Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards

The Thomas Jefferson High School Alumni Association presents annual awards to Alumni who have established a level of achievement in their lives and careers that serve as inspirations to fellow alumni and current students. Also honored by the Richard E. Stroud Service Award, named for TJ’s first and exemplary principal are those administration and faculty members whose dedication and skills have inspired students and colleagues over the fifty year history of Thomas Jefferson High School. The Patriot Award is awarded selectively to those whose contributions to TJ’s tradition of success justify a unique award. The awards are presented in May of each year at a student assembly and following are the biographies of the 2011 awardees and a list of previous recipients.

For questions regarding Distinguished Alum, Outstanding Service or Patriot awards, please contact Martha Meyercord Wilson, TJ ’61, at marthamwilson@hotmail.com.

Distinguished Alumni Awardees 2013

Rhys Best is the former Chairman and CEO of Lone Star Technologies and a past Chairman of the Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association. He remains active in corporate leadership through his service on a number of boards. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Crosstex Energy Services and Chairman of the Board of Austin Industries. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Cabot Oil & Gas, Commercial Metals Co., Trinity Industries, and MRC Global, Inc. As a Board member he has served as lead director and as a member of audit, compensation and governance committees. He is a Director of SMU’s Maguire Energy Institute and serves on the Board of Directors of UNT’s College of Business Administration.

Hart Dinkins joined TCU’s Marine Corps Platoon Leader Class Program and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. upon graduation. He attended the Marine and the Army Artillery Schools and served in Vietnam. After that tour of duty he was promoted to Captain and returned to Vietnam to command Foxtrot Battery. He became the Headquarters Battalion Supply Officer at Camp Pendleton, was sent to Hawaii; served as a Major in Georgia and Japan. As a Lt. Col., he served at the Defense General Supply Center, was promoted to Colonel and conducted the loading of Marine Prepositioning Ships during Operation Desert Storm. He has received numerous awards including the Legion of Merit and the Defense Meritorious Service.

Cynthia Izaguirre is the award-winning co-anchor of WFAA’s News 8 Daybreak. Previously she co-anchored the 5, 6, and 10 p.m. news broadcasts of the ABC affiliate in Albuquerque. She was recently honored by the Texas AP as the Best TV Anchor and has been nominated for an Emmy for her series Our Neighbor, North Texans making a difference in their communities. She is WFAA’s Wednesday’s Child reporter and is an advocate for numerous civic and educational initiatives.

Richard E. Stroud Distinguished Service Award
Alice Davenport has been the Director of the Liberty Belles Drill Team for 29 years. A 1980 TJ graduate, she returned four years later to teach and to lead the Liberty Belles Drill Team. Under her direction the Liberty Belles have won local, state and national awards. She was Senior Class Sponsor for 26 years. A TJ Teacher of the Year. she has received the Hispanic Arts in Education Leadership Award, the Principal’s Award, the Academic Recognition Award, and has served as 2nd VP, Dance/Drill Team Directors of America.

Distinguished Alumni Awardees 2012

Nina Cortell, Class of ‘70
Partner, Haynes and Boone law firm, co-chairs firm’s Appellate Section. Selected as one of top appellate lawyers in Dallas, D Magazine, 2003-2011. Member, Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee; Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Member, American Law Institute. Pres.-Elect., Board of Directors, Texas Law Review Association; Pres. (2008-2009), UT School of Law Alumni Association; President (2005-2007) & Master, Patrick E. Higginbotham Inn of Court. Co-Founder and Member of Exec. Comm., Center for Women in Law, UT School of Law. Member, Board of Trustees, Center for American and International Law. Chair, State Bar Task Force on Hiring, Retention and Promotion of Women and Minorities in Law Firms and Corporations (2006). Voted: Best Lawyers in America for Appellate Law (2006-2012); Outstanding Lawyer of the Year, Dallas Bar Association, 2009. Voted Top 10 “Texas Super Lawyers” with 2nd highest votes received (2010-2011). Graduated UT summa cum laude; UT Law cum laude and co-editor of Law Review.

Steve Schlossstein, Class of ’59
Author, strategy consultant, Far East expert, business executive. Fortune Magazine profile of “25 Americans Who Help Us Win”. Austin College Distinguished Alumnus of 1991. Founder and President of SBS Associates, a strategy consulting firm. Candidate for the state legislature of New Jersey. He is the author of 12 books including the Peter Dawkins mystery series (3 books), 4 other novels and various works of non-fiction. His columns, articles and book reviews have been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Dallas News, the Trenton Times, Business Tokyo and International Economy. He is fluent in Japanese, German and French. He is a board member, Advisory Council, Department of East Asian Studies, Princeton University (2002-present); a member of the Foreign Policy Research Institute of Philadelphia (2000-present) and the Leadership Council, Princeton Medical Center Foundation (1998-present).

Zachary Thompson, Class of ‘77
Director, Dallas County Health and Human Services. Zachary directs operations for more than 15 County programs, supervises over 300 employees and 12 assistant directors, and manages an $80 million annual budget. He is responsible for planning and managing Dallas’ response to any emergency health situation. Under his direction, DCHHS has been nationally recognized for its response and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita and by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for providing home ownership opportunities for low-income families. He served since 1991 as an adjunct faculty member for Eastfield College’s Social Work and Substance Abuse Counseling Program, 8 years as the Deputy Director of DCHHS and worked as a Project Director of the West Dallas Community Center. He holds both an Associated Degree from El Centro Community College, a Bachelors degree from UT, Arlington and a Masters degree from Amber University. He is on the Board of the North Texas Behavioral Health Authority Board and received the 2009 Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance Health Care Award.

Distinguished Alumni Awardees 2011

Jan Edgar Langbein, Class of 1967
Jan Langbein has served as the Executive Director of Genesis Women’s Shelter since 1991. She has served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women as a Chief Strategist. She serves as Chairwoman of the Dallas County Adult Intimate Partner Violence Fatality Review Team and a member of the Family Violence Prevention Council. She is a frequent speaker at national conferences, universities, civic groups, corporations and law enforcement and gives expert testimony in court. In partnership with the Dallas Police Department, the Genesis Women’s Shelter under Jan’s leadership created the nationally recognized Conference on Crimes Against Women, held annually in Dallas. Jan is the recipient of numerous national and local awards, including the Maura Award, SMU Profile’s in Leadership Award and the Liberty Bell Award of the Dallas Bar Association.

James S. Cole, D.D.S. Class of 1963
Jim Cole graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1967 and then served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy until 1971. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Baylor College of Dentistry in 1975. After conducting a private dental practice, Dr. Cole joined the BCD faculty in 1977. After serving the BCD in numerous positions, he was appointed Dean of BCD in 2000. He served as interim president of Texas A & M Health Science Center from 2000 – 2001 and President and Treasurer of Baylor Oral Health Foundation from 1997-1999. Dr. Cole served BCD as COO, CFO and Vice Dean for 11 years. He has worked to see that people of all backgrounds receive proper dental care. In 2000, he was named Dentist of the Year by the Dallas County Dental Society for his service to facilitate dental education in Texas and the nation. Introduced by Brian Cree, TJHSAA Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient, 2009.

Pam Woods Meyercord, Class of 1967
Pam Meyercord is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a BS in Special Education. She is a past President of the Texas State PTA , Women’s Council of Dallas County, TX, and Northwood Women’s Club and a former Vice President of the National PTA. In addition to numerous DISD PTA positions, she has served on the Boards of the League of Women Voters, Junior League of Dallas, Coalition for North Texas Children, Museum of Natural History and the 2002 and 2008 DISD School Board Election Steering Committees. Currently, Pam is Vice-Chair of Friends of the Dallas Public Library, Vice-Chair of Mental Health America of Greater Dallas, board member of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and of the Texas Parent PAC, and a reserve deacon at Highland Park Presbyterian Church

Richard E. Stroud Distinguished Service Award 2010

Edwina M. Brown, Ph.D
Edwina Brown is a well-known educator, a contributor to our community and to state educational efforts. She dedicated her career to the Dallas ISD, serving TJ for over 15 years as a principal, assistant principal and counselor. The TJ Library was named the Edwina M. Brown Library in her honor in 1991. Dr Brown was also served as principal at DeGolyer Elementary, Reinhardt Elementary and Gaston Middle School. She was a high-honor graduate with “departmental distinction” at SMU, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree. She earned a Master of Education from North Texas University and a Doctorate in Education from Texas A & M at Commerce. Her expertise led her to positions as Adjunct Professor at Dallas Baptist University and Texas Woman’s University. She is ranked among the top 10% of Texas Educators. Dr. Brown has served as Secretary-Treasurer of Spirit Line, Inc., is a Life Member of the Texas PTA and is an active member of Schreiber Memorial Methodist Church.


Class of 2009 Becky Ransdell Bright, TJ Class of 1960

  • Andy Cargile, TJ Class of 1965
  • Brian Cree, TJ Class of 1976
  • Class of 2010 Jan Hart Black, TJ Class of 1965
  • William Proctor, TJ Class of 1959
  • Becky Russell Sykes, TJ Class of 1963


Past Recipients, Richard E. Stroud Distinguished Service Award

  • 2009 Herman Cowley
  • 2010 Donna Bohannon


Past Recipients, TJHSAA Patriot Award

  • 2009 Martha Meyercord Wilson
  • 2010 Mario De Santiago