2018 TJHSAA Distinguished Awards Celebration

– HAPPY HOUR | Thursday, March 8 @ 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. | Mi Camino
Cash Bar Reservations required by 3/5 to tjhsdallasalumni@gmail.com

– AWARD CONVOCATION | Friday, March 9 @ 10:30 a.m. | Thomas Jefferson High School
Parking available in west parking lot

Celebrate the accomplishments of our award recipients with other alums, special guests, TJ staff and students.

Distinguished Service Award: 

Janet Skinner – TJ ’65; educator, elementary, middle school and high school principal, professional Service Provider and Leadership Coach; TJHSAA Past President.

Distinguished Alumni Awards:

John Fullinwider – TJ’70; educator, civic activist and community organizer working always in the name of the poor and disenfranchised.

Jimmy Gilmore – TJ’61; principle clarinet with the North Carolina Symphony for 41 years; performed with legendary conductors, soloists and entertainers in both classical and popular music fields; college professor.

Thomas J. Parr – TJ’63; soldier, surgeon, teacher; West Point graduate and Army Ranger, recipient of three Bronze Stars; leader in the field of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Guy Thomas – TJ ‘ 72; successful business executive with Coca Cola; builder of custom homes, Thomas Fine Homes, active civic volunteer.

2017 Distinguished Alumni Awardees

Distinguished Service Award: Annette Elliott, TJHS

Distinguished Alumni Award:

Rusty Brutsche – TJ ’63.  BE, SMU.  Spent 2 years developing laser technology at TI.  Legend in entertainment world.  Changed how shows were staged and lighted.  Inventor or portable lighting systems that could be broken down and raised in hours, significantly lowering the cost of that segment of the entertainment industry.  Founded Showco, a sound equipment provider of touring sonar reinforcement equipment and services to the concert touring industry. Helped pioneer post-Woodstock era stadium rock shows by providing state-of-the-art sound equipment for acts like Led Zeppelin, Three Dog Night, James Taylor.  1981 – founded Vari-Lite, Inc. for impressive stage lighting – revolutionized concert lighting with motor which moved the lights and changed colors instantaneously.  Mixed Led Zeppelin for years with board equipment he and his crew designed and developed.  Also – Jesus Christ Superstar, Alan Jackson, Eric Clapton, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Beach Boys, etc., etc.   V. Chrmn. & Chief Tech. Officer, PRG HiTech, LLC.  CTO, Production Resource Group LLC – 2004-2011.  CE), VLPS Lighting Services International Inc. since 1980; pres. since 2002.

Michael Carter – TJ’ 79.  SMU.  Set American H.S. record of 81’ 3 ½” in 12 lb. shot put– 1979.   9’ more than previous record.  No one has come within 2’ of record since (37 years later).  2004 – Selected by USA Track and Field as the 16thgreatest moment in American track and field over previous quarter century, the only high school mark to make the top 25 greatest moments.  Track and Field News “High School Athlete of the Year”, 1979.  SMU – Member 1981 (10-1) & 1982 (undefeated) football teams – center of defensive line.  Won 4 indoor and 3 outdoor NCAA shot put championships.  Part of the SMU 1983 NCAA Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship Team.  Olympic Track and Field 1984 Shot Put – Silver Medal.  San Francisco 49ers (1984-1992)nose tackle.  Only athlete to win an Olympic medal and Super Bowl Ring in same year – 1984.  3x Super Bowl Champions, 3x Pro Bowl (’85.’87 ’88), 3x lst Team All Pro, 1x 2nd Team All-Pro.  Married.  3 children.  Daughter Michelle competing in Rio Olympics, father is her coach.

Craig Melde – TJ ’69.  UT – School of Architecture.  Architect.  Dedicated his career to saving and giving Dallas’ old buildings new life.  Started career in city planning.  Founded ArchiTexas in 1978.  Passion springs from desire to improve his hometown.  Has restored over 24 county courthouses in Texas, including Hill County Courthouse. Currently architect and developer.  Restored Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, White Rock Boat House, Sammons Center for the Arts, Joule Hotel.  Restored Liberty Bank Building, Harlan Building – taken down brick by brick and moved several blocks. Updated Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.  Board, Preservation Dallas.  Married, two children.

Audrey Pinkerton – TJ ’86.  U.T. BS – Mechanical Engineering.  SMU – Cox School of Business Executive Development Program.  Northwestern Univ.- MBA and Masters of Engineering Management summa cum laude, Kellogg Graduate School of Management.  Elected to DISD Board of Education, District 7, 2016.  20 yrs. experience in marketing, business development, engineering, operations, R&D and general management in variety of manufacturing, commercial construction and consulting companies. President, Forward Concept – current.  General Manager, Flowtronex (subsidiary of Xylem).  General Manager, North America Pump Auxiliary Systems.  Director, Seal Support Systems, Flowserve.  Market Manager, Valspar.  Licensed Professional Engineer.  CASA volunteer.


2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration
March 11-12, 2016 | Event Photos

The TJHSAA is proud to announce our upcoming 2016 Distinguished Awards Celebration, which will be held on Friday, March 11, at 10:00 a.m. in the TJ auditorium (parking available behind the school). Receiving the Distinguished Alumni Awards will be Cecil Schwalbe (Class of 1960), David Ritz (1961), Linda Perryman Evans (1968), and Wanda King (1973). And receiving the Distinguished Service Award will be Lt. Col. Frederick Holland.

In conjunction with this event, we will also be hosting a cocktail reception for the honorees on Thursday, March 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Mi Camino Restaurante (3830 W. Northwest Hwy, Suite 300, Dallas 75220; enter at first light just east of Marsh Lane into The Shops at Bluffview on south side of NWH). RSVP to tjhsdallasalumni@gmail.com if you intend to come on Thursday night, to enable us to get an accurate advance head count.

So please plan to join us at one or both of these TJHSAA events, where you can visit with TJ friends, hear the stories of the honorees, and meet some current TJ staff and students.

2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration
March 5-6, 2015 | View Details | Event Photos

  • Michael Aday | Class of 1965 — musician, actor, Grammy Award winner
  • Kenneth Barth | Class of 1972 — leader in technology industry and innovative public education projects
  • Lawrence Dale | Class of 1971 — leader in the energy industry and numerous non-profit boards
  • Frederick Volcansek, Sr. | Class of 1963 — US Marine Capt. (ret.), leader in commerce/international trade, former mayor Clinton, TX.

Distinguished Alumni Awardees 2014

John A. Echols, Class of 1968

Founding Chairman and CEO of the Worthing Companies and a graduate of the University of Texas, he began his real estate career in Dallas in 1972. In 1986 he founded the Worthing Companies, which he has built into one of the most active privately owned real estate companies in the southern US and has developed more than 50,000 luxury apartment units in successful, multifamily developments. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute, the National Multi Housing Council, NAIOP, the National Apartment Association, and numerous other civic and professional associations.

Karen Katz, Class of 1975

The first woman to serve as CEO of Neiman Marcus, she began her career on the sales floor. Her positions of leadership in the company have included VP and Gen. Mgr., Northpark; EVP of stores; Pres. and CEO, Neiman Marcus Direct; CEO and Pres. of Neiman Marcus stores at Neiman Marcus, Inc.; EVP Marketing and Business Development & Strategy of Neiman Group, Inc., in 2010. She received the 2010 McLane Leadership in Business Award, has served on numerous civic boards, is married and has one son.

Robert Wilonsky, Class of 1988

The current Digital Managing Editor of the Dallas Morning News, he has been the co-host of a show on the Ticket since 2012 and from 2003-2010 hosted Higher Definition, a weekly half-hour film-centric talk show on HDNet. In his many years at the Dallas Observer he served as feature writer, music editor, film critic, sports columnist and pop culture editor; he launched their blog Unfair Park in 2006. Robert became the Digital Managing Editor of the Dallas Morning News in 2012 and was named its Journalist of the Year in 2013.



Distinguished Alumni Awardees 2013

Rhys Best, Class of 1964

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, Class of 1959

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 many awards including Legion of Merit; Defense Meritorious Service.

Cynthia Izaguirre, Class of 1993

The award-winning co-anchor of WFAA’s News 8 Daybreak, 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.


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- ); a current member of the Foreign Policy Research Institute of Philadelphia, and the Leadership Council, Princeton Medical Center Foundation.

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.

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.

Distinguished Alumni Awardees 2010

  • Jan Hart Black, Class of 1965
  • William Proctor, Class of 1959
  • Becky Russell Sykes, Class of 1963

Distinguished Alumni Awardees 2009

  • Becky Randsell Bright, Class of 1960
  • Andy Cargile, Class of 1965
  • Brian Cree, Class of 1976

Richard E. Stroud Distinguished Service Awardees

  • 2014 George Seay, Class of 1959
  • 2013 Alice Davenport, Class of 1980
  • 2010 Edwina M. Brown, Ph.D.
  • 2010 Donna Bohannon
  • 2009 Herman Cowley

TJHSAA Patriot Awardees

  • 2009 Martha Meyercord Wilson, Class of 1960
  • 2010 Mario De Santiago
  • 2012 Eric Stromberg, Class of 1960