FORT LEE, Va. -- Seventeen Army Logistics University educators received the coveted Distinguished Instructor Award during a ceremony in Bunker Hall’s Green Auditorium Sept. 26.
The honorees are: Maj. James C. Birk, College of Professional and Continuing Education; Capt. James M. Bonin, Logistics Leader College; Capt. Nicholas R. Greco, LLC; Capt. Paul M. Guzman, LLC; Capt. Travis Rogillio, LLC; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Karen A. Algernon-Wallace, Technical Logistics College; CW3 Eric M. Christianson, TLC; CW3 Armour W. Taylor III , TLC; CW4 Wattana Viboolsittiseri, TLC; Sgt. 1st Class Fredrick A. Carpenter, Staff and Faculty Dept.; SFC Rosa L. Hinojosaposada, Staff and Faculty Dept.; Staff Sgt. Jason Q. Pham, Logistics Noncommissioned Officer Academy; SSG Yessica M. VanValkenburgh, Staff and Faculty Dept.; SSG Luis M. Villarman, LNCOA; Dr. Marie P. Baugh, Staff and Faculty Dept.; George J. Mekis III, LLC; and Eric L. Wagner, CPCE.
Five individuals also were singled out as instructors or educators of the year. Birk is the Educator of the Year. Greco is the Officer Instructor of the Year. Taylor is the Warrant Officer Instructor of the Year. Staff Sgt. Raymond Beria is the NCO Instructor of the Year who also earned a distinguished instructor award in 2017. Baugh is the Civilian Instructor of the Year.
The latter individuals will represent ALU and Fort Lee at the Training and Doctrine Command level later this year. Since 2010 when the instructor recognition program began here, there have been nine ALU winners at the TRADOC level, with at least one nominee in each category.
Before the final five were announced at the recent ceremony, Michael K. Williams, ALU president, said he was excited to find out who earned those top spots.
“Our team keeps a tight lid on who wins,” he said, “so I’m ready to find out those winners.”
Williams said he is pleased to be part of the team that recognizes ALU’s distinguished instructors, “all of whom have given their best” to the organization.
“ALU’s premiere instructors and educators demonstrate a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the Army Learning Concept principles,” he emphasized. “This is no small feat with roughly 310 instructors on our staff. The individuals (recognized today) represent our top five percent; clearly the best of the best.”
Williams – along with Col. Jamal E. Wigglesworth, ALU commandant; Chief Warrant Officer 4 Cindy E. Frazier, TLC dean; and Command Sgt. Maj. Jerome M. Smalls, LNCOA commandant – presented the awards to the distinguished instructors. After the initial recognition, those selected as the top instructors and educators of the year were announced.
Each year, the names of those selected are a closely guarded secret within the university, and this year was no different. Baugh – who earned the top civilian instructor nod – said it was a complete surprise to her.
“I was very shocked,” she said. “One of the other civilians I was up against, he’s a phenomenal instructor. I’ve peeked into his classes before, and I was certain he was the one who was going to win.
Birk – who earned the educator of the year title – said it was a hard process that included an essay, classroom evaluations and a board, among other qualifiers.
“It was a really grueling process,” he said, “but I think this process makes all of us better instructors.”