Achievers Hall of Fame Inductees 2014

Ruth Churchman Bullard - Class of 1935

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Ruth Churchman Bullard was a member of the first graduating class from Springfield High School in 1935 and her essay, “The High School of the Future” was read by her friend Evelyn Crowthers at Commencement. After her graduation she attended West Chester Normal School, married Charles Bullard in 1937, and two years later moved to Morton to raise six children. Mrs. Bullard began her extensive community involvement in 1944 as a member of the Morton School PTA where she served as Treasurer and Library Committee Chairperson. Having vast knowledge of antiques, Mr. and Mrs. Bullard opened “Charles Bullard antiques” in 1955 at the Village Mall in Morton and Ruth continued to operate the business until 2007. Mrs. Bullard was always committed to her family but continued to work hard for her community in an effort to help Morton thrive. She was instrumental in starting the Morton School Library and worked there as a volunteer from 1957 until Morton merged with the Springfield School District in 1969. She was appointed to the Morton Borough Zoning Hearing Board in 1964 and held that position until 2006, often as President. In 1966, she became secretary to the Morton School Board and following the ‘69 merger, she held the same position for Springfield until 1995. Ruth also held the office for Judge of Elections in the Morton Borough and was elected as Republican Committee-woman from 1984 until resigning in 2012. In addition, Ruth established a 4H club in the 1940s, was a devoted member of the American Iris Tall-Bearded Society, was a longtime worker for the Springfield/Morton Turkey Fund, and also helped initiate the Springfield Historical Society. In school, Ruth Churchman was incredibly involved. She was the first girls’ basketball captain in 1932, she played field hockey and volleyball, wrote for the newspaper and yearbook, was a member of the glee club and choir, and participated in the Operetta all four years. Her class will states, “I, Ruth Churchman, offer my love of argumentation to Helen Brittain.” And in 1935 Ruth Churchman (“Churchy”) was voted “Most Dependable” by her class…How prophetic as she certainly grew up to be a pillar of our community.


George A. Pagano - Class of 1969

George Pagano is a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County. He received a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, George returned to Springfield and practiced law in Media for twenty-one years. He was active in politics and represented the second ward on the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners from 1984 through 1991, ending his tenure as Board President. He subsequently served as the Springfield Township solicitor. While he was practicing law he earned a Masters of Law in Taxation from Temple University. In 1997 he was elected to the Court of Common Pleas, and he was retained in 2007. During his sixteen years on the bench Judge Pagano has presided over more than five hundred civil and criminal jury trials. He received certificates in General Jurisdiction Trial Skills and Dispute Resolution Skills from the National Judicial College. He currently serves as an officer of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges. George and his wife of twenty five years, Mary Emily, have two children, Mary Emily and George.


JEFFREY FRENCH - Class of 1972

Jeffrey S. French, FAIA, is a prominent architect and partner at Ballinger, the oldest architecture and engineering firm in continuous practice in the U.S. Jeff graduated from Princeton University in 1976 and received his Master of Architecture from the University of Virginia in 1978, joining Ballinger upon graduation. Jeff soon found a niche in the planning and design of academic science and research laboratories, being named a Principal at Ballinger in 1990 and growing the firm’s stature in that arena. In 2013, Ballinger was named number one in the nation in higher education construction starts over the past three years by Architectural Record. Jeff’s national contribution to architecture for science was recognized in 1999 by his elevation to Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects, making him one of the youngest ever to receive the AIA’s highest individual honor. Ballinger has earned countless design awards all over the country; their Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery in Madison, WI, has alone garnered over a dozen awards, including the prestigious international 2012 R&D Magazine Laboratory of the Year award. Jeff has reviewed grant applications for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, for whom he co-authored their publication entitled “Planning Academic Research Facilities: A Guidebook,” and for other federal agencies. He chaired a workshop for the NY Academy of Sciences, published in an edition of their annals, was an invited contributor to the Higher Education Colloquium on Research Facilities, lectured for the FDA, the University of Wisconsin Gilson Discovery Series, and the Association of American Medical Colleges, and consulted for the Kyoto Research Park in Japan. Jeff was recently appointed to the Planning Commission in Newtown Square, where he resides with his wife and SHS classmate, Anne, and where they raised their three wonderful children.

Diane Henley Sonnenwald - Class of 1972

After a career in industry, that included positions at Bell Laboratories and Bell Communications Research doing long-range strategic planning, Dr. Diane Henley Sonnenwald received a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. Today she is Professor of Information Science at the Royal School of Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, a top-ranked university in Scandinavia. She is also an Adjunct Professor in Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Previously, Diane was a Professor and Head of School of the School of Information and Library Studies at the University College Dublin in Ireland, a Fulbright Professor in Finland, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor appointed by the Taiwanese National Science Council and National Taiwan University. Diane’s achievements cross disciplinary, geographic and socio-economic boundaries. Her publications, focusing on collaboration and technology design and use, have been cited in over five hundred different journals and conference series in a variety of disciplines, including business, communication, computer science, education, engineering, human-computer interaction, industrial ergonomics, information science, law, library science, medicine, military science, physics, policy, psychology and sociology. Diane serves on the editorial boards of five international journals, and in 2010 she was the first person outside North America to be elected President of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), one of the largest societies in her discipline. As President she led multiple initiatives to support members in developing nations and around the world. She has also led initiatives that connected science students attending historically minority universities with scientists working in industry, and assisted multiple historically minority universities in establishing new courses and student activities. Other awards that recognize Diane’s achievements and contributions include the Bell Communications Research Award of Excellence, University of North Carolina Junior Faculty Research Award, US Army Research Laboratory Scientific Contribution Award, ALISE Research Methodology Best Paper Award, and the ASIS&T Lecture Series Award.


RONALD A. BRADLEY, JR. - Class of 1978

A proud member and co-captain of the Cougars Varsity Basketball team, Ron led the league in scoring and rebounding during his senior year. He went on to complete his bachelor of Engineering from Widener University in 1984 and his Master of Management from Penn State University in 1994. He has completed several advance management programs at the University of Penn, Wharton School and University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Professionally, Ron serves as Vice President of the Gas Department for PECO, an Exelon Company, a position held since November 2009. Prior to that, Ron was appointed, vice president, Support Services, responsible for safety, environmental, methods and training, performance assessment, fleet services, real estate and facilities, mapping and document services. Originally joining PECO in 1984 as an engineer, Mr. Bradley was quickly promoted to roles of Division Engineer, Maintenance Manager and Manager of Corrosion Control and Leak Survey. Additional high profile leadership roles include Plant Manager in the power generation group and Director of Transmission Operations for Exelon in Chicago and Philadelphia. Active in the American Gas Association, Ron serves as the second vice chairman for the Operations Section Managing Committee and is the Chairman of the Operating Safety Regulatory Action Committee (OSRAC). Ron is on the Board of Directors of The Urban Affairs Coalition and the African American Museum of Philadelphia and served on industry Political Action Committees; was past member of the PAC Board of Directors, completed Philadelphia's Leadership Inc.; the YMCA Black Achiever's Award; and served as a mentor in the Philadelphia Regional Introduction of Minorities to Engineering program for ten years and was recently presented with the Lifetime Achievement award from BEYA in Washington, DC. Active in his church, Ron was ordained as a Deacon in 2008 and serves as Bible Study teacher. Ron is married to Michelle and has a son, Marcus, their family lives in North Wales, PA.


G. BRIAN HOLLOWAY - Class of 1984

Dr. G. Brian Holloway is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in shoulder surgery and care at the Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee. Brian graduated as one of the valedictorians from Springfield High School in 1984. Brian double majored in chemistry and biology while at Ursinus College. He played college football for two years and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1988 with departmental honors in chemistry and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. After college, Brian attended Temple University School of Medicine. He graduated in 1992 in the top five percent of his class and was awarded early membership into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society in his junior year. Brian completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at Akron City Hospital in Akron, Ohio. He did his shoulder fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Brian has published numerous scientific papers that appeared in orthopaedic journals. Two of his collaborative research papers received the Neer Award, which is the highest honor awarded for shoulder research. Brian has also written several chapters in orthopaedic textbooks about shoulder pathology and its diagnosis and treatment. He has also acted as a clinical instructor in cadaver laboratories helping to train orthopaedic surgeons how to perform arthroscopic shoulder surgery. He is a consultant for a large orthopaedic prosthetic company and helped develop two shoulder prostheses used in shoulder replacement surgery. One is a novel bone preserving prosthesis currently undergoing FDA clinical trials. He served as Chief of Surgery for St. Mary's Hospital in Knoxville for two years, and is a member of the Executive Committee for his orthopaedic group. Brian is the son of George and Barbara Holloway. His father, now deceased, was a member of the Springfield School Board for eight years. Brian married his Springfield High School sweetheart, Dr. Kathleen Stolnis Holloway, who is a practicing pediatrician in Knoxville. They have two children, Emily and Matthew.


Janet Kirkpatrick Holdsworth - Class of 1987

Dr. Holdsworth is the Founder and Executive Director of Winning for Life, 501c3, a non-profit committed to youth sports and the positive development of student-athletes through sports training, leadership and life skills training, and community service experiences. She is founder and co-owner of Lacrosse Connections, LLC, founder and Head Coach of the MN Lakers Select Girl's Club Lacrosse program, is currently an instructor at Seton Hall University, and also serves as the Assistant Women's Lacrosse Coach at Centenary College. Janet spent the past decade as an instructor of both undergraduate and graduate courses in education and leadership in the College of Education & Human Development at the University of Minnesota, where she earned her doctorate in Education Policy and Administration, with a focus on higher education policy and a minor in conflict management. At the University of Minnesota, she served for eight years as the Head Coach of the Women's Lacrosse WCLA team. During this time, she was nationally-recognized by US Lacrosse/WCLA for her coaching. While in Minnesota, Holdsworth conducted education policy-related research for Governors and Legislators in the Midwest while employed as the Director of Policy Research at the Midwestern Higher Education Compact. Prior to settling in Minnesota, she worked in college admissions for many higher education institutions across the country while her husband, David, served as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy. Her master's degree is from the University of South Carolina, College of Charleston in Public Administration and she has an undergraduate degree in History, with a Political Science minor, from Wittenberg University where she also competed as a NCAA Dill field hockey and lacrosse player, serving as captain of both teams, and achieving academic honors. Janet has coached lacrosse at the collegiate, high school and youth levels for the past sixteen years in Minnesota where she helped pioneer the sport's development and led the state sanctioning process for the sport to be recognized at the varsity level. She has also coached in the international arena, traveling to Germany and Canada. In 2002, she was proud to receive the Positive Coaching Alliance's (PCA) Golden Whistle/Double-Goal Coaching Award as the first female and first lacrosse coach to ever earn this recognition for coaching youth to compete to win and to inspire them to grow as leaders. Her most recent service to the sport, overall, is as a former member of the Strategic Planning Committee for US Lacrosse, the national governing body for lacrosse, and of US Lacrosse's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, which is dedicated to expanding access to and opportunity within the sport. She currently serves on the publishing "Brain Trust" for PCA; and through her non-profit, WFL, recently led a team of coaches to Guatemala to teach lacrosse to youth and build a home for a Common Hope sponsored family. Her academic research interests and experience include issues related to affordability and access to education, Title IX and equity in athletics, organizational behavior, conflict management, and leadership. Janet recently moved to New Jersey with her husband, David, and their two young children, Charlie and Victoria.


SUSAN DESCANO - Springfield school district teacher 1984-2014

Sue Descano has been the Choral Director at Springfield High since 1985. She has also taught elementary and middle school in the Springfield School District. She is also currently teaching at the Springfield Literacy Center. Sue helped lay the groundwork for the High School Vocal Music program that is in place today. She was instrumental in developing a concert choir, Springfield Singers, that was part of the school day as well as making sure all choir students received credit. A small select group of singers, Treble Makers, was formed, rehearsing before school. Very often this ensemble became the ambassadors for Springfield High School as they performed out in the community. She also developed a general music course offered to students entitled American Music Scene which is the history of popular music. Her choirs have performed in adjudications throughout the area, earning Excellent ratings. They have participated in the Upper Darby Choral Festival for twenty years. The past five years more than fifty students have performed at Carnegie Hall in the American Christmas Carol Honors Choir with composer and pianist Tim Janis and artists Sir James Galway, Jackie Evanko, Darlene Love and Steven VanZandt. Sue also played piano in the American Christmas Carol Orchestra under the direction of colleague Kevin Cooper. For twenty years Sue ran the ETR Tennis Intramural program. She was yearbook sponsor for one year. She was a co-chair on the Strategic Planning Committee in the mid-nineties. She introduced and directed a school wide talent show for several years, not unlike Cougar Idol. She served on the STAT Team for over ten years. Sue was co-sponsor for the Community Service Club for over ten years. And she has been the musical director for the Musicals since 1991 and also plays piano in the pit orchestra.