State Champions

2018 ACT College and Career Readiness Champions

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Brianna Evans

Student Champion

West Morgan High School

" In order to be college and career ready, a person must not only attain the academic knowledge needed to excel at the collegiate level, but she must also acquire the skills needed in a career setting. Those skills can be mastered through hard work, dedication, and practice. A student must be diligent in the classroom and push herself to become the best she can be in order to find success. This means not allowing failure to become a stumbling block but more a springboard for success. Outside of the classroom, it is necessary for a person to work on her interpersonal skills by networking, volunteering, and participating in community service in order to serve as an upstanding member of society in the workforce. It should be the goal of all students, teachers, employees, and employers to conduct respectable work and find a positive purpose in life to make a difference."

Jeff Hyche

K-12 Champion

Principal, Hartselle City Schools

"To be college and career ready, students must learn more than just content. They must know how to learn and then apply that knowledge to solve problems, work collaboratively, and communicate effectively. Ensuring you possess both academic and technical skills when you leave us is a giant step toward future success."

Alexandria Croom

Postsecondary Champion

Program Director, College Admissions Made Possible

“College and career readiness means that our students can unlock the doors of opportunity to access the knowledge and skills needed to compete on an international level. It means that young people have a future where they can build sustainable wealth for themselves and their families. ”

Denny Smith

Workplace Champion

Director of Testing and Assessment, Calhoun Community College


Halie Shangin

Student Champion

AJ Dimond High

"Our backgrounds make us who we are but it does not define us. It is what we do despite our background that will determine who we become. We should become who we want to be, not what we should or have to be. Within all of us, we hold the power to define ourselves."

Kathy Moffitt

K-12 Champion

Director Administrative Projects/Alaska Middle College School, Anchorage School District

"Working in program administration to provide opportunities for students through Alaska Middle College School is tremendously rewarding. Qualified students choose college as high school juniors and seniors. Coupled with academic rigor, is a plan for strengthening soft skills. By scaffolding their journey with ongoing support to build individual student success, students gain confidence and knowledge needed to be successful in college. These choices give students a jump-start to fulfilling their hopes and dreams."

Lynda Hernandez

Postsecondary Champion

Student Success Coordinator, University of Alaska Anchorage School of Allied Health

"I come from a health programs perspective where helping students be college and career ready means helping students understand what it means to be a future health care professional. While academic preparedness is indeed important, students must also be ready to meet the demands of their future career. Motivation and grit can be key factors in long-term success both academically and professionally."

Meg Day

Workforce Champion

Human Resources Manager, Donlin Gold LLC

"Students in the YK region of Alaska do not always have opportunities to explore college and career readiness opportunities like students in the urban schools. Partnering with EXCEL Alaska and other educational institutions exposes these students to real life experiences and gives them the confidence to build upon their secondary education."


Kailee Bunte

Student Champion

Gila Ridge High School

"What does college and career readiness mean to me? Making sure that I am college and career ready means that I have the opportunity to change the cycle of poverty. Knowledge is power and having a college education will allow me to have opportunities that my parents did not. Education is a chance to succeed."

Jane Geary 

K-12 Champion

ELL Instructional Leader, Phoenix Union High School District

"It is an honor to prepare the students in the Phoenix Union High School District for the ACT exam. Our district's mission is to prepare every student for success in college, career, and life, and my colleagues and I are helping the mostly underserved learners in our community acquire the academic skills necessary for success in college."

Lissa Gallegos

Postsecondary Champion

Program Coordinator Educational Opportunity Centers, Northern Arizona University

"It has been very rewarding serving the community I live and grew up in. Supporting students need for financial aid, college application and scholarship search one on one, helping student feel comfortable and encouraged with this very confusing and lengthy process, helps me feel like I'm making a difference in my community. Working closely with our local community college and university connecting the services counselors and students need to help them be successful. "


Madison Wood

Student Champion

Paragould High School

"Being college and career ready means having in mind the purpose of something greater than yourself. It means to have a drive to not only succeed, but also to use that success to enrich the lives of others. That is what I wish to pursue, the purpose of something greater than myself. "

Phyllis Dickey

K-12 Champion

High School Teacher, Danville High School

" 'Love What You Do--Enjoy Your Journey.' As a 9-12th career coach/instructor, my career allows me to do just that with much satisfaction. I am allowed to assist students in pulling together their academics, technical and soft skills over the years and putting them in a professional package, making them competitive in a post-secondary, military, or workforce environment of their choice upon graduation. Community partners play a key role in providing job shadows and internship opportunities; our students saturate our local workforce."

Ashley Buchman

Postsecondary Champion

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Arkansas State University-Newport

"Non-cognitive skills are the key to student success in and outside of the classroom. Through the use of ACT Engage, Arkansas State University-Newport has been able to assess the behaviors that directly impact their success in college and the workplace. Being able to determine the skills for which students need more development has allowed ASU-Newport to provide proactive support services. ASU-Newport will continue to utilize data from ACT Engage to support our students!  "

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