Pacesetter Award Winners

2009 Pacesetter Award Winner - Jacob Zindel

Jacob Zindel of Decatur, Illinois, was selected as Richland’s Pacesetter Award Winner for 2009. Jacob obtained his Associate in Applied Science Degree in elementary education from Richland in 2006. Jacob received the Walter and Alice Scherer Scholarship from 2004-2008. He went on to obtain his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at Illinois State University in December of 2008.

Jacob recently completed student teaching at Oak Grove Elementary School in Decatur and is currently substitute teaching for Decatur Public School District #61. Jacob hopes to be offered a full-time teaching position in fall 2009.

2008 Pacesetter Award Winner - Matthew Dougherty

Matthew Dougherty of Lexington, Virginia, was selected as Richland Community College's Pacesetter Award Winner for 2008. Matt graduated from Richland in December 2003 with his Associate in Science Degree. During his two years at Richland, Matt served as the student member of the Board of Trustees from 2002-2003 and was a member of the Honors Program. Matt went on to obtain his Bachelor of Science in International Finance from Illinois State University, graduating summa cum laude. Matt also is the recipient of many honors and awards that include Congressional Scholarship from 2000-2004 and Student Liaison to Cuba in the spring of 2003.

Currently, Matt is a third year law student at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. He is a candidate for his Juris Doctor and is expected to graduate in May of 2008. While at Washington and Lee University, Matt received an Academic Scholarship. Matt plans to return to Illinois and practice law.

2007 Pacesetter Award Winner - Russ Gowin

Russ Gowin, of Decatur, Illinois, was selected as Richland Community College's Pacesetter Award Winner for 2007. Russ obtained his Associate in Applied Science Degree in Network Administration and Network Technician from Richland in 2004. He went on to receive the State of Illinois NCLB (No Child Left Behind) Paraprofessional Certificate and the CompTIA A+ Certified Professional Certificate.

Russ was hired as the Senior Network Administrator at DeLand-Weldon Community School District #57 for 2007-2008. In 2006-2007, he was the Technology Assistant and Webmaster for South Central CUSD #401 in Kinmundy, Illinois. While at Richland, Russ was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and worked as a Computer Lab Assistant and helped students with logon procedures, file retrieval, software usage, and provided phone support. He also volunteers his services to Theatre 7, Decatur's Community Theatre.

2006 Pacesetter Award Winner - Leanne M. Canaday

Leanne obtained her Associate in Applied Science degree in Nursing from Richland Community College in 2005. She now works as a Registered Nurse in the Psychiatric Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur and is very active in her church and serves as the parish nurse. While at Richland, Leanne received academic honors and was selected for the Doris T. Mills Leadership Award for Outstanding Leadership by a senior nursing student.

2005 Pacesetter Award Winner - Tricia (Clark) Cordulack

Tricia graduated in 2002 with an Associate of Arts degree from Richland. She went on to obtain her Bachelor of Science degree from Millikin University in 2004, graduating Summa Cum Laude. Tricia is District Office Manager for Illinois State Representative Bob Flider in Decatur. While at Richland, Tricia was a member of Phi Theta Kappa since 2003, and she was also selected for the All USA Academic Team.

2004 Pacesetter Award Winner – Joyce Kirkland

Joyce graduated in 2002 from Richland Community College. She currently serves as a Youth Services Specialist at DOVE. While at Richland, Joyce was active in the Honors Program and Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. She was also selected for the All USA Academic Team. Kirkland is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work degree from University of Illinois-Springfield.

Kirkland sits on the 6th Judicial Circuit Family Violence Coordinating Council-Schools Committee and is a member of the Moultrie County Prevention Council. She recently earned her Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Counselor credentials. She also is the Coordinator for the AIM (Alternative Interventions for Men) Program and the PACT Team Program.

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Richland Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs. The following person(s) has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies:
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For further information on notice of nondiscrimination, visit for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.