to day oversight of primary care clinic operations throughout the Phoenix Metro area. She currently serves as Bureau Chief of Health Systems Development for the Division of Public Health Prevention Services, Arizona Department of Health Services.
In her role as Bureau Chief, Patricia functions as the Arizona Primary Care Office Director and is responsible for varied statewide programs and strategies that focus on increasing access to affordable primary health, dental care, mental health and reducing health disparities with an emphasis on uninsured populations in Arizona.
During the summer of 2010, Patricia was instrumental in coordinating a statewide forum on integrated models of care for behavioral health and primary care in Arizona through the financial support of the Milbank Foundation.
Patricia is a member of the Arizona Public Health Association, Arizona Rural Health Association, Arizona Health Education Center Commission, ex-officio member of the Arizona Medial Student Loan Program and currently serves on Chicano's Por La Causa, Head Start Policy Council as a Community Representative.
Nationally, Patricia has served as the Co-Chair of the National Rural Health Association's National Rural Task Force and currently serves on the Primary Care Office National Committee as the Region 9 Representative.
Patricia along with her husband JT Morris, are the proud parents of three children. One of their greatest joys is spending time with their six grandchildren, soon to be SEVEN!
Robert E. Tarleton, Jr., Director, Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) Systems at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA
Robert E. Tarleton, Jr. attended CAC following his graduation from Casa Grande High School. During his time at CAC he played saxophone with the CAC Jazz Band.
Robert transferred to Arizona State University where, in 1980, he received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. After two years as a mining engineer in Kearny, Arizona, he joined the Federal Civil Service with the Department of Defense and began working as a project engineer on Marine Corps electronic warfare programs.
While continuing to serve his country, Robert pursued advanced educational degrees. In 1987 he received a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA and in 1994 a Master of Public Administration from American University in Washington DC. He completed the Executive Program Management course at the Defense Systems Management College in 1998 and Leadership for a Democratic Society at the Federal Executive Institute in 2004.
For more than 30 years, Robert has held a variety of government and industry leadership positions, primarily in the acquisition of Department of Defense communications systems. He currently oversees a $40 billion portfolio as the Director, Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) Systems at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA.
Robert has been recognized with numerous awards and honors during his career. He received the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award and Air Force Outstanding Civilian Career Service Award. Team awards he has received include the David Packard Award for Acquisition Excellence, Vice-President's Government Excellence (Hammer) Award and Meritorious Unit Commendation from the Secretary of the Navy.
Robert is married to his high school sweetheart Susan. They are the proud parents of three daughters and one son, and grandparents of three.