Monica Tucker named Outstanding Student of the Year

Northeast State Community College is proud to recognize Monica Tucker as the Outstanding Student of the Year award winner for the 2018-19 academic year.

Tucker won the respect of her peers and faculty at Northeast State with her dedication as a student and leader on campus. Tucker was chosen from five finalists selected from 15 student semi-finalists nominated for the award.

“I am just beyond grateful to be recognized as the outstanding student of the year,” said Tucker. “Honestly, I believe all the students at Northeast State are outstanding considering they are working towards their goals and sharpening their skills to be successful in their chosen profession.”

Tucker will graduate in December earning two associate of science degrees in Social Work and Sociology.  She received the Social Work department’s award as the program’s top student for the 2017-18 academic year. She was also named to the President’s List for the Spring 2018 semester by earning a perfect 4.0-grade point average for the term.

Monica Tucker

Tucker received the Adult Learner of the Year award for 2017-18. This award recognizes an exemplary adult student who has overcome major obstacles in the pursuit of his or her academic and career goals. Tucker was awarded the Armen Mustaklem Combs Memorial Annual Scholarship and the Sarah Linda Leonard Annual Scholarship. Both scholarships are awarded to adult students achieving academic and leadership standards.

Upon graduation, Tucker will receive an Honors Program Diploma for completing more than 18 hours of honors-level courses at Northeast State. She has been inducted into the College’s chapters of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) and Alpha Sigma Lambda honor societies for community college students.

Tucker was one of three Northeast State students named to the All-Tennessee Community College Academic Team for 2018. Nominees are selected from candidates who make significant service contributions to the College or community.

The award announcement marks a change in the student award process. Beginning with the 2018-2019 academic year, the Outstanding Student Award will be part of the Statewide Outstanding Achievement Recognition Awards (SOAR) sponsored by the Tennessee Board of Regents. SOAR offers opportunities for students, faculty, and staff through competitive award programs that select state-wide outstanding recipients in each category for both community colleges and colleges of applied technology. Tucker advances to regional competition in February.

Tucker said her time at Northeast State had helped her flourish as a student and in her professional career. She is one of only 11 Recovery Navigators statewide working with Frontier Health to help individuals overcome addictions. This program was developed by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse under Gov. Bill Haslam’s TN Together initiative.

“The faculty and staff here at Northeast State have exceeded their goal of preparing me to prosper in my future,” said Tucker. “My journey at Northeast State has been such a rewarding experience and I will be forever grateful for their guidance.”

Dr. Bethany Flora appointed president of Northeast State

The Tennessee Board of Regents today appointed Dr. Bethany H. Flora as the next president of Northeast State Community College. She will assume her new duties effective Jan. 2.

Flora is currently associate director of the Center for Community College Leadership at East Tennessee State University, where she also serves as associate professor of postsecondary leadership in ETSU’s Clemmer College of Education.

Dr. Bethany Flora

She earned her Ph.D. in higher education administration at Virginia Tech, her Master of Arts in organizational management at Tusculum University and her Bachelor of Arts in business and public administration at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

Flora will succeed TBR Executive Vice Chancellor James King, who has served as interim president at Northeast since June 2017.

TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings recommended Flora following months of review of applicants by a search advisory committee appointed earlier this year by the Board.

The committee was chaired by Board member Tom Griscom and included TBR regents, along with representatives of the college’s faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community.

The Board unanimously approved the chancellor’s recommendation.

After the Board’s action, Flora said, “These are exciting times for higher education in Tennessee. Northeast State is well-positioned to meet the growing demand for educated, healthy and engaged graduates to serve as leaders in our communities, civic organizations, and businesses. I am honored to be selected by the Board and look forward to being a member of the College System of Tennessee’s technical and community college presidential team.”

Tri-Cities Jazz Orchestra performs at Northeast State Nov. 12

Northeast State welcomes the Tri-Cities Jazz Orchestra to campus for a free show on Nov. 12 at 7:00 p.m. in the Regional Center for Performing Arts Theatre at the College’s Blountville campus. The show is free and open to the public.

The Tri-Cities Jazz Orchestra is a 17-piece big band composed of musicians from Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.  The band specializes in music from the big band era to present day, including jazz greats Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Stan Kenton, and more.

The Tri-Cities Jazz Orchestra performing live.

The band includes saxophone players Andrew Oliver, Susan Nicholson, Logan Childress, Thomas Miller, and Gary Roberts. Playing the trombones are Michael McDonough, Mike Boggs, Steve Butler, and John Hyatt. The trumpet section features Kelsey Runion, Sloan Hill, Jacob Pitts, Steve Cooper, and Shane Ladd.  Dalton, Colton Fenner, and Glenn Diamond make up the band’s rhythm section.

The orchestra on stage.

The group began in the fall of 2001 under the direction of jazz trombonist Rick Simerly as the Milligan College Jazz Ensemble. The ensemble performed under Simerly’s direction at Milligan College until his retirement in late 2016. Orchestra drummer Eddie Dalton took the helm and began a new chapter in the group’s history as the Tri-Cities Jazz Orchestra. The orchestra has performed at various venues and events throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, including NPR live radio broadcasts, Chautauqua Music Festival in Wytheville, Va., music festivals, theaters, and weddings.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit or contact 423.279.7669.

RCAM hosts Apprenticeship Open House Nov. 15

The Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing will host an apprenticeship open house Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The event is free and open to the public and business community.

The event is part of National Apprenticeship Week, and representatives from Domtar, Eastman, Primester, Silgan Closures, and other interested employers will be on hand to discuss registered apprenticeship programs.

NAWLogo.fwRCAM staff will also be on hand to discuss options for setting up an apprenticeship. RCAM has worked with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship to establish the Northeast State Registered Apprenticeship Program.

The initiative enables RCAM to provide Advanced Manufacturing registered apprenticeships to employers in the college’s service region. Northeast State is the only community college in Tennessee with a Department of Labor program.

National Apprenticeship Week is a nationwide opportunity for companies, trade and industry groups, nonprofit organizations, unions, labor-management organizations, and educational institutions to highlight how apprenticeships prepare American workers for the jobs of today and the future.

From careers in healthcare, energy and IT, manufacturing, transportation and more, registered apprenticeship has dramatically impacted millions of workers, and more than 150,000 businesses over the last 75 years.

The benefits are substantial; companies that offer registered apprenticeship programs can diversify their workforce, improve productivity and profitability, standardize training, reduce turnover, receive tax credits and more. For apprentices, the average starting wage is more than their non-apprentice peers.

RCAM is located at 305 W. Main St. in Kingsport. For more information, contact Anita Campbell, RCAM programs and services coordinator, at or 423.354.5275.

Alpha Iota Chi hosts forum on human trafficking Nov. 15

Northeast State Community College’s Alpha Iota Chi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society hosts a public forum called “Breaking Free: Modern Day Sex Slavery in East Tennessee” on Thursday, Nov. 15.

The event begins at 5:00 p.m. in the Regional Center for the Performing Arts Theatre on the College’s Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Airport. The forum seeks to educate the community, especially teenagers and parents, about the real dangers of sexual slavery and human trafficking in our region.

Human trafficking and sex slavery in Tennessee is more common than previously believed. Because of geography and the number of interstate highways that crisscross the state, Tennessee provides a dangerous pipeline to the transient sex trafficking industry.

 The keynote speaker is Angie Conn, herself a survivor of domestic sex trafficking. Conn is a mentor for the Rebecca Bender Initiative dedicated to helping survivors of sex trafficking reclaim their lives. She serves on the National Survivor Network board, the West Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, and consults for the West Virginia Department of Corrections, juvenile, and adult facilities. She trains agencies, schools, universities, organizations, family shelters, and her community with practical tools they can utilize and implement.

The event includes a panel discussion featuring members of law enforcement and the legal community including the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the regional Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

To register your attendance please visit the free Eventbrite page at

 For more information, contact