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10.09.2012

UGA College of Education honors four alumni

Four University of Georgia graduates were recognized for their career achievements and community leadership with 2012 Distinguished Alumni Awards from the College of Education at its first annual Donor Appreciation and Alumni Awards Dinner held recently at the UGA Hotel and Conference Center at the Georgia Center.

Nicole Pfleger (B.S.Ed. ’05), professional school counselor at Nickajack Elementary School in Smyrna, and Vicki Tarleton (M.Ed. ’00), mathematics department head at Columbia County’s Grovetown High School, received 2012 Crystal Apple Awards, which are presented to alumni in K-12 education who have made a significant impact on student, school and school district performance.

The American School Counselor Association named Pfleger, of Marietta, the 2012 National School Counselor of the Year. She led her school’s efforts to become designated as a Recognized ASCA Model Program in 2011. She was the 2009-2010 Cobb County School District’s Elementary Counselor of the Year.

Tarleton, of Evans, was a finalist for the 2012 Georgia Teacher of the Year. She was also Columbia County Teacher of the Year for 2010-2011 and Grovetown High Teacher of the Year for 2009-2010.

William Schofield (B.S. Ed. ’86, M. Ed ’92, Ed.S. ’94), superintendent of the Hall County School District, received the 2012 Professional Achievement Award, an honor presented to alumni in the midpoint of their careers who have demonstrated significant achievements in their fields.

Schofield, of Gainesville, received the 2008 Leader of the Year Award from the Georgia Association of Gifted Children and the 2008 Ball State Administrator Award from the National Association of Gifted Children.

Bruce Bracken (M.A. ’77, Ph.D. ‘79), a school psychologist and professor at William & Mary, was recognized with the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding success and significant impact in his field.

Bracken, of Williamsburg, Virginia, is a charter fellow of the American Education Research Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Assessment Psychology and the American Psychological Association’s Divisions 16 and 53. He received Division 16’s Senior Scientist Award in 2008. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Assessment Psychology.

The Bracken Basic Concept Scale and the Bracken School Readiness Assessment are two of the widely used assessment tools he has developed for educators and psychologists.

On behalf of the UGA Alumni Association, I want to congratulate Pfleger, Tarleton, Schofield, and Bracken on receiving these prestigious awards. Their leadership and dedication in their perspective fields has proven valuable for countless students nationwide. I am very proud of their commitment to our children and higher education. They are all incredible ambassadors of UGA and the College of Education. Go Dawgs!

For more information on the awards or to submit a candidate for 2013, see
www.coe.uga.edu/alumni-and-giving/friends/awards/.

For a video celebration of the 2012 College of Education Alumni Award winners, see http://tinyurl.com/2012alum-awd.

Images of the award winners are available at the following urls:
Pfleger:  http://multimedia.uga.edu/media/images/Pfleger_Nicole.jpg
Tarleton: http://multimedia.uga.edu/media/images/Tarleton-Vicki.jpg
Schofield: http://multimedia.uga.edu/media/images/Schofield_Will.jpg
Bracken: http://multimedia.uga.edu/media/images/Bracken_Bruce.jpg

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04.24.2014

Caplan and Cobb: the new dynamic duo of Atlanta law

Mike Caplan (AB '02, MBA ’05, JD ’06) and James Cobb (BS ’00) recently launched Caplan Cobb LLP, a new law firm focusing on business litigation in the Atlanta area. Mike’s practice focuses on complex business litigation while James’s practice is focused on the resolution of complex business disputes.

Triple Dawg Caplan left quite a legacy graduating magna cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law in addition to his membership in both the Order of the Coif and the Order of the Barristers. In 2012, he received the Southern Center for Human Rights' inaugural Gideon's Promise Award for his work in Flournoy v. State, which led to significant reforms to Georgia's indigent-defense system.

Cobb graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University Law School in 2005. While he was at GWU, he was a member of the Order of the Coif and the Senior Projects Editor of the George Washington Law Review. Outside of his business practice, James represents individuals and entities in civil-rights, criminal, and education-related matters.

The duo originally met in college as competitors in a national moot court competition and became friends in the following years. SuperLawyers Magazine named both Caplan and Cobb rising stars in Georgia for Business Litigation. Good luck to both Mike and James as they take on the Atlanta business law world!

To learn more about Caplan Cobb LLP, visit their website here.

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04.23.2014

Alumna puts passion for historic preservation into action

Catherine Garner (MHP ’13) has a passion for preserving the historic buildings of Salisbury, NC. After finishing her undergraduate degree in geography and urban planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Garner interned with preservation planners in Winston-Salem. Fulfilled by the work, she chose to pursue the path of historic preservation, eventually earning her master's degree from UGA in preservation planning.

Since then, Garner has landed her dream job as Salisbury’s newest city planner and liaison to the City’s Historic Preservation Commission. In this position, she help develop communities in which people want to live. She is involved in the city’s new "one-stop shop" for development services. The innovative program encourages local business owners to obtain city permits and a business license under the same roof. By streamlining the process, more local businesses will be involved in the city planning process.

Congratulations, Catherine! It’s great to see an alumna making a difference in her community. The work you do will impact Salisbury for generations to come.

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04.22.2014

Longtime UGA supporter hangs his “Gone Fishing” sign

William “Dink” H. NeSmith, Jr. (ABJ ’70) is one of the most passionate Bulldogs you will meet. A 1970 graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, NeSmith is co-owner and publisher of Athens-based Community Newspapers, Inc., which publishes dozens of newspapers in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. As if his professional responsibilities didn’t keep him busy enough, NeSmith, a self-admitted “joiner,” has dedicated as much (if not more) of his free time to higher education.The list of his past university volunteer roles is unparalleled:

  -  chairman of Grady's advisory board and president of its alumni board;

  -  chairman of the board of directors of the Fanning Leadership Institute;

  -  chairman of the Richard B. Russell Foundation;

  -  member of the Athletic Association Board of Directors; and

  -  trustee of the UGA Foundation

In addition, NeSmith is a past president of the UGA Alumni Association and served from 2003 to 2005. He could always be counted on to support his alma mater, and his leadership was surely a factor in UGA’s rise to a top 20 public institution of higher education.

In 2008, Gov. Sonny Perdue asked NeSmith to join the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. Five years later, he was serving as chairman of the 18-person governing board for USG. Only the third Athenian to fill this position, NeSmith recently concluded his term as chairman.

Reflecting on a lifetime of professional and philanthropic endeavors, NeSmith recently penned a short piece about his readiness to enjoy his greatest accomplishment: his family. The alumnus is surrounded by an ever-growing swath of Bulldog Faithful: his wife, Pam (BSHE ’71); three children, Alan (BSA ’04), Emily (AB ’99) and Eric (ABJ ’02); and seven grandsons. Upon the birth of each grandchild, NeSmith proudly gave them each a lifetime membership with the UGA Alumni Association. Although the Alumni Association is no longer dues-based, the NeSmith family boasts an impressive 15 lifetime members!

Read more about NeSmith’s transition to “grandpa time” here. This is one alumnus who has certainly earned the right to hang his “Gone Fishing” sign on the door. Thank you for your continued support, Dink, and your fine leadership in many areas across campus and the state.

Dink NeSmith is a regular contributor to the Athens Banner-Herald; read more of his pieces here.

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