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Blue Ridge Community College announces 2021 Faculty and Staff Award winners

To finish out 2020, Blue Ridge Community College recognized five outstanding individuals from its faculty and staff who received the College’s annual faculty and staff awards.

These awards included:

Portrait of Shawn McMurrayWellness Award
Blue Ridge Adult Education and Literacy Program Coordinator Shawn McMurray was awarded the 2021 Wellness Award because of her healthy lifestyle and commitment to wellness.
McMurray competed against other employees using a point-based system designed by the Wellness Committee to encourage friendly competition and greater interest in long-term healthy lifestyles. Employees earned points by participating in numerous wellness initiatives encompassing both physical and mental health.
She participated in the Cards & Coffee event this year, which involved writing greeting cards for nursing home residents and helping deliver them. She wore pink on Fridays in October to help raise awareness of breast cancer. She is an experienced hiker on mountain trails all over Western North Carolina and even led two hikes for Blue Ridge employees in Dupont. She has also consistently participated in the Heels in Motion contest and was on this fall’s winning team.


Portrait of Matthew BroomeDr. Eliza B. Graue Extra Mile Award
Blue Ridge welding faculty coordinator Matthew Broome was awarded the 2021 Dr. Eliza B. Graue Extra Mile Award.
Broome always wants the best for his students, and it shows day-in and day-out through his contagious enthusiasm and love for the trade he teaches. The classroom and lab area is always bustling with students gaining real-world experience, and Broome is always looking for innovative ways to improve teaching methods or improve lab areas. Most importantly, he touches students’ lives in a special way, the trait that Dr. Graue wanted to be recognized with this award.
In the words of his student nominator, “Matthew not only tells us what we can do to perform our chosen trade better or be more productive in the workplace, but he also takes his time. He will sit down and show us and explain it as many times as it takes until it makes sense to everyone. He will not give up on any of his students until they achieve the highest level of welding skill possible.”


Portrait of Ben KishDr. David W. Sink Jr. Community Service Award
Business faculty Ben Kish was awarded the Dr. David W. Sink Jr. Community Service Award for his exceptional service to the community, a value that Dr. Sink holds in a high record in his own life.
Kish has been active in many ways in the Henderson County and Transylvania County communities with his volunteer service. He is a member of the Board of Habitat for Humanity, and currently serves as Board Chair; former Board Member and Board Chair for Associates in Christian Counseling; serves as an Adult Sunday School Leader at Biltmore Church; actively participates with Biltmore Church Service Projects such as yard care for seniors, disabled and underprivileged families; is a sponsor for Compassion International and United Way; and volunteers as a guest speaker at the Boys and Girls Club.
Kish also goes well out of their way, on his own time, to serve in an advisory capacity for several local businesses on how the College can assist them with start-up, scale-up, project, and training assistance.


Portrait of Amy WillifordDr. Molly A. Parkhill Staff Person of the Year Award
Blue Ridge Information Technology Director Amy Williford was awarded the Dr. Molly A. Parkhill Staff Person of the Year Award. Established by past president Dr. Molly Parkhill, this award recognizes a full-time, non-instructional employee for individual achievement and exceptional contributions to Blue Ridge Community College.
Throughout her career at Blue Ridge, but especially in 2020, Williford has provided exceptional performance to the College. She always strives for excellence in her position. Her role is vital in helping Blue Ridge employees with continued professional development as well as daily support to get their jobs done in the most productive and efficient way possible. While she may not realize the impact she has, Williford helps drive the College’s operational framework. During this fiscal year, she has put in countless hours, ensuring that colleagues and students have what they need while also managing a department. The department she leads is phenomenal, and that is a reflection of the recipient’s leadership and guidance. She strives and makes it her mission to provide the technology tools needed so that everyone can complete their job. Williford embodies Blue Ridge’s culture and displays all of the qualities of its employee performance expectations.


Portrait of Jennifer TreadwayDr. and Mrs. William D. Killian Outstanding Teacher Award
Blue Ridge Theatre Faculty Jennifer Treadway was awarded the Dr. and Mrs. William D. Killian Outstanding Teacher Award, which recognizes a faculty member’s commitment to teaching excellence. Understanding, relating, listening, and interacting with students enables Treadway to forge relationships with them—always accepting them for who they are and where they are.
Treadway continually shows innovation in teaching. Some examples include: Adapting one-act versions of Shakespeare plays to make them more accessible to younger audiences, including Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is one of the shows the theatre department took on tour to area middle and high schools; and organizing talkbacks and information fairs with community experts and organizations before and after performances that raised awareness of critical social issues.
Treadway also makes sure that her students are ready to become competitive in the real world. Her students have appeared at the Flat Rock Playhouse, received Fulbright Scholarships, obtained very impressive graduate degrees, and became professors at universities. Her students leave Blue Ridge with practical, technical skills as well as honing their ability to think quickly, critically, and creatively.
She has dedicated her career to supporting this College’s mission and has put its students first in everything she does there. She exemplifies the qualities of a faculty member that Dr. Killian and Helen wanted to recognize through this award.