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Blinn names its 2017 Teaching Excellence Award winners – June 2017 and August 2017

Wagner, Lanfrey, Vrooman, and Vavra are recognized for their commitment to student success

Blinn College recognizes its 2017 Teaching Excellence Award winners at Faculty Convocation. From left: Vice Chancellor for Instruction Dr. Crystal Lee, Literacy Professor Judy Lanfrey, Communication Professor Deborah Vavra, Emergency Medical Technician Instructor Jason Vrooman, Mathematics Professor Judith Wagner, and Chancellor of the Blinn College District Dr. Mary Hensley.



September 18, 2017

Blinn College has recognized four instructors for their commitment to student success, and for the passion and skill they bring to the classroom.

Blinn named Mathematics Professor Judith Wagner, Literacy Professor Judy Lanfrey, Emergency Medical Technician Instructor Jason Vrooman, and Communication Professor Deborah Vavra its 2017 Teaching Excellence Award winners.

Wagner has been a member of the Blinn College faculty since 1976. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and government from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Education in mathematics from Sam Houston State University.

“The most important thing that I do is to try to help students achieve success, and provide students with the tools they need to achieve a life-long learning experience,” Wagner said. “I love teaching because sharing information has always been the delight of my life and I simply do not want to give up the wonderful experience of helping others achieve their educational goals.”

Wagner is a member of the Texas Mathematical College Teaching Association, the Texas State Teachers Association, the National Education Association, the Texas Community College Teachers Association, the American Association of University Professors, and The Brazos Valley Art League.

Lanfrey has been an adjunct Literacy Professor in Blinn’s Humanities Division since 2010 and is entering her 54th year as an educator. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education from Lock Haven University, a Master of Science in education from Bloomsburg University, and a Doctor of Education from the University of Georgia.

“I believe that my chosen profession affords an opportunity to directly influence students as they attempt to achieve their goals, and I have a passion for helping others to help themselves,” Lanfrey said.

Lanfrey is Blinn’s first adjunct instructor to win a Teaching Excellence Award.

Vrooman has been an instructor with Blinn’s Emergency Medical Services Program at the Health Science Center since 2008. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in marketing from Texas A&M University and an Emergency Medical Technician Basic Certification from Blinn College.

“The most important thing is helping my students achieve, and to help them get better prepared for what to expect in real life,” Vrooman said. “My goal is to see them take something that they might have an interest in and turn it into a passion and something that they will love to do as a career.”

Vrooman is a licensed paramedic and firefighter.  He was valedictorian for the TEEX Firefighter Academy Class of 2004, and valedictorian of the TEEX Paramedic Academy Class of 2006.

Vavra was the award winner from the Brenham, Schulenburg, and Sealy campuses, and has been at Blinn since 1995. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in speech communication from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts in communication from the University of Houston.

“I enjoy teaching at a community college because the students are so diverse and I want to be that person who teaches about my discipline, but also who encourages students,” Vavra said. “So much of what I do is making students more aware and confident in the talents and skills they already possess.”

In addition to her role a Communication Professor, Vavra is the Assistant Dean for the Division of Visual/ Performing Arts and Kinesiology. She is an active leader on several Blinn College Committees, including the Performing Arts Series Committee, Division Leadership Council, Center for Teaching and Learning, Curriculum Committee, and Curriculum Resource Team. She recently served on the Strategic Planning Committee.

Vavra previously has been awarded the NISOD Excellence Award; Robert Giles Distinguished Advisor Award; Phi Theta Kappa’s Faculty Scholar, Paragon, and Region Horizon Awards; and has been named to the Texas Hall of Honor for Outstanding Advisors.