TCC inducts 14 members into Alumni and Friends Hall of Fame

Special to the Outlook

Tallahassee Community College Alumni & Friends Association has inducted 14 new members into its Hall of Fame. 

The Alumni & Friends Hall of Fame was created to recognize alumni and friends of TCC for their professional achievements, service to society, and support of the college. Each year, nominations are sought from the community. There are currently more than 32,000 members of the TCC Alumni & Friends Association and more than 175 members of the Alumni & Friends Hall of Fame.

This year’s inductees are: 

Betsy Barfield (’95)

Hailing from nearby Monticello, Betsy Barfield is one of six children. Her strong family background and the vivacious personalities of her five siblings resulted in her outgoing personality.   

Betsy is well-known throughout our community as an award-winning photographer.  She served on the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners from 2010 through 2022. During that time, she worked with her fellow commissioners to create a Vision Action Plan for Jefferson County, successfully lobbied Florida Legislature to keep Jefferson Correctional Institution open, created a canopy road network that highlights the beauty of Jefferson County, and successfully kept Wards Creek (3,200 acres of pristine public property) from transferring to private hands.

An avid cyclist, Betsy used her passion for the sport to create the Dirty Pecan Gravel Ride, an event that raises funds to support Jefferson County’s 4H club. Betsy graduated from TCC in 1995 and attributes her art and professional success to elective courses she took while earning her degree.

Scott Brewer (’87) 

Scott Brewer brings 27 years of experience in commercial and residential construction to his role as president of Allstate Construction. He employs more than 80 people in multi-location offices in Florida and Georgia. The firm has achieved Silver Accreditation from the United States Green Building Council, employs 12 LEED Accredited professionals on staff, and is committed to protecting Florida’s natural resources through its green building practices. 

A native Tallahasseean, Scott is a graduate of Godby High School, Lively Vocational Institute, Florida A&M University, and Tallahassee Community College. Scott’s heart truly lies in our community. He believes in giving back and focuses his time, talent, and treasure to do just that. He serves on boards of Independence Landing as well as Fellowship of Christian Athletes for both Tallahassee and the state of Florida. He has served in various capacities on other local boards such as the Associated Builders and Contractors – North Florida Chapter, serving as president for two years. 

Dana Brooks (’99)

Dana Brooks attended Pensacola Junior College and Tallahassee Community College before graduating from Florida State University, cum laude, with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work. She later earned a Master of Social Work from Florida State (2003) before earning a law degree from Florida State (2007), magna cum laude. She is a member of the prestigious Order of the Coif, signifying the top 10 percent of law school graduates.

Dana was sworn in as an attorney in the morning and made a named partner of a thirty-year-old revered plaintiff’s law firm that same afternoon. She is a founding member of the Society of Women Trial Lawyers, an organization devoted to supporting women trial attorneys in their personal and professional challenges. She is a past president of the Capital City Justice Association, a Charter Member of the Democratic Women’s Club of Leon County, and a former Trustee of the Florida Democratic Party. 

Dana is an enthusiastic North Florida resident who loves her community. She supports numerous nonprofits, including Oasis Center for Women and Girls, Girls on the Run, and L3 – Ladies Learning to Lead. She is a former board member of 2-1-1 Big Bend and Second Harvest of the Big Bend. With her support and encouragement, attorneys and staff at Fasig Brooks contribute thousands of dollars and volunteer hours in Tallahassee and Leon County every year.

Paula DeBoles-Johnson (’02)

Paula DeBoles-Johnson serves in dual capacities as the Human Resources Manager with Leon County Government and as the Founder and Executive Director of the Capital City Youth Development Corporation (CCYDC) – a local nonprofit, established to inspire excellence and propel youth to be the best versions of themselves through life-skills, community service, and training.

Prior to her work with Leon County Government, she served as an AmeriCorps Program Manager for the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Volunteer Florida). While there, she created two initiatives – LeaderCorps and Leader Guides. Paula has held training and consultant roles with the Department of Transportation, Leon County Schools, and other national companies that require support in DEI&B, leadership coaching, corporate and team training, strategic planning, board development, and community development.

Paula has a heart for people and is fiercely committed to making communities more equitable for all. Because of her leadership, philanthropy, and social activism, she has been honored with recognitions that include the United States Presidential Volunteer Service Award, the Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction Award, the Florida Commission on the Status of Women Spirit of Community Award, and was named one of the 25 Women You Need to Know by the Tallahassee Democrat.

Barbara Goldstein (’02)

As one of the founders and co-chairs of the Tallahassee Holocaust Education program sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women, Tallahassee Section, Barbara Goldstein has developed meaningful programs and forged partnerships with the Florida Commission on Human Relations and the Leon County School District to bring Holocaust education to our teachers and students district-wide. 

This work led to the establishment of the Holocaust Education Resource Council (HERC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide guidance and support for students, teachers, and the community about Holocaust education and teaching tolerance. 

Thanks to Barbara’s voice, there is now a group of dedicated volunteers who promote and organize education about the Holocaust and the dangers of intolerance. 

Barbara currently serves as a past chair of the Department of Education Commissioner’s Task Force on Holocaust Education and is a member of the Advisory Board at the University of Florida Center for Jewish Studies. She was named one of the 25 Women to Know by the Tallahassee Democrat.  

Candice Grause (’12)

Candice Grause is the Vice President for Communications and Chief of Staff at Tallahassee Community College. She oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing and serves as a key member of the College’s leadership team, working closely with the President on College-wide initiatives as well as external community and government relations efforts.

After working in the private sector in insurance and risk management, Candice enrolled at TCC after she and her husband and daughter relocated to Tallahassee. She joined the Office of Communications and Marketing in 2009 as an intern. From there, she began serving in progressively responsible roles at the College while earning first an Associate of Arts degree from TCC, then a Bachelor of Arts in English from Florida State University, and later a Master of Public Administration from the University of Central Florida. 

She was named Chief of Staff in 2018 and was appointed Vice President for Communications in 2022. In her time at TCC, she led the College’s public website redesign project, helped launch the College’s digital marketing and social media efforts, and has spearheaded many special projects on behalf of the President such as Hurricane Michael recovery and Prosperity 32304. 

Among Candice’s honors and distinctions, she received a Rising Star Award from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) recognizing leadership as a communications professional at a two-year community or technical college, and has been nominated by her colleagues and received two separate TCC Eagle Awards. She currently serves as a member of the Choose Tallahassee Board of Directors and the Tallahassee-Leon County Bicentennial Steering Committee.

Donna Hines (’15)

Donna Hines serves as the Education Manager for Kids Incorporated of the Big Bend where she works closely with staff to meet the educational needs of children and families in the Early Head Start program. In essence, she is the teacher of the teachers. In her role as a teacher, she decided to pursue a formal education in the field of Early Childhood Education. 

With the full support of the agency and a little prodding, Donna applied for a TEACH scholarship to formalize her education. She began her journey for a degree at Tallahassee Community College where the Early Childhood Education program both reinforced what she learned working with infants and toddlers and expanded her knowledge of developmentally appropriate educational experiences for young children. Her experiences at TCC gave her the confidence and courage to continue her higher educational journey, and she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. 

“My time at Tallahassee Community College not only gave me the confidence that I could obtain a higher education, it helped me understand that my desire to teach doesn’t end with the children, I also have a passion for teaching those who teach children,” she said. “I love my current role as a coach and educational leader for our teachers and staff. My ability to serve the children and families of our community is no longer limited to only the children in my classroom. A degree in Early Childhood Education made that possible.”

Brittany Maxwell (’03) (awarded posthumously)

Brittany Maxwell was a student who loved learning with math and business being her favorite subjects. After earning an Associate of Arts degree at TCC, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Taxation from the University of Central Florida. She became a CPA and specialized in audits of non-profits. She later became a chief financial officer.  

Brittany was a “career recruiter” for TCC, sharing her love of the institution, and encouraging and guiding many family members and friends there. She volunteered her free time to assist others in our community building handicap ramps and assisting the nonprofits she worked with in their many volunteer projects.  

In 2022, Brittany was awarded the Associated Builders and Contractors Volunteer of the Year Award. She passed away in a car crash within a few months of receiving the award which was presented by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

John Rivers (’87)

Following a 20-year career in health care, John Rivers retired as president of a $1.5 billion company to pursue a lifelong dream of opening a restaurant. In 2009, he created his first concept, 4 Rivers Smokehouse, which quickly became one of the fastest-growing restaurants in the Southeast.

Since then, the 4 Rivers business has grown to 22 locations in Florida, including Rivers’ other concepts, the Southern-inspired The COOP, the Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck at Disney Springs, and the farm-to-table 4Roots Café. 4 Rivers garnered national recognition, including the title of “The South’s Best BBQ” by Southern Living magazine and the “#1 BBQ Chain” by MSN.

Born out of Rivers’ garage, the “barbeque ministry” remains at the heart of the company’s mission to lift up those in need and help build better communities. The culmination of the 4R Foundation’s work, the Orlando-based 4Roots Farm, will serve as a community campus to inspire revolutionary change in Florida’s food system through education on sustainable and regenerative farming, advancements in agriculture technology, and research in culinary medicine via the launch of the Culinary Health Institute. 

Author of The Southern Cowboy Cookbook, Rivers has been named one of the Restaurant Business magazine’s “The Power 20” elite leaders, Restaurateur of the Year by Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, and Orlando Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful: 15 to Watch.” 

He has cooked at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City, and was twice named a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He serves on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Food Security Advisory Council and the Department of Agriculture Innovation Committee and is a member of the Florida Council of 100.

Jason Shoaf (’02)

Jason Shoaf is the vice president of the St. Joe Natural Gas Company, the provider of natural gas and propane in Port St. Joe. He is also the owner of two businesses he created: Gulf South Self Storage and Alliance Property Management. He also served as one of seven members of the Triumph Gulf Coast Board of Directors. 

Jason was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in a 2019 Special Election and was reelected in 2020. He represents the 7th district, which includes Franklin, Gulf, Jefferson, Dixie, Suwannee, Hamilton, Lafayette, Liberty, Taylor, and Wakulla Counties. Since taking office, Jason has helped pass legislation that keeps taxes low for businesses and residents, ensures the integrity of Florida’s elections, and most recently secured state funding to address Apalachicola Bay’s critical state of concern.

From a young age, Jason’s parents instilled in him the values of hard work, faith, and personal freedom. His first job was piping houses and digging ditches, and he continued to work through high school and college.

Marie Sissle (’00)

A multi-talented individual hailing from Tallahassee, E. Marie Sissle currently serves as a Musical Theatre educator at Renaissance Academy and is the Teen Council coordinator at Palmer Munroe Teen Center.  As an accomplished artist, E. Marie has directed two films, a web series, and numerous plays, showcasing her creative talents. Her passion for the arts and youth development led her to establish the SoMo PlayHouse, a non-profit theatre in 2014. Looking forward, she aspires to publish her own children’s books and complete her graphic novel, a testament to her creative vision and storytelling skills.

She is a graduate of Tallahassee Community College, Florida A & M University where she earned a B.A. in Performance Theatre, and Full Sail University where she earned an M.S. in Entertainment Business. Her involvement with Alpha Kappa Sorority showcases her dedication to service and giving back. E. Marie strongly believes in empowering young minds and played a significant role in helping her three teenage boys start and grow their brownie delivery business, named The Chocolate Dandies, after their great grandfather’s play on Broadway.

Jan Smitherman (RN ’89 and BSN ’16)  

A long-time nurse in Tallahassee and the Big Bend, Jan Smitherman earned an RN and BSN from TCC. Shortly before RN graduation, Jan began working at Capital Health Plan (CHP) in the Urgent Care department. She was soon promoted to a charge nurse in the department and eventually to the Urgent Care Director position, a role she has had for the past 20 years. She was part of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Implementation team to convert to electronic charting in the early 2000s. 

She was also critical in the planning and organization of a new location for the Urgent Care department – the new Metro Center. Like all healthcare workers globally, Jan’s leadership skills were put to the test during the COVID-19 pandemic. She quickly helped to establish protocols to meet patient needs while caring for the health and well-being of clinical staff. 

While Jan will always say her three daughters are the best thing that she has ever accomplished, nursing comes as a close second. She is so thankful for the training and support she has received from TCC over the course of her career. After nearly 50 years in nursing, Jan retired last week. 

Reamonn Soto (’08)

Inventor, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, founder and CEO of Sensatek Propulsion Technology, Inc., Reamonn Soto earned an Associate of Arts from Tallahassee Community College before going on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Florida A & M University, and a Master of Science in Aeronautics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. 

Reamonn commercialized patented wireless high-temperature sensing technology from university laboratories into the market with numerous Fortune 200 customers. Prior to creating Sensatek, he served as a Certified Business Analyst and Economic Development Finance Professional with the Florida SBDC, where he assisted over 200 clients in creating 68 new businesses, that raised over $9.6 million in capital, and generated more than $79 million in sales and government contracts. 

During his time at TCC, he was in the Honors Program, Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, a STEM Star Scholar, President of the Florida Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (FGLSAMP) and Hewlett Packard Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (HPMESA) Programs.  In addition, as a TCC student, he received hands-on training in scientific research in the field of astrophysics at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory through the Community College Institute (CCI) student program, where he constructed an antenna for Project Mixed Apparatus Radio Investigation of Atmospheric Cosmic Rays of High Ionization (MARIACHI). 

Greg Tish (’89)

Lifelong Tallahasseean and host of The Greg Tish Show on Real Talk 93.3, Greg Tish has won over a dozen local awards for his entertainment work, including winning “The Best of Tallahassee” award for radio personality for the last six years in a row. 

Often referred to as “The Mayor of Tallahassee,” Greg’s passion for the community and the region shines through his work in radio. His love for radio started in middle school. His first introduction to the airwaves was a short stint on WSNI Sunny 107, an oldies station that’s no longer on the air. Greg pitched an idea for TCC Tuesday on his local talk radio show, and this project has had a big impact on the college. Greg’s impact extends far beyond the airwaves. Through his company, GT Entertainment, he has supported dozens of charities and charitable events in our community, like Party with a Purpose.  

The Soaring Eagles award was created in 2021. Soaring Eagles are young professionals who have made significant headway within their professional fields after graduating from TCC, exhibit leadership and drive, contribute to their communities, and show promise of continued success. 

The Soaring Eagle Award was established in 2021 to recognize young professionals who have recently graduated from TCC and who have made significant headway in their professions, exhibit leadership and drive, and show promise of continued success. The 2023 Soaring Eagle award recipient is: 

Ursula Perano (’18)

Ursula Perano is a politics reporter for The Daily Beast in Washington D.C. She is focused on Congress and congressional campaigns and has traveled the country to report on high-profile political contests. On a day-to-day basis, she works out of the U.S. Capitol, speaking to members of the House and Senate about the latest news. Ursula has appeared on MSNBC, News Nation, SiriusXM, CBC Canada, and various local outlets to discuss her work and share her insights. 

Ursula graduated from TCC in 2018 and finished her bachelor’s degree at Florida State University in May 2019. She moved to D.C. a few weeks after graduating and began her career at Axios as a news apprentice. She later became a legislative reporter for POLITICO before obtaining her current role at The Daily Beast. Ursula grew up in Tampa, and she credits TCC with giving her a high-quality and accessible education while she put herself through school.


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