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SOWELA Faculty and Staff Honored During Statewide Conference

Recipients Awarded at the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Annual Conference

(Lake Charles, Louisiana – February 8, 2022)

SOWELA Technical Community College faculty and staff were recently honored at the annual Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) Annual Conference. Honorees were nominated by fellow SOWELA employees. The conference and award ceremony were held virtually this year with the following individuals recognized:

Outstanding Faculty Member – Johnathan Darbonne

Johnathan Darbonne is a Welding Assistant Master Instructor at SOWELA and has been with the College for 10 years. Darbonne is also an alum of SOWELA with a Technical Diploma in Welding. His credentials include NCCER CORE, Craft Instructor Certifications, and 6G welding certifications in SMAW, GTAW, GMAW, and FCAW. He also brings years of prior work experience as a Structural and Pipe Welder and Foreman at WPS Industries, Shaw Modular Solutions, CB&I, and DSI. Darbonne is a team player and leads his team effectively, recruiting successfully to increase enrollment at the college. He is also tech-savvy and works to help his colleagues understand how to implement technology in the classroom for different learning styles.

Outstanding Professional Staff – Laura LaFleur

Laura LaFleur has 24 years of experience at SOWELA Technical Community College. She is currently the Registrar and has held many critical positions within the Office of Admissions, Testing Center, and Office of the Registrar. She is the go-to person for campus-wide registration, policy and procedure creation, and data mining and analysis of student data. Her professional and interpersonal skills, demeanor, and exceptional service are worthy of emulation. Most of all, her can-do attitude and attention to detail are second to none. Her quality of service and commitment to best practices during registration is vital, especially during times of record-breaking enrollment to natural disasters and a pandemic. LaFleur is a proud graduate of SOWELA who loves working with students.

Outstanding Professional Support Staff – Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham is the Executive Assistant to the Vice Chancellor at SOWELA. Her impact on the College has been invaluable. Abraham was part of the recovery team after Hurricanes Laura and Delta. Her positive attitude was instrumental in helping her coworkers through this challenging time. She is dedicated to the SOWELA team and supports all members equally. She always provides excellent service. A proud SOWELA alum, she is the first to arrive and the last to leave, ensuring that the team runs smoothly and effectively. Abraham meets everyone with a smile and welcoming attitude, and her professionalism is second to none.

Distinguished Retiree – Dr. Jo Schexneider

After 30 years of service, Dr. Jo Schexneider retired last year from her position as Chief Information Officer at SOWELA. Schexneider is a pioneer in the IT field at SOWELA, developing the IT department from scratch and was an integral part of its leadership and development. She played a pivotal role in eLearning and moving the College into the digital landscape. She would optimize technology offerings creatively through grants, capital, and operational funds. Schexneider served in many roles at SOWELA from instructor to executive leadership team member. She worked tirelessly after Hurricane Laura to bring the buildings back online and provide students with the connectivity they needed to continue their programs.

About SOWELA Technical Community College

SOWELA Technical Community College provides traditional, distance, and lifelong learning experiences and awards associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates. The College empowers learners in career and technical education and enables transfer students to pursue a four-year degree, so all learners excel as globally competitive citizens. The College has been educating the region’s workforce for 80 years.